Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Problem with Neighbors
Towards the end of 2010, my delightful neighbor Victoria moved out. For the next two weeks there was the incessant noise of building teams replacing the roof, the decking and other general repairs. It drove me mad but I put up with it (except for the loud and violent swearing in which case I had to speak up).
Shortly after a new family moved in. Now this house is owned by a different person to the person who owns mine so apparently different rule applied.
They moved in with their chooks and ducks which make their noise consistently during daylight hours. They moved in their dog which likes to bark whenever they leave the house or at random hours of the day and night (especially the night). I can put up with all of these with varying degrees of patience.
What is increasingly driving me up the wall with insanity is their 20 month old child. Again I can put up with random crying, and continual calls of "dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad". What I cannot handle anymore is the high pitched squealing (not screaming, squealing like the noise that pigs make) which I have timed at occurring approximately 20 minutes out of every daylight hour. This squealing is done to get attention, if the child doesn't get his way, if he is happy .... well for any number of reasons really. And I would be lucky to hear either of his parents call him on it once a week! It is like fingernails down the chalkboard and I can't take it anymore.
Now overall I would regard the parents as being good parents, they spend a lot of one-on-one time with him, they actively and creatively play with him. He always appears clean and well fed. So in no way am I thinking that he is being mistreated - he just has a particularly unsocial skill.
I have spent months thinking about what to do. Being pretty much housebound I can't really go out every day. Nor can I move - and yes I have investigated. But apart from the actual costs of moving, this is one of the rare one storey places in town - and stairs aren't an option - especially in my price bracket. I have thought and thought and asked the advice of everyone I know but there doesn't appear to be any practical suggestions.
I admit I had a bad night and today isn't a whole lot better but he just started up again. I responded with a "stop squealing" which was only said at a volume slightly above a speaking voice (our windows align which makes the problem worse on my side). Miraculously there is silence!!!
I am split between guilt for possibly offending the father who is home at the moment, and for "disciplining" someone else's child and reveling in the space and quiet. I don't want to be a lousy neighbor - but I don't want to live next door to one either. Time will tell .... but I am always open to other alternatives.
Image: "neighbors" by estefannia