Thunder Down Under


We live in an apartment complex. As would be expected there are pros and cons to this.

We do not have to mow our grass – PRO.

We have a private entry – PRO.

Maintenance will come fix a problem if we need them – PRO.

Maintenance costs $50 if your disaster happens after 5pm – CON.

Our balcony/deck is rather small – CON.

We have 20ft. ceilings in our livingroom – PRO.

We put our garbage in a dumpster for someone else to deal with – PRO.

I don’t have a yard to decorate or plant flowers in – CON.

I have nowhere to plant a garden – CON.

But….all of these pretty much balance each other out. Gain a few things, give up a few things – it’s okay. But there is one thing that tips the scale – one item that carries more weight than all the others – one thing that I find both wildly irritating and disturbingly fascinating at the same time – one major CON…..

The downstairs neighbors. We live in an upstairs unit. We’re on the end, in the corner and that part is nice. We have almost 1500 square feet, a big kitchen, a loft….we like it. I’m just not so crazy about what’s beneath us.

I have begun to really monitor my use of “dysfunctional” in relation to families because I’ve come to realize that to some degree we are all dysfunctional. Even the most mundane, ordinary, traditional families have some element of dysfunction. So I will just say that the folks living beneath us seem to have some “challenges” in the family sphere. Again, I have learned to not judge because being a parent myself has taught me that parenting is not an easy job, especially not when it involves teenagers. For about 10 years it seems that the sweet, cuddly, happy child you brought home from the hospital turns into a raging, angry, hormonal, screaming devil-child. And one of those lives beneath us. And it’s a girl version.

At 6am the she-devil cranks up the surround sound on whatever the mornings dance music channel of choice is and allows us to enjoy not only the incessant beat but also a gentle foot massage from the reverberating floor boards. Then about an hour later we get to practice our earthquake drills when she leaves for high school and slams her front door. It’s blissfully quiet during the day, well at least the weekday, until around 2pm….or sometimes around noon if she skips out of school early. By now I no longer run for shelter in the bathtub every afternoon when the door slam signals her arrival, but I have reinforced the art on the walls with sturdier hanging mechanisms. For the rest of the evening we get to enjoy continual foot massages – it’s amazing how much zing you get from the carpet! This usually lasts until around 11pm and is sometimes broken up by bits of incoherent screaming that I believe only my dog could interpret. The scary part is that I’m never sure if it’s the she-devil child or the parental figure doing the screaming.

It’s an interesting thing being able hear bits and pieces of other people’s lives. It makes me self-conscious if things get loud in our place. Even if it’s fun loud – I still tend to worry about others being able to listen in.

I love our apartment. It’s really nice and big and it suits us perfectly right now. But I have to admit, I don’t think I’ll miss the thunder from down under when the day comes that we find a quiet little house that’s just for us.


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