He Poured Concrete for a New Walkway. Neighborhood Kids Added Handprints and Initials. He Smoothed it Over Again. One Mom is Angry He Ruined Memories. Was He Wrong?

He wanted to pour a new walkway from the end of their driveway (which terminates in their front yard by the sidewalk) around the house to their backyard, where they have a lovely little garden and gazebo. He is reaching out to the online community to see if he made a mistake. 

He says many young families are in his neighborhood, with young children, moms with strollers, and dads. The day he decided to pour the concrete, he saw kids come over to the wet concrete and stuff sticks and rocks into it. He also saw children carve their initials and add their palm prints. 

He wasn’t happy that they ruined the sidewalk. So he dug out the debris and then smoothed it over again. He then put up a sign saying, “Please do not disturb, drying.”

A mother, whom he is usually friendly with and often walks their dogs alongside each other, said that he was a “mean old curmudgeon” who was “ruining precious childhood memories for the kids.” The mom says the kids may have wanted to go back and look at their initials and palm prints one day and “reminisce.

He didn’t see who it was, but another parent took down his sign. He noticed it the next day lying in his yard by the birdbath, far away from where he had placed it. He is confused at the neighborhood’s reaction when this is his private property, and they aren’t his kids. 

He is reaching out to the online community to ask if he should have just let the children ruin his sidewalk to keep the neighbors happy. 

Several readers felt that the parents in the community, especially the mom, are acting entitled. 

“Tell the Mom in question that vandalizing other people’s property isn’t “making memories,” and there are plenty of plaster mold sets she can buy for that purpose. Ask her if you can spray graffiti all over the front of her house and require her to keep it so you can revisit old memories later.”

Some readers advised that he get a camera in case they try to do more damage than just remove his sign.

“Those people sound delusional and entitled. It’s your private property, and well within your rights to not be ok with kids messing up your work. Maybe look into getting a camera in case they decide to do more than just put a sign in your birdbath.”

Many also questioned what lesson they are teaching their children but behaving this way.

“And what is this teaching the kids? That it’s ok to mess up someone’s hard work. They want the memories, make them at home. Hell, buy a scrapbook.”

“The law calls it vandalism.”

Having hand/paw prints and names drawn into wet cement is a privilege only the people and pets living in the house get. If that mom wants to make some precious memories like that for her kids, she can dump some wet cement on her own property. Does she expect OP to let her kids come mark their heights on one of his door frames too?”

One reader thoroughly explained how this type of activity can actually ruin the concrete. 

  1. Concrete setting is an exothermic reaction (generates heat). This is why temperature controls are important when laying foundations because depending on the volume/type of concrete you can actually spoil it so it has to be redone (seriously, don’t order or lay concrete on a hot summer day)
  2. Even if it didn’t by writing in it/introducing foreign objects, the longevity is affected. By having raised/lowered parts, they erode faster, and those sticks/leaves will break/wash away much faster, leaving holes/divots.

What do you think? Should he have let the kids leave their initials, palm prints, and all in his cement? Should he approach the parents involved and tell them they were vandalizing his private property?

 This post came from the following thread

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