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|Intro:||Welcome to the MilHousing Nation Podcast, where we are having conversations that matter for wherever the military is taking you. We’re bringing you stories from real military spouses who not only understand the challenges, they are harnessing the opportunities to build lives they can live from New spouses to veteran spouses. You’ll get tips and tricks and actionable steps that will help you along your military life journey. |
Welcome, everyone. This is Heather Campbell. We are so thankful that you have joined us on the new housing nation podcast, where we dive into the uniqueness of the military family journey by helping you build a life, a community, and a home you love where you are not in control of where you will call home next.
|0:41||Okay guys, today, we’re going to be talking about how to be a good neighbor. And I know that sounds so like Mayberry and Mr. Rogers and the things we learned about when we were kids, right? But I have some really practical steps for you guys, as neighbors as military community members of how you can both passively be a good neighbor. So just the things that you’re doing to make sure that you’re showing up as a neighbor and then also actively being a good neighbor.|
|1:05||But before we get started, I want to give a special thanks to today’s show sponsors and Navy Mutual and Caliber Home Loans. We cannot do what we do at MilHousing Network and MilHousing Nation Podcast without their support and we are so thankful to have them as part of our team as we serve you guys in our community. Again, like always, we thank you for any comments, likes, shares – anything that you’re doing to help get the message of our MilHousing Nation Podcast out there to help support our community and also to give us that feedback of the things that you guys are loving and the things you guys want to see more of. So, be sure that you are sharing this podcast. That you were liking, that you are commenting, and sending in all of that feedback for us so that we can show up better for you. Okay, now let’s go ahead and get started. Like I said, we’re going to be talking about how to be a good neighbor.|
|1:48||Now, if you guys are part of the military community, which many of you listening are or were at one point, you guys know that we kind of have like a lot of neighbors. Even if you’re not the one who’s moving, you’re in one place for three years. You may or may not have lots of neighbor turnover, right? So, it can feel really exhausting to try to be this good neighbor and we’re worried about ops tempo and our kids and our houses and our finances and the cost of groceries lately. And whether or not a kid is having a behavior problem at school or if you can make it back for your cousin’s wedding and how grandma’s doing all of these things, right? We’re carrying all of these things in our brain. So very, very simple, actionable steps that you can take to be a good neighbor.|
|2:27||Okay, first, we’re going to talk about passively being a good neighbor. Now there’s a couple of things here. The reason I say passively is these are things that are just part of our daily routine that aren’t really taking a lot of extra effort for us to quote-unquote, be a good neighbor. Okay. The first one kind of seems obvious, but it’s important, especially as we relocate is to know and follow the rules of your housing community. So, whether you are maybe stationed overseas and you’re looking at an apartment complex or you’re in a big city, you’re in an apartment, you’re in a tower, you’re at a condo, a townhome, a single family home, a homeowner’s association, out on property by yourselves, living on base, living off base, living on your insulation, all these different ways. Maybe you live on a houseboat – that sounds great too. |
But all these different ways that sort of describe where we’re living – well we need to know what the rules are. We own a home in another state and we have renters there and our renters were not aware of and our homeowners’ association had a rule that they could not park a boat. And we weren’t notified until it this boat had been parked in the driveway for a number of days that there was a couple of $100 of delinquency fees, which, you know, we hadn’t been getting because we weren’t on the property and they had been getting, but I don’t know maybe ignoring. So these are things to know.
