Sunday, December 11, 2011


The shoe is not a Christmas Present. Based on behaviour  - it's lumps of coal FOR ALL!!

See that picture above?  That’s our new Christmas Tree.  We don’t own this Christmas tree. That’s not our fake snow on the leaves.  No, this belongs to our new neighbours who, upon hearing we didn’t own one, said they had a spare.  It’s not ours to keep, just to borrow.

Then, tonight, I got home from work and Phil told me that our other neighbours, the ones that have children of similar ages, were cooking Pizza and asked us to get involved.  At first, I’ll admit I was all, ‘Jesus, I’ve just walked in the door, where are my children and do I really have to speak with anybody after 8 hours of non-stop talking’. But then I went outside and into the courtyard. And laughed and saw our other lovely neighbour who gave us the tree.  Now either a) we are being Punk’d b) are on the Truman Show or c) we just really have top neighbours. 

We had great neighbours in Queensland, still consider them all to be great friends, but we were a lot slower to move into each other’s lives up there.  This may have been due to the fact that initially, I may have come across as a little bit of a lunatic.  Maybe. 

The house we bought was old.  Nearly 50 years old in fact.  I’ve written about renovating the Money Pit Here and Here.  When we first moved in, Jack, now 5, was around 6 months old.  We had just finished a 7 week stint of living with my in-laws between settlements.  To put it mildly, for the first time in my life, I was an emotional fucking wreck. New baby, two solid months of passive aggressive, yet ultimately well meaning remarks, moving away from my friends  and the realisation that we had taken on a renovation job much bigger than we could probably actually handle or afford, and I wasn’t at my best. I was actually probably at my worst.

So, two days in, I was cleaning up a little.  We had put new floor boards in and I was sweeping them when Jack started to cry.  I placed the broom up against the wall, picked him up and went to open the window.  That’s when the window started to fall out. And then the broom started to fall onto the new floorboards.  There I was, baby in one arm, holding onto a heavy window  with the other and with a foot extended, trying to save the broom from hitting the ‘new floorboards’ when Phil walked around the corner and suggested ‘Babe, you really shouldn’t leave the broom on the floor, it will scratch the new floorboards.’  I’m sorry?  What. Did. You. Just. Say?

That’s when, very uncharacteristically, I somewhat lost my shit.  I yelled and screamed and told him to politely go fuck himself.  And all of the past 2-3 months worth of tensions that had been simmering, the fears, the sadness, the anger, everything escaped at full volume, straight out our window that was now sitting on the ground outside out of our house.  Right into our new neighbours realm of hearing. I remember looking out the window and seeing them staring back at us. And I waved. And they awkwardly waved back and then they hightailed it up their front stairs. 

So it was a long time until they talked to us. I mean, we looked like *that* feral family. I would have avoided me too.  But eventually, we were cool. I think it started with them needing plumbing work done. Then it progressed to us being asked to one of their children’s birthday parties where I turned up hideously hungover from the night before.  I knew Judgy McJudygy was sitting there silently judging me, but this is where we met our other neighbours who were very impressed with my ability to eat 4 sausages on bread and chase it up with 5 green frog cupcakes.  A firm friendship was made from that day. 

So here, at the now defunct lunatic Aysylum which I will write about shortly, we have been embraced, sometimes claustrophobically so.  They are giving us stuff, inviting us places and feeding our children who seem to be continuously over at their house. And while I struggle to feel at ease with this, perhaps it’s just the way it is here.  Maybe it’s the way it should be.  Old School. It's me who needs to embrace it.

Are you friends with your neighbours?  Did it take a while or was it instantaneous?


~~Kallie~~ said...

I can't recall being friends with any neighbors in te last 28 years. I always know them but haven't moved next door o anyone with similar aged kids or around my age. I'd really like to have neighbors I couldbe friends with one day...

Mum on the Run said...

It's a beautiful thing - close neighbours.
And occasionally it's a pain in the butt.

Our little cul de sac are very close. It's taken a few years though - and I had to overcome a bit of my control freaky ways to go with the flow more.
To be cool with Hubby drinking on the lawn when he was supposed to be mowing it, to be ok with every child and their (toy) dog jumping on our trampoline when my son is supposed to be napping...

The pros far outweigh the cons though.
There's no shortage of company around here, it's wine o'clock in someone's kitchen every evening and locking yourself out (again) isn't half as painful.

Sounds like you've got some great ones there.

twitchy said...

Our across-the-road neighbours are lovely. the most genuine people you could ever hope to meet. My daughter gets spoilt like royalty with attention and sweets whenever she visits. Lately she's been telling me she'd like to move in with them, because she says they're nicer than us. Thank you very much.

Ms Styling You said...

I live next door to Veggie Mama. Best neighbour in the world (not just because she bakes nice stuff too).

Diminishing Lucy said...

Ours is a mixed bag.

If it's any consolation, we moved into the 70's monstrosity when Lexie was 6 months old, Charlie was 18 months and Oivia was not even 3. With a huge mortgage and a new business. I morbidly obese and suffering from PND. Andrew was smoking 40 a day & talking on the phone loudly a lot.

That any of our mixed bag of neighbours can even meet my eye after some of the shit they heard is a mark of the nice folk they are.


Wanderlust said...

I do have good neighbors but it wasn't until my husband moved out that I got to know them. We'd lived there for 8 years. But when he left, they all appeared from the woodwork and really embraced and supported me (word had gotten around, as it will, of what went down in our house). Now they have my back. They show up to mow my lawn and clear snow from my driveway. They are awesome!

In Real Life said...

I don't really know my neighbours, we moved into an older neighbourhood, and all the neighbours are of retirement age and we were a family with young children, 4 and 2.5 at the time. They weren't a friendly, grandparentish-type crowd! We've been here 7 years now, and still only exchange curt nods, upon encountering each other. I sure can't compete with how frequently they mow their lawns, or how quickly they are outside shovelling after a snowfall!

Jessica Webb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

I hate my neighbours.

And the ones before.

And we have not had a friendly set of neighbours since Boo was born, cause having a kid to screams cause he is happy and likes to stay up all night playing salsa music kinda freaks people out.

I am a little jealous of you right now.

MaidInAustralia said...

I've had a couple of good neighbours in the past. But in recent times, mostly neighbours seem to be anonymous. And where the kids make friends, the neighbourhood kids always seem to come to MY place. And need food and drink and entertainment and make a mess at MY place. The neighbours never don't repay the favour.
I would like to get to know my neighbours better and to have some I trust to look after the pets when I'm away, to repay the favour when they are away, and to trust if my kids do occasionally want to go to their place. And while I welcome kids at my place sometimes, I don't want it to be every freaking day, especially when it is not reciprocated.
Your new neighbours sound awesome!