Monday, 8 July 2013

Lost art of common courtesy renovating...

I've got my ranty pants on this evening. The demise of basic common courtesy is my general bug bear at the moment. Why are people so inconsiderate, everywhere you go? From shops to queues to restaurants to school pick-up zones. Everywhere! And it got me thinking about the art of common courtesy when renovating.

One of the things about renovating is that if you are doing anything that may directly affect your neighbours in some way, you should try to keep them informed. It is kind of the unwritten rule.

For us, we think very highly of our neighbours who call in or leave a courtesy note in the letterbox to let you know what is happening, whether they are lopping an overhanging tree or even demolishing a house. When they don't keep you in the loop, you feel let down.

image from here

When our neighbour at the back of the Sow's Ear had to demolish a house, which had been damaged by fire, he left a note in our letterbox explaining what was going to happen and when. He also left his phone number so we could contact him if we had any questions. And you know what, that was enough to keep us happy. The art of courtesy is so simple really.

We've been renovating for four years and we hope we've never done anything that has affected our neighbours adversely. Maybe we have?

Sometimes you are so caught up in your own renovation that you forget how your renovations may be affecting those around you.  I'm always on to Jason about not using power tools too early in the morning...but alas, he has been known to power-up first thing on a Sunday morning in all eagerness to get a project finished!

Is it just me feeling this way about the demise of general common courtesy? Are you guilty of doing some discourteous renovating?


  1. We have a vacant house next door to us in Florida, owned by an investor who plans to sell when the market picks up. HE did give us his card in January and told us a big reno was about to happen. Nothing has been done. Limbs have fallen onto the other neighbors yard, a vagrant was sleeping there, it was broken into.......and each time we emailed him to tell him with no response. We have a spotlight now right on his house to make it appear lived in. His rudeness in not keeping his house monitored and not responding to our concerns makes me crazy. His house devalues ours and also our sense of security because of the vagrants. I was actually stopped by the police for being over there as I was looking to see if the vagrant had come back.

    THe good thing is he has an amazing but overgrown garden. I am helping myself to cuttings as compensation for his disrespect for us.

    1. That's just dreadful Chania - what's the point of him giving his number if he wasn't going to respond? Grrr! No class. At least you are making the most of his cuttings, someone may as well! xx

  2. Luckily for us, the house on the right side had sold, but no one had moved in yet during our big project. The people who had been leasing the house on the left side moved out just before our construction started, and the owner of the house started his own renovation before leasing it again. The neighbors behind us and across the street left for work before the construction crew got here every day, and the crew left before the got home. I did think about those things, but I never thought about a note in the mailbox. That's a very good idea.

    I agree about discourtesy though. I was waited on by a rude young girl the other day. She was more interested in flirting with a co-worker than helping me. It was so obvious, that he actually told her to tend to business, and then she acted huffy with I was inconveniencing her. She never made eye contact with me, and when she handed me my receipt, she just shoved it at me and said, "There you go." No thanks or have a nice day (which I usually think is overused, but would have at least shown some effort). I still have the receipt with her cashier number on it, and I'm tempted to call the manager.

    1. Sounds like your renovations were perfectly timed then, Dana! I guess you would only leave a note if it was going to be a major intrusion on the neighbours. The demolition of the house behind us was going to generate a lot of dust, so it was good of them to warn us so we could keep the doors shut and bring the laundry in from off the line.

      And yes your experience with that young girl would have annoyed me no end. I would just use my feet to do the talking, and never go back to that place again. And then tell all my friends not to go there because the service was so rude. xx

  3. We are lucky all our neighbours are keen renovators and projects are often discussed over the fence as a just-letting-you-know kind of thing. When they built the units over the back, the foreman showed us the plans, informed us of every major inconvenience (like concrete trucks blocking the road) and bent over backwards in return for the safety fences in our yard for 18 months. Goodwill does nobody any harm, 'tis a selfish time we are living in though.

  4. Polite courtesy is such an easy thing to do and makes such an improvement to relationships. I agree, it is sadly lacking where we are.

  5. Oh boy do I hear you! I've been writing a post about the lack of courtesy and increasing impatience on our roads...drives me crazy.
    I was shoe shopping just a couple of weeks ago and a woman was rude to me because I almost sat on her bag that she'd left lying on a large communal seat in the centre of the store. So. Rude.
    We're pretty careful with renovating too. No start up of tools before 9 on a Sunday morning and always let the neighbours know what we're doing...

  6. I was speaking to a friend the other day, and we decided that part of it is because everyone is soooo 'busy' at the moment, and are so self involved in everything thay have to do that they don't think of others. It doesn't make it right, but I think it is often that lack of mindfulness. x


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