DEAR MISS MANNERS: A few years ago, we bought an old house Dracula wouldn't have been willing to live in, tore it down, and replaced it with a spiffy modern house. The next-door neighbors were enraged at this and did their best to block our plans. When that failed, they continually called the city to complain about the inconvenience to themselves of our project.
Now we are done, and these same neighbors have embarked on an extensive renovation project. They are doing the same things they complained about us doing: starting work too early, storing materials in the street, workers playing loud music, and so on.
I don't want to be difficult the way they were, but I can't help wanting to ask them why this is OK when they do it. Yet I also realize saying this would make a bad situation worse.
GENTLE READER: Tell your neighbors that you completely understand, from experience, that neighbors get upset because sometimes homeowners do not realize that workers are being inconsiderate -- but could they please ask the contractor not to block the driveway?
Miss Manners does not promise this will be effective; the only guaranteed solution is to wait it out. But it may embarrass them. And even if it does not, it will be satisfying to demonstrate how a good neighbor behaves.