Noisy Neighbours

Like them or not they are there, you are stuck with them. At 6am when you think it is safe to run outside in your knickers to sneak the bins out, rest assured one of them will be there to greet your less than glamorous ‘bed head’. When your toddler is hitting you in the driveway, and you finally lose it and shout back like the psycho mums on A Current Affair, there they are again. Like annoying little fleas those pesky neighbours will be there to catch you in your moment of glory. Sometimes it is from these fleeting glimpses that opinions are formed about the people we live beside.

 

For some of you, the word pesky would not spring to mind when describing your neighbours. In many streets and neighbourhoods across the world, your fence friends have been promoted to your greatest friends. My very first neighbours from our childhood home, are just that. They have attended our weddings, collected our mail, eaten with us, loved with us and have cried with us. As our lives have taken twists and turns we still remain part of each other’s story.

 

On moving into my own little family’s first home, I too had high hopes for long lasting relationships, fun times and idle chit chat with wonderful neighbours.  Instead we got  the Canadians (x 2), Mr Jopeck the Body Corporate Rebel, Nasty Bitter Evil Widow and her resident 40 year old virgin, and our personal favourite, the Promiscuous woman next door who we have affectionately nicknamed ‘sheets’. After several failed and unreciprocated attempts at friendliness, I have given up on ever actually getting to know them, and am happy to make up our own stories.

 

Let’s start with the Canadians. They were excitable, friendly young students attending the local university. They presented themselves unexpectedly at my screen door one day while I was vacuuming in my undies (yes I seem to do a lot in my undies) After the initial embarrassment I let them in and we had a cuppa and a chat. Though young and worlds apart, they were lovely and definitely wave worthy. That was until one crazy wild night one of them left her bedroom window wide open and treated us all to an Oscar winning performance with her boyfriend as the best supporting actor. At first I thought it was a cat fight, but when a male cat answered back in a Canadian accent we knew we were in for a long night. I could never look at her in the same way again. Luckily they moved shortly after as I did fear years of avoiding eye contact.

 

Next it was ‘Sheets’. Shortly after moving in we noticed this woman had a large number of male visitors. Sometimes they would miss each other by a matter of minutes. It was after one particularly ‘busy’ weekend that we came home to find her bedroom sheets hung to dry over the front fence, of course we made our own conclusions. Hence the name sheets. For all we know she was just doing a bit of washing, but our story was far more exciting.

 

Mr Jopeck is an older gentlemen who lives three doors down with his much younger asian bride. For all we know they could have been childhood sweethearts who had met in Sydney, but after walking past the window on several occasions and catching sight of Mrs Jopeck giving him a foot massage we have decided that the massage was perhaps part of the arrangement. Both fabulous neighbours. It just so happens Mr Jopeck enjoys a fighting the good fight with the Body Corporate, who are constantly trying to take him to court for placing vulgar looking homemade structures on his balcony.

 

Then there is Nasty Bitter Evil Widow and her resident 40 year old virgin daughter. I had not even met these two little characters until we were looking after my brother’s dog for a few weeks at Christmas time. The dog had only been at the house for a week when we received a hand written letter saying”

 

Your dog is making my life a noisy nightmare!’

 

I was willing to let this ride, but there was something about the aggression of the included Exclamation Mark that saw me marching down to their house for a confrontation. Despite the dog never being left outside apparently our dog was making her daughter’s life a noisy nightmare. Her daughter would be in her late forties, never married and still living at home. She did have a boyfriend for a little while, but last we heard her chasing him down the driveway shouting at him for calling her fat and looking at the boobs of the skinny ladies at the beach. One would suggest that perhaps if she stopped writing nasty notes and being horrible that she might be living with her boyfriend instead of her mum.

