I'm so upset right now.
Background: My condo is in a two-family house. The guy who lives upstairs is perfection in a neighbor. He's great about stuff regarding the house, and he's become a friend. I feel very, very lucky to have such a good relationship with him.
The story: While my in-laws were here for the twins' birthday, they decided to do some yardwork. They wanted to weed, prune, and plant some flowers. Fine by me. The yard is pretty much my neighbor's domain, but I feel bad about not being more of a help with the work, so it seemed like a good deal to me.
Which is was, until my in-laws pulled up a bunch of my neighbor's plants and put other stuff in their place.
I've told them before (although it's true that I did not remind them on this visit) that my neighbor takes care of the yard and that he's planted things the way he likes them. My in-laws are allowed to add and clean up but not take away. In theory, they know this. Obviously, in practice, they forgot.
I had a distraught message from my neighbor letting me know how upset he was to see that many of his plants were gone. The plants were given to him by friends and family and have sentimental value. Now they are gone. Gone. I called an apologized tonight as soon as I got the message, but there's nothing to be done. My neighbor doesn't hold this against me, exactly, but I still feel so bad. I told him that we are dealing with people who threw away art that John and I had hanging on our walls, so to say that they don't respect other people's property is an understatement. There's just no excuse, and worse yet, no undoing what they did.
In the past when they've worked in the yard, we've had conversations like this:
In-Laws: "We want to move this bush."
Me: "That's my neighbor's bush. He planted it. You can't move it."
ILs: "But it needs more sun. That's a terrible spot for it."
Me: "That may be true, but we can' move it."
ILs (grudgingly): "Well, OK."
Then I have to watch them like a hawk to make sure they don't move the bush on the sly.
I just don't need this right now. It's just plants, but they really upset my neighbor, and in turn they upset me. I have such a raw empathy for the way my neighbor feels right now. My in-laws mean well, but it always comes out so wrong.