Life In Gotham City

Gotham City!It’s been a busy week in Gotham City! I’d almost forgotten the adrenaline rush of having to lock your doors at night in the city.

Our new residence certainly seems to attract all sorts.

Not only do we have noisy drunks and students weaving their way past our house late at night, but our gate seems to have become the hotspot for every private school social gathering of teens, drawing on their first ciggies and pashing behind the trees.

I have opened the front door twice at ridiculous times of the night (9pm) to disappointed party-goers, adamant that the party is at ours.

Being exposed to the wilder side of city living has certainly punctured a hole in the cocoon, created by our ‘safe’, previous life in the burbs.

Our crazy week started with the ongoing saga of THE DOG FROM HELL, who now officially has a ransom on his head and the status of ‘sworn enemy’ to the old man, (a status normally reserved for sportsmen who disappoint). I’m not talking about Princess Spoodle, of course, but the f*cker yapper next door, who might look normal enough, but who barks for hours on end if you dare to breathe in your own back yard.

For absolutely NO fucking reason at all.

It is the old man’s worst nightmare and was one of the main concerns he voiced when Nerd Child and I were coercing him into renting the terrace over some dull family house (yawn) he wanted in some boring neighbourhood-watch suburb, with the tasteful pink, floral wallpaper and Shaker kitchen.

Not content to terrorise us in our own courtyard, the yapper also starts straining his vocal chords from 6am every morning, until his dog walker collects him at 7 to exercise the rest of his body. I caught the old man yesterday, standing in our courtyard and repeatedly shaking his fist and mouthing the ‘c’ word up at the offender, who was barking at him from his balcony.

His owners are either profoundly deaf or simply don’t know how to resolve the issue. They are certainly ignorant of the rights of their new neighbours, particularly neighbours with Guardian Angel tendencies who are anal about noise and know the council’s number by heart after only three weeks. So as responsible neighbours, we have taken into consideration the effect of this noise pollution in the street and have devised the following suggestions for getting rid of this dog, humanely, and without it looking premeditated looking like it was us:

  • Bribe the dogwalker into ‘losing’ the dog on the main road during a walk.
  • Feed the dog with large quantities of chocolate which is a known toxin
  • Remove the fencing on the dog’s balcony at night and then call ‘treat’ to the f*cker to get him to run outside in the morning.
  • Shoot it.

Frazzled by lack of sleep, and the continuous ‘barking’ in our ears (even when the f*cker/yapper isn’t barking), Saturday night proved to be another busy night in Gotham.

Around 2am we were brutally awoken by the sound of the most horrendous car crash beneath our window. (Note to self: crashing cars travelling at only 30km per hour can do serious damage, which has reminded me of the perils of ignoring the 40km speed limit in school zones when trying to beat all the gym bunnies to the treadmills). The bang was followed by the terrified shrieks of someone running down the street shouting in a crazed voice ‘somebody help me!’

The old man and I both leapt out of bed, terrified, not knowing if we were experiencing a real ‘Independence Day’ (and the old man is no Will Smith) and imagining that Nerd Child (who had been out for the night) might be involved. (Luckily, she was still comatose in her bedroom after one too many Breezers).

I screamed to the old man to call the police (because I’m good at managing), which he did, and then he promptly ran out onto the street to assess his car the situation, whilst I tried to calm the ADHDer down who was hyper at the thought of a car crash IN HIS ROAD.

Apparently a taxi driver had careered into a parked car at full force when his passenger had tried to attack him to dodge his fare.

And did I mention that this all happened IN OUR STREET?

Luckily, he was unhurt, as the assailant scarpered once the car had crashed and he realised that he might be accountable for a little more than a mere $20 fare. Both cars were write-offs, and our little house of simple country folk was shaken.

Sleep was hard to come by afterwards but was disturbed again at 8am by the grieving wails of our neighbour who woke to find that she only had half a Honda with which to drive to church.

I hid in my bedroom waiting for some out of space invasion or incoming tsunami from the harbour.

It takes some getting used to, life in the city. This new mix of cultures, the sheer volume of people and the speed of the traffic are daunting to us ‘insulars’ from ‘up north’ whose biggest fear in our previous life was a visit from the Seventh Day Adventists.

I might not have found my ‘core’ (Can Yoga Help Me Find My Core?) but I’m determined to find some backbone.