The one danger in allocating people private nicknames is that one day you are bound to let it slip out at the wrong time. We nicknamed my father in laws friend ‘Burgundy John’ because every time we saw him had had treated himself to a home colouring hair treatment which always developed into a pinkish burgundy colour. He thought he looked fabulous and that it made him look years younger. His opinion is probably all that mattered, but a 60 year old man walking around with pink hair cannot go un-nicknamed. The only problem was after years of calling him ‘Burgundy’ behind his back, we became too comfortable and had even forgotten what his actual name was. We had a major slip up one afternoon and addressed him as ‘Burgundy’ to his face. After some initial confusion and major backtracking, we managed to weasel our way out of it.

Last night we became those ‘Noisy Neighbours’ for the second time this year. Before you let your imagination’s run wild, our ‘noise’ was accidental and most unexpected. We had a knock at the door at 3:30am asking us to turn our music off. In our dazed and confused slumber, we were informed that our garage door was left open and the radio had been blasting throughout our little neighbourhood after turning on via a timer.

 So as I sit here and type someone close by is most definitely referring to us with our own nasty little nickname.   I would be quite happy if it was something along the lines of those ‘Noisy People from number 16’. But something tells me it may have more to do with showing my saggy bum a few too many times!

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Sunsets and Stop signs

I have written before about my great belief in signs. Not ‘Stop’ signs or ‘wet floor’ signs but the kind of signs we receive when we are in need of a sharp nudge in the right direction. Sometimes the bustle of life blurs our vision. Suddenly we stop, take a breath and realize with some degree of shame, that we have allowed our wants to become our ‘needs’. Suddenly we have placed great importance on the insignificant things and insignificant people that grace our lives and have drifted away from the important things that should be occupying pole position in our brains, and no people! Big Brother should not be classified as an important person in your lives.

Tonight while putting the boys to bed on my own, feeling sorry for myself because my husband is away (again), I caught the end of a story about the N.S.W bushfires. If I’m completely honest these ‘disaster’ stories usually wash straight over me. Of course I sympathize with the victims and have a fleeting moment of sadness but with the fast pace of life, we tend to wake the next day in our blessed little existence to have already forgotten about the misfortune of those around us. I wake again with the boys and myself  as number one priority. But something about tonight hit me like a tonne of bricks

As I sit internally screaming out for a fleeting break from my life, another mother cries. Today she lost her home at the hands of the fires. This alone is a devastating blow, but rewind just six short months ago and she was also burying her husband, the father of her boys. Today she didn’t just lose a fixture or a fitting but the last tangible memories she held of their late father. Today they sift through the ashes to find something, anything at all, still intact to remind them of the man that bound them as a family. The thing that struck me most was her relief at finding a small fragment of his urn in the ashes. In the midst of her nightmare, it wasn’t the car, the designer clothes, the fancy furniture, or the ‘good cutlery’ that she saved for a rainy day that mattered. All that mattered were her memories and the people she loved. She would gladly have traded it all in for just one more moment with her husband, her friend, the father of her children.

While packing a small bag of essentials for myself and the boys to take on a recent weekend trip, I realized my world was in this bag.  The word ‘essentials’ said it all. Everything that mattered to me, to my family could be neatly packed into a backpack. Food, water, clothes and us (maybe also lipgloss). Whilst my husband was of course not inside our backpack, we were travelling to meet him, and when we arrived at our destination, our backpack would be complete.  It made me question why it is that we choose to surround ourselves with so much crap, when all we really need to survive is each other.

At the end of a crappy day when the sun dips into the sea (or at least it did when we lived in the Southern states) What is it that you keep in your heart, who is it that you hold on to and pray is still there when the sun comes back in the morning?

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Cheers to Friday and Hairy Big Toes

As it is Fun Friday I wanted to celebrate like the working people do, I thought I would give you the Top 9 comments from my second day back at work. I have started doing a few relief days here and there, which I am absolutely loving. Just enough to remember I am human and that the empty parking space between my ears was previously occupied by brains and qualifications, but few enough to realize my heart is home with my boys, Larry Emdur and Ready, Steady, Cook.

So here they are Drum Roll…………………………………….

