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AIBU?

To not accommodate Very Important Neighbour's new home office?

739 replies

Knitwit101 · 09/08/2022 14:35

We've lived next door to these neighbours for years. Know each other well enough to say hi, put bins out on holiday, but we're not friends. We've been using our garden in the same way for years. No changes on our side, nothing new.

We've come back from holiday to find neighbour has re-organised his home office and he now sits at a massive (open) window right on the boundary between our gardens. That must have been a spare bedroom before maybe, I don't know. We never saw anyone in it.

I sat outside at our patio table this morning to have a coffee and I could hear every word he said through his open window, could hear every word his colleagues said on their online meetings. He might as well have been sitting at the table with me. Not sure there's much I can do about that, he can use his house however he likes.

Ds10 and his pals are sitting outside at the table trading Pokemom cards. There's 4 of them, they are laughing and chatting but they're not shouting or being silly. And it's a sunny afternoon in the school holidays, they can be outside laughing in the garden if they want to be.

Neighbour has just come to the door to ask me if I can take them inside because he has a full afternoon of work meetings and their noise is distracting him.

I said "what, the whole afternoon? You want them to stay indoors all afternoon?"

He said completely straight-faced "I'll be working till 6.30pm"

I laughed and said "well no, that won't be possible".

At this point he said in a very slow, careful, mansplaining voice just in case I couldn't follow him "I don't think you understand. I have a Very Important Job. These are very important meetings. I negotiate multi-million dollar contracts every day, I need to be able to concentrate."

Seriously? I always though he was a bit of a twat but who talks like this? Who actually says "Very Important" like that? Twice? He has no idea what my job is or how important dh or I might be.

I just said "no, we'll carry on using our garden as we always have. Maybe you could close your window when you're needing to concentrate. And just so you're aware, I can hear you and your colleagues when your window is open, I hope you're not saying anything confidential. I must get on, thanks for doing the bins while we were away" then shut the door.

He's gone, I can hear him on his Very Important Meeting. I could join in, I can hear every word on both sides. I suspect he'll be back, probably when dh is back from work so they can talk man to man.

He's unsettled me though, he was so self-confident when he came to the door, so sure that he would get exactly what he wanted. How do you get that kind of confidence? I wish I had it. Or is it arrogance? He made me think I was in the wrong at first.

We love our garden, we use it all the time. I'm not sure how we'll deal with this one, but I wasn't BU by refusing to bring the kids inside, was I? He's the one who has made the change, not us. I don't think wfh is new for him, he was just somewhere else in his house before I guess. Now he's on top of our patio with his big booming voice. I feel quite sad about it, if he's there all day every day it's going to be awful.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

5480 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
1%
You are NOT being unreasonable
99%
Knitwit101 · 09/08/2022 14:54

I think you handled that amazingly well, actually

Thank you. I'm quite pleased with myself, I'm not usually like that. But I'm tired, we got back late from holiday, I found his expectation that I would keep the kids in all afternoon so ridiculous that I just wasn't in the mood for any nonsense. On a different day I would probably have been falling over myself to keep the peace. As it was I just wanted to laugh at how pompous he was. (Then came inside and started doubting myself).

He was also doing the wfh thing of having a shirt and tie on the top half and what looked like checked pj bottoms on the bottom half so that added to the surrealness of the whole conversation.

I'm not sure what a diagram will add but I'll do my best.

OP posts:
Minecraftatemychild · 09/08/2022 14:55

Ugh my neighbour has started having loud work meetings in his garden too, it must be a thing 🙄 He would never ask DC to go inside though!! If my DC get too noisy then my neighbour sighs and takes his work inside.

Your neighbour is a bully, plain and simple. If he brings it up again, say no again. Don’t argue, don’t engage in debate, just keep saying you will continue to use your garden in a normal way. Maybe also drop a letter round saying that the constant noise of his meetings is extremely annoying for your family and could he please recognise that tbis is a residential location not a workplace, and either keep the window shut and have meetings with headphones on instead of speaker, or move the meetings into his house, or consider a return to the office.

Bet his wife is sick of him too and sent him into the garden.

If relations get bad you could always try playing loud music in your garden right next to his fence for a couple of days. Bullies usually back down.

knackersToIt · 09/08/2022 14:55

I think it sounds as though you handled it magnificently OP. What a knob.

ZingotheDingo · 09/08/2022 14:55

Oh, yes yes to the water fight and beats going on. Kids need to cool down in this warm weather...

CeratopsofthePharoahs · 09/08/2022 14:55

Time for DC to take up the trombone. Even better if he can get it to make comic noises at the right points during the Very Important Meetings.

Jedsnewstar · 09/08/2022 14:55

How do you get that kind of confidence?

Behold the might of growing a penis.

OhWhatFuckeryIsThisNow · 09/08/2022 14:55

Yeah, it keeps up maybe contact his Very Important Business and say you can hear everything he said. What. A. Tool.

