And it always happens on those nights when you’re never expecting company.
It started like this: We didn’t really have neighbors on one side of our house when we moved in. Which pretty much rocked, because that meant the only other neighbor connected to us was all we had to deal with. And those neighbors are the best. They’re a nice, young couple with two dogs and just had a baby–and they never make a peep. Perfect, right?
Well, then one day some neighbors finally did move into the other side. I was nervous, what with my sleeping so much during the day and there being the possibility of them being in a KISS Memorial band or something. But they weren’t. It was just one middle-aged dude. Who was usually kind of bummed out because he’d just gotten a divorce. He played guitar really late one night and I finally asked him to turn it down–he was so contrite, I never heard it again.
Then last month he told me that he’d gotten a job in Alaska, and because he was running out mid-lease, he asked me to call his landlord if he knew of any one who might want to move in short notice. I took down her number and he left pretty much the next day.
Now, I did actually have friends who were interested in the place–but they weren’t quite ready to take the leap. So in the meantime, I heard whispers that the landlord would be moving her brother and his girlfriend in short notice.
I met him twice. He was shirtless, smoking a ciggerate on his front porch. I met his girlfriend too, they both looked like they were around my age, maybe a bit younger and that’s all there really is to say about them at this point.
It took me a few more days to learn about them. Like that one of them had a motorcycle. And that being shirtless and smoking on the front porch was going to become a daily thing, where I would have to walk through a cloud of smoke every time I went to walk the dog. Fun.
But whatever, right? They’ve got a right to their space and if they want to walk around butt-ass naked and smoke cigars I’m not going to knock them for it.
What I’m going to knock them for is the fighting. And oh lordy, was there fighting.
Fighting between the landlord and the brother.
Fighting between the brother and the girlfriend.
Fighting between the girlfriend and the landlord.
Fighting between the landlord and the mom.
All of this, of course, usually took place right outside, on the front porch.
Which was super awkward because it felt like every time I went to take out Happy I had to awkwardly sneak out without looking like I was eavesdropping. ( I was.)
But even the fighting on the front porch didn’t really bother R.J and I. In fact, I think we were just kind of amused. Who has screaming matches on their front porch in a neighborhood like this? Are they not aware that there are like sixteen other units in immediate hearing-area?
No. What bothered us was the fights at night. The kind that we could hear through our connecting wall that seemed to get progressively more violent throughout the past week. Until one night, R.J and I were eating dinner in the living room and we muted the TV. The screaming was loud. You could hear things being thrown and what sounded like someone slamming a fist into our adjacent wall.
“Well, geez.” I said. “Do you think we should call the police?”
“Nah,” R.J said, “They’ll probably stop soon.”
But they didn’t. In fact, the fighting went on for hours and then at one in the morning, there was a knock on the door. I jumped–and looked at R.J who was sitting in his boxers.
“You have to put on some clothes, I don’t want to answer that alone.”
The knocking on the door became more frantic so while R.J was upstairs throwing on some pants I tentatively opened the door.
There was a little girl standing there in her school uniform. “Can I borrow your phone?” she asked.
“Uh–one sec.” I said, and closed the door, because, like, there could have been an axe murderer behind her. As soon as R.J was half-way down the stairs I swung the door back open.
“What’s going on, hun? What do you need the phone for?”
And with a totally dead-pan, eight-year-old face she said, “My mommy’s boyfriend is choking her. She asked me to bring her a phone.”
And so we quickly ushered her into the apartment and locked the door in case our psycho neighbor came to find her and hopped on the phone with 911.
Happy then proceeded to maul her while I tried to get some more information from her for the police and R.J kept a lookout at the door. And as a suprise to no one, the shirtless, pissed off neighbor came a-knocking on a door five minutes later and fell all over himself shouting, “Don’t call the police.”
As we were on the phone with the police.
Because I would call the police on much less than this. Don’t even test me, bro. There’s a kid here.
“Did you call the police?” He asked again.
“We’re on the phone with the police. They can hear everything you’re saying.”
“Oh, well, shit. We were just having a fight.”
“She said you were choking her mom?”
And then the mother came running out of the apartment, clutching her throat, panting, wild-eyed, reached into the apartment and snatched her daughter out and said, “Don’t call the police!”
“They already called the police.”
But she was already rushing her back into the apartment.
“We were just having a fight–she was trying to text her ex-boyfriend so I took the phone away from her…” he said, pacing on our porch as if that totally cleared up the situation and was perfectly logical. Then he went back into his apartment and R.J and finished up with the police.
I’m actually pretty sure the police didn’t come that night, because we live on the border of two counties and they often fight over who gets dispatched out.
Anyways, I think the thing that worried me most was that this kid was in her school uniform at 1:00AM instead of pajamas. And I guess also the fact that there are no walls in our one bedroom LOFT apartments in this unit and there’s no privacy–so where exactly was this kid supposed to be while this dude is punching a hole through the wall?
Think that was the worst part of my week? You’d be wrong.
Here’s what came next:
1. My washing machine broke.
(And in other news: I need a pedicure.)
2. Had an epic girls night by myself.
3. Happy revealed to us on Wednesday evening at around 10:45 that he was COVERED in fleas. SO GROSS. So I ran to Target and in a thoughtless panic, bought $60 worth of flea products…
We ended up giving him a flea bath as soon as I got home.
He wasn’t thrilled, but even less thrilled when, the next morning when–after R.J and I had bagged up every piece of clothing, towel, blanket, comforter, and table cloth in the house–I dropped him off at the groomers for a complete shave a flea bath. Took the first half of clothes to the laundry mat where it cost me $72.00 to have it all cleaned and de-flea’d.
Then did the other half of the laundry myself, scrubbed, vaccumed, and poisoned my house from top to bottom for several hours.
Then finally went to pick up some dog beds ($20) to replace the ones I had to trash completely before picking up Happy from the groomer (another $70.)
So the entire incident ended up costing me about $222.00.
But I guess it’s worth it to know that there aren’t tiny fucking insects climbing my walls.
Here’s what our room looked like when everything was over.
Then I fell asleep at 7:30 and even though R.J brought me chinese food, I still didn’t wake up until like 6AM this morning.
Bad neighbors + Fleas? Not cool.