Monday, 10 December 2007

Complaints

I fielded my first complaint from a neighbour today. We've had a few before from our neighbour R directly below us. I usually sneak away when he comes to the door and leave David to deal with it. But as a result, I've made some compromises and I dont let the kids ride their plastic ride on toys inside the apartment anymore. Now this is a BIG compromise on my part as any mother will tell you that a ride on toy is worth its weight in gold for the amount of "putting your feet up, tea drinking time" it provides.

But given Jasper's propensity to scream hysterically at all hours of the night, I wasnt surprised when a woman stopped me in the lobby today and told me she wanted to speak to me. In fact, I must have sighed or rolled my eyes as she asked if I knew what it was about. She then proceeded to tell me she hears noise of chairs or something being pushed around morning, afternoon and night and she had complained to R's wife but they had told her it was us. Well, I told her I have two kids, one of whom is just learning to walk and run and likes to push things and I do my best, given the paper thin walls and floors in this building. I told her I was surprised she hears it at night as the kids go to bed at 7pm (which is pretty much unheard of for kids here). I started feeling like I was coming across too snarky so I apologized for the noise and said we didnt mean to disturb her and I would talk to my husband (what a great cop-out line that is!). She asked that we put something under the chairs as she has lost her husband and likes to sleep in the afternoons. Well, that got me! I felt like telling her how little sleep I got last night (and every night before that) and that I could very well do with an afternoon kip myself but I wrapped it up before I could say anything bad and said goodbye.

David thinks it must be the noise of Lily running on her heels as despite our floors he doesnt think the chair pushing would be heard two floors below. And he has changed his conciliatory tone and now is behaving more like his Dad who fielded more than his share of noise complaints from their neighbours in Switzerland years ago. The problem is we live in a building full of oldies who like nothing more than having a whinge. If only we could get a family of 4 kids underneath us like they eventually did in Switzerland, it would solve all our problems. Still, I came away thinking that I'd understood all of what she'd said and even stood up for myself a bit so I've chalked it up as good french practice!

6 comments:

Guera said...

Good on you for standing up for yourself, and in French! I keep wondering if our neighbours are going to complain about all the noise our girls make, but then I practice my retort about how it's not very considerate for their teenage children to sit in their cars right outside our house with the doors open, stereo blaring and talking loudly at 1am.

JP said...

Wow two floors, there is no way that could be your noise. But good for you, I would have never been able to handle that conversation in French. I have the lucky advantage of living in a building with only two apartments and the other is a small family above me. So I hear their chairs moving, but honestly don't care because I know it ends early when the kid heads to bed. I just hope they don't complain to me about my noise, ever, or I would go running.

Destination Metz said...

Gah, what an old bag! Pay her no heed!

Rosebank Magic said...

Perhaps she should be pitied. It sounds as though not only has she lost her husband (I wonder where she lost him?)but she doesn't have any grandchildren either.

frenchforawhile said...

High marks for you today. Those can ben tricky waters.

Rupal said...

Good for you for not copping out with the "je ne parle pas francais" line like I would have done! We live in an apt as well, and despite the concrete being thick enough to prevent our cordless phone from working in certain rooms, we have no problems hearing our neighbors below us and vice versa (i am sure). They have a child Asha´s age and some nights at 3 a.m. I am awoken by his crying thinking it is Asha - it gets quite confusing. But they are kids - what can you do? I hope you get some other families with young kids to move in soon!

standing up for yourself