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Old 09-17-10, 07:54 AM   #1
SonataInFSharp
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Dealing with Smoking Neighbors

I don’t expect this thread to go anywhere or for there to be a solution, but it doesn’t hurt to try:

We have lived in our new house for about 4 months now. Our neighbors smoke, constantly. They are semi-retired with less-than part-time jobs, and they literally just hang-out on their front steps and smoke all day long. The only time they aren’t smoking is when they go inside to eat or presumably go to the bathroom (which is more than an assumption because the husband yells, “I am on the can! Hold on a minute!” to his wife quite often, who is outside smoking trying to talk to him through open windows).

The lots are only 50 feet wide in our ‘hood, so you get an idea for how close together the houses are. Well, for some reason, their smoke smell always goes into our dining room windows, so we have to keep opening and closing the windows. If they smoke in the back occasionally, we have to close the living room windows. In other words, we usually end up keeping 8 of our 12 windows closed at all times because of their smoking. If we aren’t home and we left the windows open, the inside of our house smells like an ashtray for two days. During the extremely rare occasions that they aren’t home to smoke, we can have the windows open, but it is very rare and we have to close the windows shortly after we open them anyway.

Also, because of the way the air moves through the area, our front yard always smells like an ashtray, even when they aren’t smoking.

We looked at the house three times when we were house shopping, and we didn’t see the neighbors or smell the smoke in the yard—go figure!!

My wife and I normally love to have windows open all summer long no matter how hot it is, but we found ourselves closing up and using the A/C this summer because of their smoking. During these past few weeks when the weather has been amazing in terms of weather, we have had to keep 8 of our 12 windows closed because of the neighbors.

Anyway, as much as I think smoking is totally ridiculous and I can’t understand why anyone would do it (different topic), it is a “free country” and they are on their own property doing their thing, so I can’t ask them to stop smoking. I wouldn’t even dare ask them to smoke somewhere else because 1) they can do what they want, and 2) even if they smoke on other parts of their small property, we just have to close other windows to compensate.

So far, I have been doing the passive-aggressive Minnesotan thing like saying to my son, loudly, “Oh, we have to go inside now because someone is smoking again!” if I am playing outside with my son, or I shout, “Man, who is smoking?!” while I slam the windows closed if I am in the house. I hate being a stereotypical Minnesotan, but I don’t know what else to do. Also, I don’t think they can hear me anyway, since they are pretty hard of hearing.

It also doesn’t help that these people are really creepy, just in general. Their adult daughter comes over and she begs us to let her babysit our son, but she is just so creepy that we wouldn’t let her anywhere near our son. Also, my wife is always bra-free at home and the neighbor has actually commented loudly on her bralessness while he stares at her in the front yard! The neighbor also ran into my wife at a local mall and he followed her without letting her know he was there—he told us all about it at home later that evening.

The only light of hope is that when we moved in, they said they were going to be moving to another suburb within a year to be closer to their granddaughter, but their house is in such shambles, we don’t know how they expect to sell it—it’s a 1945 house in original condition stuck in an upgraded/updated neighborhood.

Any thoughts or attitude adjustments from FOO?

P.S. I know the timing of this is sort of off as we have had our heat on now for a few days and we will probably have the heat on the rest of the season now, but we are already dreading next spring and summer, and we still smell their smoke when we are outside, regardless…
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Old 09-17-10, 08:02 AM   #2
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On a good note the cigarettes will kill them eventually. However, second hand smoke might get you and yours as well. My only possible solution would be to move/sell.
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Old 09-17-10, 08:04 AM   #3
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box fan...blowing out the window the smell usually wafts into. May help.
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Old 09-17-10, 08:06 AM   #4
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Fight fire with fire, or smoke with more smoke. Go to the nearest pharmacy and ask for their worst cigars. The factory rolled ones that come in a plastic bag are good...or bad. Sit right next to the fence by the neighbors and smoke your cigars. Moisten the outer wrapper before lighting up so it smokes real good.
A daily ritual for a whole week should put them in their place.
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Old 09-17-10, 08:25 AM   #5
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Talk to the police. I'm sure there's a law about second hand smoke in your state someplace.
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Old 09-17-10, 08:46 AM   #6
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I like the box fans in the windows that get the most exposure to smoke idea. Having the box fans blow out will push the smoke away from your house a small amount, but it will also draw airflow from the non-exposed windows, which should be nice.