  1. She’s copying my turtle.
  1. I can’t see. (Thought she couldn’t see the board, but actually no…she really couldn’t see, the downside of the supply teacher…not knowing the children)
  1. ‘Josh farted”

(Yes, thank you so much Josh. I had already discovered this after walking    straight into it. Really felt like it was in my mouth, like only a child’s fart can be. What the hell do these little humans eat?)

  1. ‘Can I go to the toilet?’

‘No, you just had lunch’.

‘But I’m busting.

‘Okay, go quickly’. (I really wonder what I expect from children when I say       silly things like ‘Go quickly’. Do I want them to push harder? Or just run to the toilet quicker?)

  1. Child returns from the toilet ten minutes later. ‘You took a very long time Jack, where have you been?

‘It was a poo, not a wee’. (enough said Jack…won’t ask that again)

  1. Nicolas tried to wee on me. (What is it with little boys and mucking around in the toilet? Actually come to think of it, men continue to do this well into their thirties)
  1. Are you married?
  1. Do you want to come to my birthday party? It’s on Sunday, there will be lots of other old people there, but you can’t have cake because my mum has already made it and it won’t be big enough.
  1. Your big toe is hairy. (My personal favourite)

This is why I adore working with our little people. Never a dull moment, honest, raw and innocent. You cry with them, you laugh with them and then you catch headlice from them. If you’re feeling fat, they’ll confirm it for you, If you think you’re funny, they’ll change your mind, If you’re feeling sad they’ll rub your back and hug your leg.

I love Year One!

Have A Great Weekend :0

NB: It isn’t really my toe in the picture, but I was quite horrified to find when searching google for ‘hairy toe images’ an actual link for ‘ The best hairy toe websites’ ????????

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Treetop Terrorists

Well it’s official, I am being bullied by a bird. For the past 3 weeks I have been held to ransom by a group of local ‘terrorists’. Here in this sunny Gold Coast suburb, we fear for our eyeballs, our ears and let’s get dramatic here… our lives (insert Bold & Beautiful music). Walking alone is no longer safe.  Bike riding is no longer a leisure activity but a high speed dance with the devil. Runners beware, we are the primary targets.

No, I am not referring to our well- publicized ‘Bikie Wars’. The Bandidos and Hells Angels have nothing on these guys. Then who is responsible for these highly sophisticated attacks? Magpies! Horrible, pointy, scratchy, beady, little, evil eyed magpies. These black and white birds are reducing grown men to little huddling balls of fear. I hate Magpies. Come to think of it, I actually hate all birds, I have never trusted them. Maybe it was that terrible horror film ‘Birds’ or maybe just a bad experience at Trafalgar Square as a child,  but I swear when I am alone with a bird I can hear them laughing at me, like they know something I don’t.

Any runner will share my terror. Instead of enjoying my daily jaunt, I have become a hostage. I even found myself trying to quietly creep past them the other morning just so I didn’t wake them up.  It didn’t work…there he was glaring at me from his letterbox, ready to peck my eyes out. How did he know I was there? Does he watch me sleeping? Do they make binoculars for birds? Do Magpies have IPhones? Is there a human GPS App that we are unaware of?

My heart starting to pound, I knew I couldn’t out run him, I had seen too many failed attempts to think I could get away un-swooped. On three separate occasions I had witnessed others being attacked and the coward in me had secretly thought…better them than me! Although from the safety of my car, I did pull over once and ask if I could help a young boy who was being pecked to death, clearly a veteran in this area he replied with an eery calmness ‘No it’s okay, I just need to look him in the eye, I’ll be fine’. This advice from the day before had stayed with me, so that’s exactly what I did. I felt utterly ridiculous, but I turned my body around, faced up to my attacker and stared him out as I ran backwards all the way home.

I always thought people running with silly plastic spoke hats were fools, and now I’m wondering where it is I can purchase them. Next time I run I will be prepared. I will wear my 3 year old son’s hideous dinosaur hat, fully decked out with a Stegosaurus spines on the top. A fool I will look…..a hostage I will not be. Me 1- Magpies 0

On a positive note, my split times are at an all-time low, but this I am sure is only because I’m literally running for my life!

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