I have a problem. The downstairs neighbors have gone mental.
We've had a running dialogue with them for a couple years now, but talks have escalated since TwoBert went mobile. Archie still says he doesn't hear anything; the Freak Girlfriend (FG) is the one with the problem, and when the crisis first broke she routinely sent Archie up to remind us, quite easygoingly, that four-year-olds thump when they walk. Weekdays aren't a problem, they said, because of work. But could we keep the kids quiet until around 9am on weekends?
(Isn't it just awesome when people with no experience with kids want to tell you all about how to handle your kids?)
We've tried to explain that keeping two young children immobile for two hours is about as feasible as collecting squirrels in a pillow case, and the words just bounce off their foreheads and fall to the floor. We understand their plight, and we want to help. We've told them we will do all we can, short of turning our house into a stalag. We even switched the bedrooms, so the kids weren't over the neighbors' heads in the morning. And every so often we'd run into FG in the elevator, and she'd say everything was fine, thanks so much for our courtesy, you're great, you're wonderful, please run for Congress so I can vote for you.
Over the past few months, though, we've gotten signs that they're starting to lose it. It began with the music. Every time one of the boys caused a loud bang, someone downstairs would crank up the 2-billion gigawatt stereo for about a minute. Just to fire a shot across our bow.
Then, about a week ago, I found some paper on the floor in our hallway. I was planning to throw it out until I saw "SUPERNANNY" written across the top. Old dopey me didn't think much of it, but my wife saw the application and put it together right away. (Then I mentioned it at dinner the other night, and all three women reacted with audible gasps and omigods. Because women can recognize right away when someone is waging a War of Passive Aggression, whereas men only think of football and boobies.)
Last night, FG frantically rang our doorbell about a dozen times, and when I opened the door she was fighting back tears. Before I could say hello she launched into a monologue that sounded something like this <deep breath..... >: "Please please the thumping is so loud and I can't concentrate anymore on anything and please all we want is to be your neighbors and live merrily and coexist and you're obviously great parents who know how to discipline your kids and we want to work with you about maybe working out a schedule and maybe the kids can run around on alternate days and can't we please just live merrily and work with each other and OK? Please?" And then she ran off.
I stood in the doorway, blinking. "Run around on alternate days"? Did I hear that right?
I'm feeling stumped. What's left to do, apart from carpeting the place in deep-pile shag? Robert has so far offered this: "If you give me 1,000 ropes, I could stick them to the ceiling and swing around so we don't thump anymore."
This is the best idea I've heard so far, and unless you can suggest anything better I might have to head to the hardware store to see if you can buy carabiners in bulk.