In September 2015, my partner and I moved to Sydney’s Inner West. He could walk to work, my drive to work would be shorter or I could even catch the train. (I did for two days.) It was such a great idea.
We moved into a large two bedroom apartment on the third floor. Up 46 steps to be exact, my friend counted. At the time I did not realise I was pregnant. The move went well and I was happily unpacking boxes. The windows were open, a nice breeze was coming through the apartment.
Then I smelt it……smoke. Ewwwww gross, right? On our side of the apartment block there were six units including ours. It turned out the neighbours in the other five units all smoked. Every single one of them.
No worries, I can keep the windows shut. Why can I still smell smoke? Why is it coming from the front door?
They smoked in the stairwell too. (If Bub has any future health problems I am blaming second-hand smoke.) If smoke was the only problem I could probably handle it. There was another issue, however, that was noise.
We moved during the school holidays so I was home during the weekdays. A day after we moved in I was on the computer playing Chocolatier. (I love chocolate. We had no internet. I was desperate.) My chocolate empire creation was interrupted by loud dance music. Suddenly my apartment had become a club. At first I embraced it. I got up and danced to the beats, feeling the vibrations under my feet. After 15 minutes I was tired and wanted the music to stop. It did two hours later.
A few nights after, I was in bed early. It was the last night of school holidays and I had to return to work the next day. I was feeling anxious about that so was having trouble sleeping. At 10.30pm I had just dozed off when I was rudely awakened with the sounds of someone starting a movie. That is funny, my partner is in bed next to me, why can I hear a movie?
It turned out those wonderful, raving neighbours downstairs also had a surround sound TV system and they were going to use it to watch a long, loud action movie. That’s ok, it will end eventually… maybe the vibrations will rock me to sleep.
At 12am the movie was still going and I was losing my shit. I got up, got dressed and marched downstairs. I knocked on their door. The movie stopped but no one answered. I knocked again and after three more attempts Creepy Dude opened his door a fraction. I smiled and put on the sweetest voice possible. “Hello, I’m your new neighbour from upstairs, would you mind turning your TV down?” They said yes. I went back upstairs ready for my peaceful slumber. My head hit the pillow and the movie started again. It was even louder.
Eventually, my (normally extremely chilled) partner cracked it. He stormed downstairs, banged on their door. “Turn it down or I will call the police!” I heard him yell. I have never been so impressed with him in my life. He was my hero. The neighbours must have been scared of him because the sound stopped and I did get to sleep. We never heard from them again.
About once a week they would make these incredibly deranged moaning type noises. Normally at 3am. The first time we heard it, we had no clue what was going on. Was someone getting tortured to death? Should I go and check they are OK? We came to the assumption they must be having crazy sex and be ice addicts. There was no other logical explanation. Those noises started up one peaceful Sunday during the day. The people in the apartment block next to ours started to imitate them from their balcony. This only seemed to encourage my neighbours though.
I really wanted to move out but my partner wanted to wait. It wasn’t a great time to move. He had a sudden change of heart a few weeks later when he actually caught the stairwell smoker in the act. “What are you doing? Do you know my wife is pregnant?”. “Sorry,” they said. (They were not sorry, they did it every second day and they had seen my struggling up the stairs before.) I am so glad this happened though because we got our act together, we broke our lease and moved the hell out of there, far, far away.
Three days before we moved out. The police knocked on our door. They wanted to know if we had seen the neighbours across the hall and if we did, we had to call the police. They left their business card. Awesome. We never saw those neighbours, so never had to call the police.
That is something for the people who moved into our unit after us to deal with. I wonder how long those people managed to last.
If you enjoyed my story, please like me on Facebook for more.