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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.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Sheepreallylikerichteabiscuits · 09/08/2022 15:26

Knitwit101 · 09/08/2022 15:25

Where has he been working for the last two years

I dont know. They have 4 or 5 bedrooms, just one teenager still at home, so he must have been in another room? Fingers crossed he'll find this room too annoying and move back to wherever he used to be.

Either that or he was in the kitchen and his wife finally told him where to shove his very important job unless he stopped taking over the whole house and demanding absolute silence?

HopeIsNotAStrategy · 09/08/2022 15:27

You are missing a trick here OP. He clearly has no problem with broadcasting his Very Important Meetings into your garden, so I would take things one step further and start joining in.

When he pompously imparts a particularly grand announcement, I'd shout, "Oh, I wouldn't do that Derek! The interim dividends have yet to be announced!" In pre-team meeting chit chat, you could pipe up, "How's that boil on your bum doing Clive? Has Celia managed to pop it yet?". You get my drift.

He'll have that window closed as fast, your deckchair may be blown over in the downdraft

HopeIsNotAStrategy · 09/08/2022 15:27
  • so fast
MadeInChorley · 09/08/2022 15:27

You did well OP! Sounds like a twat.

He’s not a lawyer is he? Sounds like he might me. If he is, it’s a big professional no-no to have client or confidential calls within hearing distance of anyone else. If he complains again about noise, repeat that you can hear every word of his calls and are concerned enough report his unethical behaviour to his governing body (Bar Council or Solicitors Regulatory Authority).

greenacrylicpaint · 09/08/2022 15:30

has he never heard of shoulder surfing?

(not) being overheard by others is part of wfh workstation policies.

maybe record part of the 'very important' meeting on your phone and let dh play it back when neighbour comes to whinge to dh.

OakPine · 09/08/2022 15:30

Set up a badminton net across the garden. Get an umpire's chair on big legs and position it so that you can see into his Very Important Office. Shout encouragement to the children. It will be good for their morale.

When we were young at school we had a children's hymn book which we learned songs from. Singing them repeatedly over and over. Even better if someone can learn along with a recorder or for younger children, percussion instruments (beans in a plastic tub work well).

You handled it very well. I'd have laughed at the Very Important Man in his pyjama bottoms.

MaggieFS · 09/08/2022 15:30

Well done OP. Hopefully your DH will now play his intentionally hapless role perfectly.

Pretty sure some chanter practice is required before school goes back?

I'd also be tempted to chip in to the Very Important conversations over the fence.

Roselilly36 · 09/08/2022 15:31

The nerve of it! Some people never cease to amaze me. Just keep on with normal family life.

Yamyam13 · 09/08/2022 15:31

You're 100% in the right and it sounds like you responded perfectly!
Hopefully his other half wasnt there and when he tells them what happened they are mortified and tell him he's a massive A HOLE.

Teach12 · 09/08/2022 15:32

Start mowing your lawn. Daily.

10HailMarys · 09/08/2022 15:33

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.

I'm actually disappointed your diagram was of the layout of the gardens and not of the neighbour dressed like a twat.

I'm actually laughing out loud at your neighbour's entitlement. What a tit! He wouldn't last long WFH in our house. DP sits downstairs, I sit upstairs, both facing the garden, and both our next door neighbours have kids and dogs who play in the gardens all the time. Plus on one side, one of the parents also WsFH a lot and if it's nice weather she does that sitting at her garden table outside. I don't think it's ever occurred to any of us that any of this would be unreasonable on anyone' part! Imagine telling someone their kids had to stay indoors in summer because you were negotiating a merger at the window! I'm howling.

gunnersgold · 09/08/2022 15:33

Surely if he was that successful at being important he wouldn't have neighbours πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

KettrickenSmiled · 09/08/2022 15:35

The kids want to come inside now and play xbox.

Useless brats, how dare they in your time of crisis?!
Bribe & threaten them to stay outside OP. Loudly discussing Important Pokemon.

magicstar1 · 09/08/2022 15:35

If he corners your DH, don't forget to include the phrase "Crux of the matter" while answering him. "The crux of the matter is that you moved your office to an unsuitable space for such Very Important Job"

Knitwit101 · 09/08/2022 15:35

He is repeatedly mentioning the names of a few big companies I've heard of, I have no idea if they're merging or not. Surely this can't be real? Surely he wouldn't be shouting all this out his open window if it was real? Does he just not get how loud he is? And he's said "the crux of the matter" twice. I'm not standing outside listening, I'm just hanging out washing, tidying up the garden a bit.

I dont get the impression that he works for any of the companies he's talking about though, I don't know who he works for, or if he works on his own.

If he comes round again I'm going to make it very clear that I can hear him. The whole thing makes me feel quite uncomfortable now I've sort of tuned in to it. I can't tune out.

I'm going to take the kids down to the park for a while.

Ffs, we've only been home from our holidays for one day. I don't need this hassle.

OP posts:
OakPine · 09/08/2022 15:36

@HopeIsNotAStrategy I'm howling at the "I wouldn't do that Derek!"

Rodion · 09/08/2022 15:36

I'd have some sympathy for him if he'd said that he'd moved his office while you were away but now you're back with the kids playing in the garden he can see its not going to work as youre just going to bother each other with noise - any chance you could keep it down for the rest of the day and he'll put the office back to where it was tonight?

As it stands he's being a total idiot. We'll done for standing your ground!

KettrickenSmiled · 09/08/2022 15:38

Normal use of a garden by children is erm normal it is not normal to have a bloody corporate takeover happening next to the shrubbery


pixietinkdust · 09/08/2022 15:38

Mustardbay · 09/08/2022 14:40

I think you need to start some Very Important drum lessons

This. What a cheeky fucker.

Creepymanonagoatfarm · 09/08/2022 15:38

Leave a speaker on loop op. Plenty of suggestions on here..
9 til 5 my favourite!

Upwiththelark76 · 09/08/2022 15:40

Love your response OP. Tell him to jog on .
and I hope your DH is united with you . Your neighbour is another example of an entitled knob that needs knocking down a peg or two.

PortalooSunset · 09/08/2022 15:40

Prick. Him not you op in case that wasn't clear.

I've known a few people with terribly terribly actually important jobs. I have never known them to tell anyone how important their job is!

Kind of gutted your dc wanted to come in tbh - I think I'd have forced mine to stay out. Maybe get the water pistols or Nerf guns out too πŸ˜‚

Hidingawaytoday · 09/08/2022 15:40

I had this problem last year, but I was your neighbour. Couldn't hear myself think with the little ones playing next door. But I discovered this magical thing called... wait for it... a DOOR. I shut it and all my problems went away. Perhaps suggest he use his?

Alternatively tell him you work for one of the companies he's negotiating with and are appreciating all the insider knowledge.

Whichwhatnow · 09/08/2022 15:40

Haha! It sounds like he may be in the same job as me (corporate/commercial lawyer). I too WFH and negotiate multi million pound deals on a daily basis. However that really, really does not make me Very Important and I am also perfectly capable of closing a window if the outside noise gets too much.

Also as you mentioned a lot of what is being said is likely to be highly confidential! God forbid he's broadcasting details of an upcoming listed company acquisition or something πŸ˜†

starfishmummy · 09/08/2022 15:41

What type of music do you think would really grate in his nerves and give entirely the wrong impression?

Toddler songs. On loop. Very annoying. Or lots of holiday type songs - Agadoo, birdie song etc.

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