Gotham City! courtesy of flickr.com

It’s City Living, Innit…

English: North Sydney, Australia: CBD from the...
English: North Sydney, Australia: CBD from the air. Taken in 2000 by Sonia Boddi-Kyle The image (taken in 2000) shows North Sydney’s high-rise commercial district from the centre facing south to Sydney CBD in the background. Sydney Opera House can be seen left of the Optus tower. Category:Images of Sydney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So we’ve moved.

A mere bridge separates us from the city now and we’ve had to change our mindset accordingly . I’ve had to throw out almost my entire collection of co-ordinating Havaianas and replace them with sensible flats, and the teens have been forced into wearing shoes again.

Apparently the stress of moving house is up there with divorce, or gaining a kilo whilst dieting or having a Brazilian (as in being waxed downstairs, not shagging Ronaldo). And I can now concur with that.

The good news, (notice that as we are still in the early stages of the new year so my January positivity remains undiminished), is that we seem to have arrived in Spoodle Central so the (anxious) dog is walking around, tail permanently in a vertical position of spiritual happiness; like she already owns the joint. She’s so damn happy in her own ginger caramel fur that she still hasn’t realized that a) there are two yappers next door vying for ownership of her courtyard and b) we have managed to condition her (without her knowledge) to wee in the one square foot of planted border available in the courtyard.

Result.

The other good news is that the new house is bigger than I remembered from that fraught house-hunting period just prior to Christmas (when everyone else was relaxing on the beach while my brain was imploding from the stress of moving, finding schools and packing for the family trip to Europe), and so we did manage to squeeze the hire sofas and fridge through the doors. We have also discovered an eclectic choice of restaurants on our doorstep, including four Thai ones so the old man’s bowels are still protesting from the cumulative shock of three Jungle Curries in five days.

The not-so-good news is that we still have no internet connection, no functioning television (hence no Downton or Masterchef, shock, horror), nowhere to house the drier and without air conditioning, it felt like we were being baked in Pizza Hut’s hottest oven on Friday afternoon when Sydney chose to host its hottest day on record as we were unpacking and cleaning.

I am, of course, still grieving the loss of my beautiful (and long-awaited) Miele dishwasher (that sits alone, like some white elephant in our old house), which had taken me twenty years of sexual favours to attain and which has been replaced by a very sub-standard, vintage offering with a trundling rather than gliding lower rack and no lid on the tablet dispenser, (which means you just throw it in and hope for the best). Primitive. A very friendly cockroach welcomed me when I first prised opened its old food-congealed door.

Nevertheless, the family does seem to be adjusting.

Nerd Queen, still high on her results and offer from university to study Advanced Science (WTF!) is almost as ‘high’ as the spoodle now that we are living in such close proximity to the city with its abundance of libraries (who stock Jane Austen), cool shops and ‘life’, although she has somehow acquired the notion that our house is to become some sort of ‘dossing-house central’ for all her mates who still live on the Beaches.

The ADHDer has been surprisingly calm considering the fact that the world that he knew (and was only barely comfortable in) has been turned upside down within a week; even though it was primarily his needs that provoked the move.

We had a few minor tanties over the heat in his bedroom (or what he excitedly calls his ‘music studio’, the furthest humanly habitable area from our bedroom by at least 3 metres), and the fact that neither the internet and tv were working, and that it took me four hours to locate the nearest Coco Pops supplier.

But thank God for XBOX which saved the day and became the most cost-effective babysitter AGAIN, keeping him entertained and out of my hair for hours on end, whilst I spent hours offering my body (for no return so far) to both Optus and Jim’s Antenna in a bid to get SOME technology functioning before the old man hangs himself from the Harbour Bridge. Apparently, the bargaining potential of my near fifty-year-old body is nowhere near as compelling as the younger model, but Nerd Queen has quite unfairly refused to play ball, in spite of missing at least four episodes of Bones.

The old man has been the most affected by the change. Not only has he had to resort to communicating with the family due to the constraints of no accessible sport on the tv or  internet, but he also received the disappointing news that we are not entitled to a parking permit due to our double garage (which would only fit a Smart car and Mini if you didn’t have to open the doors), which has caused him to practically melt down; several times. I have obviously been forced to reserve the garage space for my car, because as the ADHDer pointed out, we do have a disabled child (his words) AND I have the responsibility of carrying the vats of wine food shopping into the house.

So the old man has spent the past few days trawling the streets looking longingly for a parking space within walking distance of his very expensive city pad.

What can I say? No-one said that city living doesn’t come at a price.