LaurieFairyCake · 09/08/2022 14:56

"I'm so sorry your job is not well paid enough to afford a pair of headphones"

SpongeBobJudgeyPants · 09/08/2022 14:57

How do you get that kind of confidence? I wish I had it. Or is it arrogance? He made me think I was in the wrong at first

@Knitwit101 Firstly, by being born with a willy. Society then affirms that you are indeed Very Special Indeed. And sometimes their mother's do too, sadly.

I have a lifetime of dealing with this type of bullshit/manspaining twattery, and am over it now. Well done for standing your ground.

Minecraftatemychild · 09/08/2022 14:57

Ps you could also mention in your letter that where a residential building’s use changes such that it is used for work, in a way that causes disturbance to neighbours such as the constant noise of his work calls, he needs to apply for planning permission for change of use of the property… He isn’t legally entitled just to change his house into an office and expect everyone else in the residential area to accomodate his new needs.

PaddleBoardingMomma · 09/08/2022 14:57

Firstly, you did a great job! Kudos, you worded it all perfectly.

Secondly, we are getting a diagram!

What a great day to be on Mumsnet. I do love a good diagram.

KirstenBlest · 09/08/2022 14:57

Get a basketball hoop or trampoline for the DD.

Overthebow · 09/08/2022 14:58

You can use your garden how you like. He can work somewhere else in the house or go into the office if it bothers him. I agree to the water fight idea!

LondonLovie · 09/08/2022 14:58

You don't live in London do you? I love my area of London, but my God there are some self-confident and Very Important Job people round here. We happen to live next to two of them. They complain if we breath, but they seem to carry on and do what they want, and expect us to be their bin/ post/ dog/ house PAs on demand. This is probably another post!

Anyway, I would be furious that someone felt they had more right and self importance to use their own garden then me. Seriously wff! How dare they?!

FictionalCharacter · 09/08/2022 14:58

CeratopsofthePharoahs · 09/08/2022 14:55

Time for DC to take up the trombone. Even better if he can get it to make comic noises at the right points during the Very Important Meetings.

This is genius. A recording would do!

VivaDixie · 09/08/2022 14:59

Another one applauding your perfect handling of Very Important Man

Definitely prime DH for when he gets home. We can't have him undoing all of your stellar work đź‘Ś

HotWashCycle · 09/08/2022 14:59

You handled it brilliantly OP. What a sense of entitlement, unbelievable! Not confidence as such, but arrogance. No way should you or your DC alter your use of your garden or space to accommodate his stupid decision to put his office where it is. If he comes round to see your DH, greatt suggestion from TeeBee - your DH must not pander to this man's ridiculous requests, he needs to back you up 100%.

FOJN · 09/08/2022 15:00

It's amazing how some people are so arrogant they can actually make you question yourself when it's them making a completely unreasonable demand.

I think you handled it really well. I would keep on using your garden as you have been.
Do give your husband a heads up just in case he does try the man to man approach.

It's a shame your neighbours very important job hasn't enabled him to afford a large house with acres of land so that he's not troubled by the normal day to day noise of living alongside others.

I think its true that if you need to tell someone your job is very important then it's probably not.

NotASecret · 09/08/2022 15:00

What a prat. It's so hard to pretend you live in a huge 8-bedroom detached house in the middle of Surrey when the sounds of children playing in next door's garden are audible across the Zoom call concentrate when working from home...

OnaBegonia · 09/08/2022 15:01

Your DS and his pals should have a very important and very loud meeting themselves with shirt n ties, discussing the importance of every pokémon.

MarsupiIami · 09/08/2022 15:01

WeAreBob · 09/08/2022 14:53

I think it's time to let the kids have some music on and a bit of a water fight.

Yes. Waterballoons are really cheap too.

SenecaFallsRedux · 09/08/2022 15:01

Seeline · 09/08/2022 14:54

Patio sounds like an ideal spot for the DCs new passion of basket ball!

or bagpipe lessons. Lots of practice outside to get really good at it.

Fladdermus · 09/08/2022 15:02

What a self important knobber he is. My DH has a very important job and was WFH yesterday. He had a meeting way more important than your neighbours I expect (nuclear scientists discussing potential nuclear disaster in Ukraine, proper important). He absolutely could not be disturbed, so took his laptop and sat in the dark, dank cellar with all the spiders. He wouldn't dream of telling us or the neighbours to pipe down.

Twizbe · 09/08/2022 15:03

I'd be posting here some of the details of these very important business conversations including identifying information such as company names. The daily fail will pick it up and he'd be in a ton of shit ....

I do think you handled it well though.

Goldbar · 09/08/2022 15:03

There is a misconception amongst some people that Covid and wfh transformed the whole country, including suburbia with tightly packed terraced houses and semis, into one gigantic office space where office rules apply. You see this not only with people like this (and we also have a neighbour who conducts work meetings in the garden and sighs audibly whenever DC uses the paddling-pool), but also in the number of men who set up their laptops at the kitchen table rather than in an upstairs bedroom and insisted that the whole family tiptoed around them.

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