It's not the neighbours with the dogs you have to worry about, nor the young ones with multiple vehicles which often means regular, late night, weekend partying.
No. It's the neighbours with the small children you should fear.
Recently, I spotted a small article in our local newspaper.
In the UK, neighbours had complained to their local council about the continual and excessive volume of noise whenever a particular toddler was playing outside in his backyard.
And, as a result, the Council was obligated to investigate and respond to the complaint.
They warned that, should the noise continue, they would have no choice but to install a meter to measure the level of noise created by the toddler, and if it was found to breech the noise levels as set out by the local council, then the parents would be fined. FINED. Fined because of their toddler being very loud when he played outside in his yard.
I had a bit of a snort/laugh at this, because I have regularly joked about how my feral threesome have probably devalued properties within a 2 block radius, on account of their constant and excessive noise levels, and my own corresponding constant and excessive ranty-yelling noise levels.
I feel for my neighbours to the one side. They’re lovely, retired, exceptionally quiet people. You’d never even know if they were home or not. In fact, they've gradually reduced the amount of time they're in residence since they first moved in a couple of years ago. I fear my kids have caused irreparable damage to their eardrums, and being the lovely types they are, they simply go away rather than complain to us. Or our local council.
I don’t feel for my neighbour in front. That’s #1 Brother. He gets occasional dodgy ironing, and semi-regular meals in return for putting up with the noise and uninvited visitors. And I ignore his constant threats to electrify his front door if I keep allowing toddler invasions of his man cave.
The neighbour in front of him (we’re the back of 3 town houses), well she passed away recently. She was a lovely lady, who will be sorely missed. And not just because she made us all look good with her mega gardening prowess. She was a (literally) built-in neighbourhood watch service, and regular pet-minder whenever we went away. But mostly, she was so lovely that she genuinely claimed to have never ever heard a peep out of our kids, or - most importantly - my own yelling and admonishing every time the kids drew on the walls. Which happens a lot.
The neighbour on the other side is in the process of building. The early morning starts and constant building dust and debris has earnt me at least the next 10-15 years of noise. Plus, hopefully, some discounted babysitting from their two teenage daughters.
The neighbour across the road is also building. See above. Except the babysitting, his kids are slightly younger so I have sufficient time to wear out the incoming teenagers next door, and then move on to the kids across the road. We're talking local, cheap, babysitting until my own kids are old enough to become the neighbourhood babysitters. Score!
To the rear is the neighbour from hell, with the exceptionally vocal lady friend. As previously documented here. However, they either broke up, or if she was a ‘lady of the night’ as I suspect, he must’ve run out of money. Because I haven’t heard her in months. He now has a new lady love, complete with a couple of puppies (real ones…not a metaphor), but none of that makes up for even a quarter of the noises his previous lady made in the throes of passion.
Anyway, back to my own backyard.
On any given day, this is the noise pollution likely to be emanating from my tiny courtyard :
Mstr2 : Yo Yo Yo. I’m the man! No! Go ‘way! NOOOOOOOOOO! You’re bad…BADDDDD! Bitches be loco!
To nobody at all. Often, to the trampoline or a sand pit toy. Mostly, to the back fence. Conveniently, the back fence underneath the neighbour from hell's bedroom window.
Miss2 : Bullshit Poppy! BULLSHITTTTTTTT!
Always when Poppy is nowhere to be found, never when he is actually there to respond. I guess that way she will always win, and always have the last say? Total fruit of my loins, that child.
Miss6 : I kissed a girl and I liked it! Taste my chilli shit stick!
Despite regularly advising her of the correct lyrics, Miss6 has stumbled across a way to ‘innocently’ swear, and she’s not going to stop. Ever.
Which brings me to the adults of the household / feral enclosure.
#1 Hubby to Mstr2 : Shh! And stop eating the sand
Insert more yelling from Mstr2.
That’s it! I’m getting Mummy!
#1 Hubby to Miss2 : Uh-uh! We don’t say “shed words”. That’s naughty.
Insert insane evil cackle from Miss2, followed by a defiant BULLSHIT! in her father’s direction.
Right! I’m telling your Mother!
#1 Hubby to Miss6 : That’s enough. I know what you’re doing. Stop swearing. Little girls shouldn’t use “shed words”.
Insert another BULLSHIT! from Miss2, as a show of solidarity for her older sister.
Which is Miss6's cue to resume jumping on the trampoline, belting out the incorrect lyrics at the top of her lungs, while wearing a pink chequered cowboy hat with a multicoloured fairy dress, and bright orange road workers vest.
I warned you! I’m telling your Mother now!
Did you catch the common theme in all cases? Cue yours truly….
Me to Mstr2 : Shut up! Eat one more handful of sand and you won’t get any dinner!
At which point he’ll either flick the handful of sand in my direction, or dump it on his own head - before launching into a mega tanty-style wail that is much louder than his original yelling was. Should’ve just let him yell at himself and eat sand.
Me to Miss2 : Hey! Stop that! You can only say that to Poppy, when he’s here. And only whispering. Nobody wants to hear a little girl using bad words. ENOUGH!
Her response is a mega cheeky grin that makes me melt, before she screams BULLSHITTTTTTT! again, and rips off her pants and runs around laughing insanely. I love her the most when she’s feral, so I completely forgive her and just enjoy the performance at this point.
Me to Miss6 : If you keep singing the wrong words I won’t let you listen to Katy Perry anymore. Ever. And there will be no more McDonalds. Ever.
She will completely ignore me, as if I’ve been whispering this from the next suburb.
RIGHT!! That’s it! I’ve had enough! EVERYBODY GET INSIDE NOWWWWW!
The ranty yelling continues once everyone has been herded inside, and is still quite audible, despite our efforts to muffle the noise by closing all doors and windows.
As if the last 60 minutes of un-muffled full-volume noise pollution hasn't already damaged our reputation and the neighbours' hearing.
So to my neighbours and my own local council, thank you. Sincerely, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Because I’m quite sure my own family breaks all number of local council noise regulations, and yet, nobody has complained. Yet.
In case you were ready to complain : Just be grateful you're not living next door to Octomom.