For now we live in a rented three-bedroom apartment on the top of a six-storey building. All the buildings in our neighbourhood are six-storey apartments. They’re full of families. The architecture and demographics go a long way to explaining why the playgrounds are so freaking fabulous. And while I cheer enthusiastically for the built form and the density and the modal split and the picturesque figure grounds, I find myself struggling to look after two small children so far from the ground.
We’ve now had three noise complaints from our downstairs neighbour. At first I was very apologetic and spent a great deal of my daily worrying allotment on keeping the kids quiet. I even resorted to clothes-over-pajamas excursions to the park to burn off early-morning energy (ok, I did that once). I started to really miss our Toronto house where I can open the back door and release the hounds while sipping my tea.
A few days ago our neighbour knocked on our door for the third time, claiming that it sounded as though her ceilings were caving in. I looked behind me at Malli, dressed for success in a button-up shirt and quilted underwear, and thought, screw it. Sorry, lady but they’re kids. They run. They pitter-patter. They hadn’t been shrieking or jumping; one of them had simply been trotting from bedroom to living room collecting something or depositing something or otherwise engaging himself in a quiet yet mobile game. I won’t be spending any more of my daily worrying allotment on that particular neighbour.
However, apartment living presents other challenges. In this case it’s not the apartment that’s the problem, it’s the fact that the apartment, and its furnishings, are rented. When they break stuff, it’s not ours.
I know that when we’re drinking wine and chatting with friends and not being bothered by the children, it’s a bad sign. I know that, and yet I continue to sip my wine and chat with my friends because damn it, I want to, and maybe, just maybe, the kids are putting their dolls to sleep or folding laundry or teaching themselves algebra. No no, no. They’re drawing on our rented wall.
At least they tried to clean it up when they saw my look of horror…
…which made it worse.
We’ll be learning how to ask for “high-hide flat acrylic latex interior white paint” in German. The living room rug was given a similar treatment and can’t be painted. I’m wondering about scrubbing it in the bathtub.