the “unfenced” pool next door

We have a great next door neighbor- a divorced guy who owns a lawn care service. His kids have graduated high school / college. He’s enjoying single-ness, and occasionally we have to deal with semi-loud parties on the weekends. He has to deal with our inability to keep a yard in order, and will mow the lawn / kill our weeds when he gets sick of them.

His house caught on fire a couple of years ago and he’s been repairing the house on his own. The fence in his yard went up in smoke and he replaced most of it. Last year, though, he put in an in-ground pool, and never finished the fence gate. It wasn’t something I ever considered a problem until my mom pointed out the very obvious Gabe issue. If we are in the front yard, Gabe can walk straight into that pool in less than a minute or two. I will have to be constantly vigilant when we are out in the front yard, which is often. In the time I tunr my back to put Ben in the car… yea.

SO i need to talk to this guy, but have no idea how to address it. A “hey, you gonna finish that fence? Because I have a toddler and it’s freaking me out” seems like it should be easy enough, right? But we’re not “neighborly” neighbors and honestly don’t SEE him that often. I don’t know why it intimidates me to go over there and find him to discuss this, and really, what would the discussion be? I looked up the city rules and he’s clearly in violation of them. There is a big cowardly part of me that wants to just put a copy in his mailbox, but if he ignores it that is ridiculous. Advice?? I honestly can’t let it go much longer without panicking.

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9 thoughts on “the “unfenced” pool next door

  1. I do think you can talk to him about it without it being un-neighborly. He almost definitely hasn’t thought about babies/toddlers in a long time. I’m not good at what feels (to me) like confrontation, but if I plan ahead of time what I’m going to say, it goes smoother. Maybe once you point out “two small children, no barrier to pool”, he’ll jump in and fix it!

  2. Bring a plate of cookies. Say “I know it’s just the paranoid mother in me, but I’m having nightmares about the pool. Did you know that my kids have easy access to it right now?”. Self deprecation works well. Don’t do confrontational…do friendly and laughing at yourself. It’ll be fine. He’s a nice guy and he’s had kids. Don’t bring up laws. And don’t drop them in his letterbox. Try gentle first.

  3. Oh, scary. I can see why you are nervous. I agree with the others, I would approach him gently, it probably just hasn’t occurred to him. He probably doesn’t want an accident any more than you do. Hopefully that will do the trick. Good luck!

  4. You could also nicely point out that it’s not just an issue for your kid. If he has friends with kids over or some kids/teens are walking down the street and catch sight of his pool and decide to take a closer look, that could all lead to disaster. Also, if he’s in violation of a city code, he could have a huge liability if something happens. And, it also doesn’t look good professionally if someone whose business is yard care can’t even follow the regulations himself.

    • yes, it’s not just M’s kids, it’s all kids — pools are an attractive nuisance and any kid could wander in and drown and then he would be in for a whole world of misery, legally, in addition to how horrible he would feel to be responsible for something like that.

      One thing I would add — you might even suggest that he could get some neighbors together to help him with it if he needed to — because it will make your whole neighborhood safer. That may not be something you feel comfortable doing, or your neighborhood may not be the type of place where people would do that type of thing. Or maybe you could just say “T could help you on the weekends if you need it.” Just another attempt at a friendly spin and a willingness to help him get it accomplished.

      good luck!

  5. I would just be honest with him, but talk to him face to face. Really, you’re doing him a favor, saving him from massive liability and heartache should an accident happen with any kids, not just yours.

  6. My neighbor was driving his truck through parts of our un-mowed acres behind the house when we first moved in. Mostly he was just turning around or moving things around in his yard and just using the extra space that is actually our property to maneuver. My kids were much younger at the time and I only had to mention once that they might be out there in the tall grass (2 ft tall) playing for him to suddenly realize the danger of driving in my yard and stop doing it. My best guess is that your situation is similar in that it just hasn’t crossed his mind that it is an actual danger, not just an unfinished project.

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