The Father of the family doesn't do work. He just doesn't. But he does enjoy watching work being done on his property and likes, in fact, to get out a lawn chair to that end. I'm hoping against hope that he didn't become a foster parent in order to get built-in 'help,' but sadly I suspect this may be the case. He loves to shout out orders speckled liberally with swears of all sorts. My children have learned many a new word from this man. He has one biological son who has very exactly followed in his father's footsteps and refrains from all work that I can see. Now, to be fair, my vantage point doesn't capture everything, so these two men may well be working like bees inside the home. Maybe. Now, there are three foster sons who are 20-ish. Two of them have moved out and I suspect I know why. But the third remains at home and has clearly been assigned the role of family Worker. When he's home from what I can only assume is his paid work, he's busy at a multitude of tasks. He welds things. He's busy with all manner of mysterious looking wiring-type activities. I know all this because he's built a work center of sorts under the family deck. In amidst the myriad rabbits in cages under there, there are huge barrels filled with - again - mysterious things. It's a lovely sight to behold. I'm only sad that they've removed the prominent "bitch parking only - all others will be slapped" sign from their garage door at the sight of my daughter taking a photograph of it to show her soon-to-be-shocked friends. So sad my tears are non-existent. That sort of sadness. But I digress.
Our house backs on to a greenbelt of lush, wild mountainous forest. Many of us moved here so that we could wake up to that forest every morning, coffee in hand. Our neighbors decided that that forest was excessive. They've taken it upon themselves to cut down some trees. It also looks as though they've used some sort of toxic kill-all in the immediate area behind their house, begging the question why? The Worker has recently been doing some pretty strenuous looking digging in his family's back yard. As I went out to our deck the other evening to survey the ever-changing land, I was dumbfounded to note that there, sitting brazenly in the middle of his abandoned work site, was our distinctively bright yellow wheelbarrow, characteristic rust patterns clearly visible. What does one do with that? We have to continue to live side by side and so an all out war I'd rather avoid. In many ways I feel badly for this family, living with their seven feral cats and their two enormous indoor dogs. I see that they rarely leave the house and that their television is perpetually on. I hear the caustic smoker's hacking from their deck and I see the abandonned flats of Coke piling up in disarray. I think that it can't be fun to live that way, and yet I lament the fact that these are my next door neighbors. I hate that they don't mow their lawn until it's astonishingly unkempt and that even then, they feel the need to use a lawn tractor on their city lot. What would you do? I want to treat them as I would like to be treated, but I've never taken someone's wheelbarrow without asking so this is new territory for me. What do you think?