How Brooklyn is that?

Since the beginning of our renovation our two neighbors have been polar opposites regarding the inconveniences. On one side we have a cautious woman who we’ve heard from only once or twice. On the other is a very opinionated gentlemen who calls me an average of once a week.

Back in November when we demolished our extension it exposed a 1 foot wide strip of brick on the rear wall of his building. The rest of this wall was painted white and we thought it completely reasonable when he asked if we would paint the exposed brick to match the rest of his house when our extension is finished.

The area to the left of the drain pipe.

The area in question is left of the drain pipe.

Fast forward six month later and our house is still under construction with no work done on his building or his side of our extension. Over those months he would ask about it whenever I bumped into him and each time I’d explain that the weather needs to be dry and warm in order to complete the stucco and his wall. As the months went on so did his frustration.

At the beginning of May he left a voicemail demanding that the wall be repaired and painted by the end of the month or he’ll bring in his own guys and send me the bill. To be honest, I agreed that the delay had been unreasonable and said I’d pressure my contractor because I want the side of my house done just as much as he does. After all it had been warm and often dry for several days.

As the month went on it rained here and there followed by more and more delays until it was the final week of May. It was a warm week but it looked like rain in a few days. I confirmed with my GC that we were going to side the following week. He said yes definitely. So it rained Tuesday and a little Wednesday. I speak to him again. We’re starting Thursday right? right!..

Thursday my neighbor calls to complain nobody is working. I call my GC who explains they can’t do the siding if the plywood exterior is wet. Didn’t we know it was wet on Wednesday when we talked? Ok… I relay this message to my neighbor and he warns that he’ll block access to his yard if we’re not done by Friday. Or in his words: “I’ll throw you the f*!# out of my yard and you’ll need a police escort to get back in!”

Finally on Friday May 31st, the last possible day, a crew shows up around 11am with materials ready to do his house and mine. They setup scaffolding and promptly head out for lunch.

11:30 call #1: “Your guys are here and they haven’t done sh*!. They showed up at 11 and then took off. I hope you don’t think I’m a fool and allow you to setup this scaffolding to fool me into thinking you’re going to do my house. If this isn’t done today then I’ll throw it all back in your yard and you will not be allowed back without the cops.”

I call my contractor who says they went to lunch and relax everything will be Ok.


1:30 Call #2 “They aren’t working on my house they are working on yours. They are supposed to do my house today and they are doing yours and not mine. They must do mine today”

I try to remind him that the day isn’t over and we will do his house they probably just need to setup some materials that need to dry on my house first. I also call my contractor again to ask why they are not doing his wall first and he says essentially, “I don’t know let me call them.”

2:30 call #3: “We’re done! they are not going to do my house today so I want them the f*%# out of here. Take down the scaffolding or I’ll do it for them and you may not come back into my yard. We’re done!!”

At this point I’ve lost my cool and start yelling back at him that he agreed to give us till then end of the day and that’s several hours away. He doesn’t care and continues to repeat the get out mantra. So, I ask to speak with the foreman. My neighbor hands him the phone and I explain that he must begin working on the exposed areas on my neighbors brick wall right away or our entire project will be screwed. He immediately says…. “ok” and then they start on it (really?).

My wife goes over to the house around 3:00pm to check on things and make sure our neighbor knows how concerned we are. She can’t find my neighbor. There’s no answer at the door but she talks to our foreman who reports that they are working on his house now and will finish today.

work done on neighbor's house

work done on neighbor’s house

3:30pm I call my neighbor and get no answer.

5:00pm I call again and get no answer. I can’t figure out if he’s Ok now but figure there’s nothing I can do.

Later, I get a text from my contractor and I call him back to learn that the neighbor is being completely nice now and even allowed the crew to leave the scaffolding up in his yard for the weekend. So I call my neighbor to hear his side and get a similar response.

Over the weekend I saw him and he even joked around about it. Basically he says, “I thought you were making a fool of me and I’ve found that the best way to get things done is to just be a mother f*%$#!r. As long as I get what’s due me, we’ve got no problems.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell him next week calls for rain.

How Brooklyn is that?


2 thoughts on “How Brooklyn is that?

  1. I just realized I have a bunch of your blog posts to catch up on, and holy crap, this one’s a doozy! You guys did a great job keeping your cool – I would have lost my mind on this neighbor + the contractor not knowing how to tell his people what to do!

  2. Pingback: An Epic Week at Brownstone Cyclone – some up some down | Brownstone Cyclone

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