Post # 1
We live on a quiet cul-de-sac with about 8 houses. The lady across the street from us is a widow and the man to the right of her is a widower. Liz, the lady, says that Will, the man, lets her pay half his garbage fee and she can use his garbage cans instead of having a separate account. I didn’t think anything of it until last week, when I saw her struggling with a bunch of wine bottles, taking them out to his trash can. I mentioned it to Darling Husband, and remember being a little worried that she is really depressed at this time of year.
This morning, Darling Husband saw her putting wine bottles in OUR trash can that I had just put out to the curb before I left for work.
1. Part of me feels bad for her, and I always have, because I can’t even imagine losing Darling Husband and being alone in our house afterwards…
2. Part of me is worried about her drinking (DH said it was 5 of the big bottles of wine, and she never has guests over–you can see visitors’ cars easily).
3. Part of me is annoyed that she isn’t paying for garbage service and just uses ours and Will’s.
Thoughts? Would you bother saying something, or just let the part that feels bad for her ignore the behavior? I don’t know her well enough to say anything, and I’m notoriously non-confrontational.
Post # 3
- Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley
I probably wouldn’t say anything until it became somewhat of an issue for me. For example, if there was risidual wine in those bottles and it was causing the inside of my garbage can to become sticky. Also, I would probably begin to become irritated if she began doing it consistently. And more than one bag would frustrate me.
EDIT: I wouldn’t mention her drinking to anyone. It’s not really your business, and you don’t want to come across as intrusive.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t say anything. About either. I’d want to help her get involved in the community so maybe I’d invite her to help with a dog rescue or something…try to help give her a purpose. Depends on how friendly she is
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s your place to say anything about the drinking, but you have every right in the world to tell her she can’t use your garbage can.
Post # 6
I wouldn’t say anything about the drinking. It’s her life and she has a daughter who should pick up on it and say something about it…not your place to bring it up.
Her putting stuff in your garbage, if it really bothers you and is making your cans sticky then I’d ask her to please stop. Otherwise I’d let it go, it doesn’t seem like it’s hurting anyone, maybe she doesn’t have the money for garbage pickup and is too embarassed to say anything?
Post # 7
@MrsLongcoatPeacoat: If her using your garbage really bothers you, I would tell her to please quit. She pays for Will’s, not your’s. Yes, it sounds like she might have a problem, but I wouldn’t say anything about the drinking as it isn’t anyone’s business but her own, but the garbage is most certainly your business.
Post # 8
Thanks for the input, ladies. Keep it coming. The reason why I’m a little worried about her drinking is that her daughter comes over about once or twice a month, just for a weekend lunch with her kids. If she’s drinking that much, alone in her house, who’s to say it doesn’t get worse and she doesn’t fall asleep with a cigarette burning or a space heater going? I would feel so guilty if something did happen to her and her daughter had no idea that she’d begun drinking so much.
Her situation is so sad–her husband used to sit out on the front porch and wave to everyone as they drove up. When he died, she became sort of a shell of a person… always puttering around outside, picking up sticks, sitting in his chair. I can’t imagine how sad and lonely she is. I talk to her when I see her, but honestly, I have alot going on too and don’t have much time to spend with a virtual stranger.
Post # 9
Don’t worry about how much she drinks, it’s isn’t your business.
But if she uses your trash cans to the point where you have to pay extra for garbage pick up (around here if you have “excess” you pay more) then I would say something. Or if you think YOU’LL get in trouble for not recycling or something. Otherwise I wouldn’t be bothered. Sure, it’s lame that she’s not paying for garbage pick up and you do…if it becomes consistent I’d ask that she pay half or something…
Post # 10
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
Don’t mention the drinking. If her using your trash cans becomes problematic for you, then I would mention that.
Post # 11
If you are worried about her, I would suggest just being friendly and kind when you see her. Maybe engage in conversation when you see her puttering around outside. But, I definitely would not comment on her drinking. Since you don’t know her well, it really isn’t your place. I personally would let the garbage can thing slide, but if it bothers you, you are certainly within your rights to ask her to stop using it. I suspect she is splitting her bottles between the two cans, because she is ashamed of her drinking and doesn’t want Will to see all of the empty bottles.
Post # 12
Honestly the thing that bothered me the most is she isn’t recycling!!
Post # 13
I know this is a strange addendum, but the year after we moved in (2010), 4 people in 4 different houses died on our street. Liz lost her husband, then Will lost his wife, then a man on the corner lost his wife and moved away, then a lady lost her child to SIDS and moved away. Will’s kids come over every weekend, sometimes during the week, and I think he takes care of his grandkids too because they’re always out playing and doing yardwork.
Liz, by comparison, hardly ever has any company and seems kind of lost when I do see her. She’s not terrible old either, she’s probably in her 60s.
Post # 14
I would not say anything about her drinking. I would only mention the trash can if it becomes a problem for you. Sounds like the poor lady has enough problems.
Post # 15
I wouldn’t intervene on her drinking, that’s not your business. But if she’s hogging up your garbage can space without asking I’d tell her to stop.
Post # 16
I don’t understand why you would speak to her about either issue. You’re going to yell at a widow with a drinking problem around Thanksgiving? Is it bothering you that much? I would try to have more empathy.