|3:36||Also, things that I know now as a landlord to be communicating with my tenants. Making sure they’re aware of some of those homeowners association rules. So, just know and follow the rules. Are there certain rules on what you can paint your house? Or what shingle color you can put in? Or whether or not you can park your cars on the grass? Or the length of the grass that it needs to be cut? Or quiet hours. Or whether or not, for us here in Alaska, because we don’t mow our lawn very much out of the year, it’s a very short window of lawn mowing, we spend much more time snow shoveling here. We have a lawn company that takes care of the lawns on based. On our installation. But, we have a responsibility to make sure that our yards are clear of pet waste, clear of toys, or they won’t mow. They’ll just send a notice that says, “nope, your yard wasn’t ready; we didn’t mow.” And of course, if your yard gets too tall, the grass gets too tall, you can get a notice or fine, right? So, these are things that you need to know to be a good neighbor.|
|4:28||Again, sort of the rules are starting over the place that you’re living but make sure that you know what they are, especially if there’s any tricky ones and that you are following them. That’s going to be a really easy way for your neighbors not to have something to complain about. And in talking about those rules, one that’s usually in many places is an observation of quiet hours. Know what those are, especially if you’re a loud people like the Campbell family, my family. We’re a loud people and we go to bed relatively early. My husband and I stay late, but the kids go to bed early. But, it’s important to note with my kids who are awake and acting, you know like hooligans at 5:30 in the morning. That’s not an appropriate time to be using outdoor voices. Right? That’s not an appropriate time to be running on the playground, screaming at the top of our lungs. 5:30 in the morning is not the time. So, we have quiet hours where we live military installation, and we have to observe those quiet hours. So, know when those are.|
|5:20||And also just be mindful if you are in an apartment or townhome situation where you’re sharing walls or sharing floors and ceilings, especially if you’re in a military installation or maybe have first responders as neighbors – not everybody works the eight to five shift. Where I am in Alaska, many people remote work for the last 48 organizations. So, they’re at work by 5 am which is 9 am East Coast time. So, 5 am reporting to work here on their computer is 9am on the east coast. So, not everybody keeps the same hours that you do. So, as you’re thinking about quiet hours, maybe even you know give yourself a little buffer there. Or if you happen to know that you have a neighbor who’s working in opposite shift. Maybe be mindful of the times that your kids are being loud and crazy. I say that because that is such an ever present conversation in my home is loud and crazy kids. But also for social events. |
Think about the noise that you’re generating. Now standing outside having a fire pit with a few neighbors is one thing but you know throwing a rager with loud music or, or having a football party that goes until late in the night, something like that. Be mindful of your neighbors and also for social events, be mindful of where people are parking, right? Some of our neighborhoods aren’t designed for lots of vehicles, so it might be something that you said “hey, it’d be really great if everybody met at the grocery store at the entrance of our neighborhood and then only a couple people drive. We don’t have room for everyone’s cars,” right? So, being mindful of just you know, kind of if you’re, you’re being a jerk. Are you being too loud or are you taking up all the space on the road? So, be mindful of those rules for your living community and also have those quiet hours.
|6:48||Now another way to meet a passively good neighbor is to just not keep an unsightly home. Now this is one that’s difficult for us in Alaska because I have three kids who were just active and maybe kind of a little feral and they go out and they go out and in and out and in a gazillion times a day and they drop their toys on the front lawn or they leave the rain boots on the front porch or they you know, it’s raining and so they leave their umbrellas and rain boots outside or they leave their sleds in the driveway. So things like that, that just active families do especially if they’re running in and they’ve been sledding and we’ve got to get them to basketball practice.|
|7:25||So, just don’t keep an unsightly home. Don’t let your grass get crazy long. Don’t let your yard be full of pet waste. Don’t let your kids leave everything out one night two nights is one thing, but you know don’t use your front lawn as a storage facility. There’s – there’s ways that we can still have access to all of these items and not be unsightly. Especially when you might have neighbors that have smaller children or have dogs that get out like mine because my kids leave the doors open. You don’t want to be creating any sort of hazards for your neighbors in the way that you are keeping the outside of your home. So, especially if you own, make sure that your pressure washing the mold. Make sure that you’re trimming back those weeds, taking care of tree limbs that might be hazardous. Just don’t keep an unsightly potentially unsafe environment on the exterior of your home. The interior and how you like to organize it and keep it is really up to you. But make sure that the outside of your home I’m not saying to have the white picket fence in the perfectly groomed lawn because I personally have a black thumb and I cannot grow anything. It’s like a plant hospice in my home. Plants come here to just have a slow, comfortable death. So, I’m not saying that you need to have these perfectly groomed homes, but just make sure that it’s not unsightly and that it’s not unsafe.|
|8:31||And the last way to passively be a good neighbor is, again, to familiarize yourself with that homeowner’s association, your resident advocate on military installations, your superintendent of your building, a privatized housing office, local repairman, that kind of thing. Know where to go, in case of a problem. In case of a problem with your structure, In case of a problem with your utilities. In case of a problem with anything that’s going on with a neighbor dispute. Make sure that you are familiarizing yourself with the regulatory agencies over your community and how to best go forward in taking care of those difficulties. You don’t want to, say you live on a military installation and be calling someone’s commander for something that really should have gone to probably the housing office or to your resident advocate. So, make sure that you are familiarizing yourself with who is governing your living area and your community and then know how to get in touch with them and for what things.|
|9:26||Okay, before we talk about how to actively be a good neighbor, I want to take a quick break and hear more from our sponsors for today’s episode. We have Navy Mutual and Caliber Home Loans. |
Trust is everything. For 140 years, Navy Mutual has been safeguarding your family and your future. Navy Mutual’s financial strength and stability ensures they’ll be there when you need them the most. They are there to provide members high quality, low-cost life insurance, and annuities, educate the military and uniformed service community at large on matters of financial security, and to help members secure their earned survivor benefits. With commitment, competence, and character, for Navy Mutual it’s all about trust.