Only thing else I can think of involves passive-agressive actions like installing sensitive smoke detectors outside the house or putting several large "no smoking" signs up in eyeshot of your neighbors. Of course you could talk to them and try to get them to smoke at a section of their house that might impact you less - but what's the fun in that???
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Old 09-17-10, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
So far, I have been doing the passive-aggressive Minnesotan thing like saying to my son, loudly, “Oh, we have to go inside now because someone is smoking again!” if I am playing outside with my son, or I shout, “Man, who is smoking?!” while I slam the windows closed if I am in the house. I hate being a stereotypical Minnesotan, but I don’t know what else to do. Also, I don’t think they can hear me anyway, since they are pretty hard of hearing.
Say what? That is a poor excuse for not having a backbone. If you don't like what is going on, say something rather than complain and being afraid to stand your ground. Go to the neighbors and tell them that you are not into their smoking and are concerned about the affects on your life and your child. They may get angry and tell you to shove it but more than likely they will keep the chimney in the house longer than outside. As far as the bra talk goes, your wife should have told the neighbor that wasn't cool to say and that he should mind his own business. After that, the problem is on them, not you.
I have dealt with such problems with previous and current neighbors. Once with the smoke near my bedroom window. I simply went next door and told them to smoke inside or away from my window and they stopped. A few weeks ago the neighbor kid was sitting outside screaming his lungs out. I thought he had burned his hand, it was that loud. I yelled for the parents to get him. No one did. I knocked on the door and told them to get the baby. They acted as if nothing was wrong but they brought him in and the crying stopped. Three days later they brought over tamales to apologize since they knew they were in the wrong. For the most part, I get on well with my neighbors and many of them count on me to get things taken care of in the area so that we can all live in a sane environment.

Last edited by travelmama; 09-17-10 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 09-17-10, 08:54 AM   #8
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Install the smoke alarms on the outside of your house, close to where the smoke comes in, but wire them to turn on a stereo instead of sounding an alarm. Have the stereo speakers pointed at their house and play this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qgmx...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIN8MmMloZE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOBdQykKQY
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-17-10, 08:59 AM   #9
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Install the smoke alarms on the outside of your house, close to where the smoke comes in, but wire them to turn on a stereo instead of sounding an alarm. Have the stereo speakers pointed at their house and play this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qgmx...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIN8MmMloZE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOBdQykKQY
This reminds me of David Koresh vs. Janet Reno in Waco, Texas.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:04 AM   #10
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Keep in mind that there is no cure for stupidity.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:09 AM   #11
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This reminds me of David Koresh vs. Janet Reno in Waco, Texas.
Us Texican cretins, we tend to think alike, so this should not surprise you. Hope the neighbors are not heavily armed.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:23 AM   #12
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Your artic season is soon approaching and you'll have 9 months of smoke free air.

Tape up old Doonesbury cartoons of "Mr.Butts"on the side of your house.
Call the fire dept.every time they light up(be prepare to pay a false alarm charge).
When they're not looking put those exploding loads in their cigarettes.
Smuggle in a trunk load of tax free,non filter butts from the south and let them O.D. from cigarette-poisoning.
Place signs(like the hospitals do)establishing your self ordained outside space as a smoke free zone.
Wheel yourself out in a 1950's vintage iron lung machine in front of their house and gasp,cough.

*Most people abstain from sticking their nose in neighbors legal bad habits
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Old 09-17-10, 09:27 AM   #13
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Us Texican cretins, we tend to think alike, so this should not surprise you. Hope the neighbors are not heavily armed.
Can cowboys really roll a cigarette with just their mouth as seen on "Looneytunes" in the 60's?
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Old 09-17-10, 09:38 AM   #14
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Pick your battles.
We are in the same predicament right now.
New house, neighbors who have been there a while and do stuff we might not approve of.
In our case, saying something will exacerbate the issues we have, for sure.
As chronic movers/flippers we have lived in a lot of 'new' neighborhoods and I
have come to the conclusion to just let stuff go or move. It ALWAYS elevates to
a level that will lead to that anyway if you say something.
Any time you have dog owners, smokers or flag people in a neighborhood, you ARE
going to have issues. Unfortunately, theres a lot of all of them so it might be best to
just endure it until you can move. We already have our next 'new' neighborhood picked
out after our loan here is satisfied in 2013
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Old 09-17-10, 09:40 AM   #15
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*Most people abstain from sticking their nose in neighbors legal bad habits
This is why I am not sure why talking to them would be any good. It's their property and it's their only place of two to smoke if they want to smoke outside, which they can do. (The second location is in the backyard, which I already mentioned.)

I never though of the illegalities of second hand smoke, though. I am not sure if Minnesota has those laws. I did a quick search and didn't find anything, but I can search deeper.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:45 AM   #16
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This is why I am not sure why talking to them would be any good. It's their property and it's their only place of two to smoke if they want to smoke outside, which they can do. (The second location is in the backyard, which I already mentioned.)

