Dear Blake,

A year and a half ago, a newly married young couple moved into a house down the street. A few weeks after they moved in, my husband, my daughter and I went over with a gift to introduce ourselves and welcome them. They were super friendly. My husband told them if they needed anything to let us know. Shortly afterward, the husband contacted my husband and said since they were newly married, they couldn’t afford a lawn mower and asked if they could borrow ours. “Of course” was our answer.

It’s a year and a half later. They still borrow our mower, along with other items like a leaf blower or a weed whacker. They often go on weeklong or weekend trips to expensive places. While they’re gone, they sometimes ask my husband to mow their yard for them, which he does.

They are always grateful. However I’m to the point where enough is enough. It doesn’t feel neighborly anymore. It feels like we are being taken advantage of. How do we politely say, “You need to get your priorities straight. Quit going on trips and buy yourself a mower”

Signed, Betty
From Depew, New York

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Dear Betty,

I absolutely agree that your neighbors are taking advantage of your husband. I think I know of a way stop those two leaches, and possibly make some money off of them too. Here are some options for both of you to consider. Tell your neighbors you’re starting your own gardening rental service, and tell them you anticipate a long waiting list, so they should make their deposit and sign up now. Or, if your neighbors say they don’t want to rent anything, they just want your husband to do the work for them, tell them “no problem” sign up now, pay the deposit, and he’ll take care of that too. Or this idea. If your neighbors insist on free service, have your husband “accidentally” rip apart all flowers in the garden. like roses, petunias, and/or everything that’s visually appealing. And lastly, if they ever request that your husband cut their lawn again because they feel that’s the neighborly thing to do, tell him to search their grass for rocks. If he aims aim the lawnmower properly, he can shoot them through the glass all over the house. And after that, you should complain to your local HOA that your property value is going down, because your neighbor’s windows are boarded up. I hope this helps.