A nationwide lender with branches across the country, Caliber Home Loans Incorporated is staffed with local experts who are eager to share their knowledge and help you realize your dream of homeownership. Caliber is committed to meeting the specific mortgage needs of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who serve our country with resolute sacrifice and bravery. Their combination of our user-friendly technology and professional guidance of their loan consultants creates a smooth route to homeownership.
Okay, guys, welcome back. Again, we are so thankful for our sponsors. We could not do what we do without their help and their support.
|10:41||Now, let’s jump back into it. Talk to you about how to passively be a good neighbor. How do you just sort of live in your space without creating problems for other people, right? That passively good neighbor. How do you kind of follow the rules and not create problems? Okay, well, what about actively being a good neighbor? This is kind of above and beyond. Now, I have some very easy steps. I am not one, I wish that I was. I wish I was in a season that I can say I’m delivering, you know, homebaked casseroles or beautiful goods you are more likely to get like a grocery store gift card or some Costco muffins for me. Okay, that’s just my season. And I acknowledge it, and I move with confidence in the season that I in it. But, there are still ways that we can be a good neighbor.|
|11:21||Okay, first one, whether you’ve just moved into a new area, maybe you’ve stayed and you’ve gotten your neighbors. Maybe you’re in the same place and your neighbors haven’t changed, but just keep an eye out and be taken care of others are offering to help. Now, I’m not talking about being you know, the nosy neighbor who’s looking at her curtains and knows what everybody’s doing. That’s not necessarily it but no, especially in military communities. Do you have a neighbor whose spouse is deployed? Where I am in Alaska, there’s a lot of shoveling. Our housing office does not plow all of these driveways. That’s our responsibility. And they help people with TDY service members if they’re gone for a certain length of time, right? But if you have these quick one week, two week TDY is there they’re not helping you. |
So that’s a great time to know what’s going on with your neighbors. Do you have a spouse at home with young children and a service member who’s gone that’s a great time to see – okay, I can help shovel their driveway or I can help mow their lawn. We lived in a civilian neighborhood in our last duty station and we had a neighbor who was a sweet older lady and she had an adult child who lived with her who had some developmental delays and just some reasons that he won’t live on his own. So, neither of them were really able to care for their lawn as she had gotten older. So she was right next to me and there was another gentleman on the other side and he mowed the main part of her yard and sort of her side yard that sort of buffered up to our sidewalk in our driveway. We took care of that part. So, when we mowed our yard we just mowed that portion. It was just an understood we were taking care of her yard on that side. He took care of the other part of the yard get a riding lawnmower and would just mow his yard in her yard together. And that was a way that we were able to very easily when we were already out mowing lawns help care for this neighbor. That was actively being a good neighbor because we were aware of her situation. We’re aware of what she needed.