I never though of the illegalities of second hand smoke, though. I am not sure if Minnesota has those laws. I did a quick search and didn't find anything, but I can search deeper.
Put up a 12ft. stockade wall of old telephone poles similar to those used in the French-Indian wars of 1770,or buy a home with a normal lot size.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:48 AM   #17
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My neighbor complains when I bbq. I had neighbors that complained about minorities moving in, some complained about the kind of cars people drive (SUV haters). One of my neighbors thinks that anyone with a gun in the home should have a sign in the yard to alert everyone of how dangerous that house is. The ability of people to hate their neighbors is endless. Some folks just can't live next to others, a large compound is the only solution for them.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:49 AM   #18
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Pick your battles.
We are in the same predicament right now.
New house, neighbors who have been there a while and do stuff we might not approve of.
In our case, saying something will exacerbate the issues we have, for sure.
As chronic movers/flippers we have lived in a lot of 'new' neighborhoods and I
have come to the conclusion to just let stuff go or move. It ALWAYS elevates to
a level that will lead to that anyway if you say something.
Any time you have dog owners, smokers or flag people in a neighborhood, you ARE
going to have issues. Unfortunately, theres a lot of all of them so it might be best to
just endure it until you can move. We already have our next 'new' neighborhood picked
out after our loan here is satisfied in 2013
This is how I have been explaining it to my wife all summer. You can't pick a battle with a neighbor and expect them to say, "Oh, okay, I will stop even though I don't feel that I am doing anything wrong" and they will change. Travelmama has an interesting reply in that it seems quite out of the ordinary--my experiences, even in my in-laws' up-scale, white-collar neighborhood, is that if you confront a neighbor they will make it worse if it's not doing anything illegal (in my in-laws' case, it has to do with landscaping, a fence, and retaliation against their dog, even though they aren't doing anything illegal in any case).

Anyway, we plan to be here for 20-some years, so relocating because of smoking neighbors isn't an option. I figure that maybe if they plan to actually move within the year, I can help them out to get the process going and make their house more sellable to make it a sure thing, sooner...heh.

Now, if it were dog owners, that would be easy because the law would be on our side (very strict dog laws that are actually enforced in most Minneapolis suburbs, yay--my in-laws have even gotten their share of dog-related tickets and I laugh uncontrollably every time).

What are "flag people"?

So, my intention of the thread isn't necessarily how to talk to the neighbors, but rather how can my wife and I adjust our attitudes about it?
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Old 09-17-10, 09:50 AM   #19
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Can cowboys really roll a cigarette with just their mouth as seen on "Looneytunes" in the 60's?
Only if they want the real "Texican Cretin" certificate, certified for framing and hanging next to your signed pics of LBJ, Reagan and Bush the elder. And we can also cock our Winchester rifles one handed and shoot coins out of the air on horseback, all while singing "Deep in the heart of Texas"
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:53 AM   #20
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:53 AM   #21
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My neighbor complains when I bbq. I had neighbors that complained about minorities moving in, some complained about the kind of cars people drive (SUV haters). One of my neighbors thinks that anyone with a gun in the home should have a sign in the yard to alert everyone of how dangerous that house is. The ability of people to hate their neighbors is endless. Some folks just can't live next to others, a large compound is the only solution for them.
These types of complaints I find unfounded and don't understand. Heck, my other neighbor was used to our house being vacant and I had the unfortunate experience of walking by her window while she was changing after her shower our second night living there when I was taking the garbage out--I didn't complain. I just threw up a little and made a ton of noise to remind her that she had neighbors now. She hasn't opened her blinds since. Funny thing, she is actually moving--just put her house up for sale. They have two dogs that are winners of the yip-yip contest. I don't complain about them either. I don't complain about the 11 year old daughter bugging me constantly when I do yard work, either. She is deaf and doesn't have any friends, so I try to be nice to her.

Anyway, I hope my smoking concern isn't too unfounded.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:55 AM   #22
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Is their daughter hot? Got any pics of your wife (preferably bra-less)?

Yes, that's all I got from your post.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:58 AM   #23
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Is their daughter hot? Got any pics of your wife (preferably bra-less)?

Yes, that's all I got from your post.
Daughter is 11, so, uh, yikes.....

Tons of photos of my wife braless as that is her natural state of being if she isn't at work. I will never post any photos of her because of her job, and never post photos of myself because I am married to her. Sorry. But at least your question was answered in a timely manner, eh?
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Old 09-17-10, 10:13 AM   #24
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+1 on pragmatism.
One of the houses next to me is a rental and has a fireplace. The prevailing wind blows my way so my yard often smells like smoke all winter. I live with it.
However, when it smelled like anything other than wood or paper, I'd be over there knocking on the door. I have had to only do this once; with each tenant.
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Old 09-17-10, 10:13 AM   #25
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My neighbor complains when I bbq. I had neighbors that complained about minorities moving in, some complained about the kind of cars people drive (SUV haters). One of my neighbors thinks that anyone with a gun in the home should have a sign in the yard to alert everyone of how dangerous that house is. The ability of people to hate their neighbors is endless. Some folks just can't live next to others, a large compound is the only solution for them.
We must live on the same street. The woman directly across the street does the same and it gets on my nerves but I dance around it. When things need to be done or taken care of, I make it happen and keep my mouth shut because I don't want to hear her complain to me about some other stupid crap that she will do nothing about.
As for the bbchew, you should invite the neighbor over for dinner or tell her the grill is still hot and that you would be more than happy to grill up some food if she wants you to. On the weekends my neighbors around the corner break out with the pig roasting. It looks and smells awful but it doesn't bother me because it only goes on for about two or so hours. Heck, I am sure they would give me a snout or foot if I asked for one.
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