|13:00||Same thing was shoveling. TDYs and young kids or even taking a meal if you sort of have a better relationship and know your neighbors. “Hey, I heard that you were in the hospital last week” or “Hey, I heard that you guys been traveling” or “I heard – whatever fill in the blank reason that you might be under more stress – can I bring you a meal?” Or maybe you just say, “Hey, can I send you [everything so digital now] can I send you some money Uber Eats or Doordash or GrubHub?” I think those are what they’re called. We don’t have them here in Alaska where I am, so I hear about what they’re called, but you know. Maybe you can still virtually send away to give them a meal or offered to pick up their their Walmart grocery pickup, right? |
There’s all these ways there’s small easy ways, “Hey, I’m gonna be out and about, can I pick up anything at the store for you?” Just keep an eye out and be caring for others and sort of know what might be going on in their life, especially your immediate neighbors that really might need an extra helping hand. And if you’ve ever had a difficult situation, you know how impactful it is to have somebody go out of their way to just show kindness to you. Intentional kindness, that you are not unseen and you are not forgotten, you are not alone. So, that’s one way is keeping an eye out for your neighbors and just sort of generally caring for them.
|14:07||The other way that you can actually be a good neighbor again, we’re doing these active motions that are very simple, not fancy ways to show that you’re a good neighbor. The second one is to greet your new neighbors. When I say greet your new neighbors I’ve already said I’m not going to bring a casserole or anything like that, but just simply saying hi. Knocking on the door when you see a movie truck or maybe you arrive maybe you have a child – my grandparents were deaf. Maybe you have somebody in your family who has special needs and that’s a great time to leave just a quick card – you can print them off on Canva. You can order them from Etsy or Amazon. You can make them up on your computer and print them off at Office Depot. Just a quick, you know little card that says, “Hi, we’re the Campbell family. We’re hard of hearing. We have three kids these ages.” Right? Something very, very simple. Just to let your neighbors know something that might be important if they were trying to communicate with you or get in touch with you important things to know. |
Maybe you have a child that likes to walk out of front doors and you need to let your neighbors know that you have a wanderer and to please just return her home because she’s two and she likes to open front doors and go for walks. That may or may not be a thing you’ve experienced like I have. So, easy simple ways to say “Hi, we just got here” or “Hey, welcome to the neighborhood! We’re the Campbell family. We have three kids. They go to the school on the corner. I work from home, so if you ever need something in the middle of the day, please let me know. I’m usually home and I would love to help.” Something very simple. Just greeting them so that they can have a friendly face so that they know who they can call in a bind. Especially when you are the one who has been in a place that you have new people coming in. We all know that feeling is so good to know you have somebody that you can call in a bind to say, “actually, I do need help. Can you help me with this?”
|15:47||And then maybe even create a favorite things list. This is one of my favorite things to do. Create a little list of maybe your favorite breakfast spot in town and your favorite car shop for last minute repairs. Somewhere that you’ve worked with that you know is going to do quality work for a reasonable price. A store of integrity, your favorite grocery stores, your favorite local restaurants, maybe a favorite event. Here in Alaska, we have a Midnight Sun Festival in June when we celebrate the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year. That’s a really fun thing for me to tell people coming in. “Hey, make sure you’re keeping an eye out for all of the festival activities downtown over the solstice,” right? Or, “Hey, make sure that you check out” – [we do this here in Alaska. We don’t have summer for Fourth of July because it’s so dark. So we do fireworks for the Fall Festival and for New Year’s. |
So, that’s a great way to say, “Hey, make sure that you head over to that side of the base. They’re going to do fireworks.” So just really simple ways to help your neighbors start feeling acclimated, to start knowing some of those basic things and also just get you name out there. “Hi, we’re the Campbell family. We have three kids that go to this school on the corner. Welcome. You only have a few weeks of summer left. So, make sure you just get your house to minimum function, put the rest of your garage and get outside as much as you can.” That is the message I had been telling my new neighbors here in Alaska lately. So it gives them a name. A little bit about us that hey, by the way, going outside is important because the snow is coming.
|17:07||So, I hope that these ideas help you start getting those wheels turning of both how you can passively be a good neighbor. Make sure that you’re being mindful of others. That you’re not creating conflict, not creating trouble. You’re knowing the rules, following them, not creating noise, not creating unsightly yards, not creating a safety concerns. You know how to escalate problems or where to get help we need it and then both actively be a neighbor as well. How to keep an eye out and care for the people around you. How to help them feel welcome or how to introduce yourself in your new community.|
|17:40||As always, thank you all so much for being here and being part of the Milhousing Nation. We appreciate you. The milHousing Nation is where you have a community no matter where you are stationed. And be sure that you are subscribing to our podcast. That you are liking, commenting, and sharing and as always giving us that feedback so that we can continue to serve you guys more.|