Sunday, October 17, 2004

New Neighbour Paranoia

Something I learned at a young age: Never, ever take good neighbours for granted. Ever.

So, after 10 years, we are getting new neighbours. Our landlords, who live in the upstairs of this house, are moving into their new house at this very moment. I'm happy for them that they're happy. They've found people to rent the upstairs. A young couple with two cats and a young daughter who comes for visits. Sounds OK. So why am I panicking about this?

Our 10 years here have not entirely been bliss, but any problems have been with the apartment itself (flooding from the washer, flooding from the broken water tank resulting in ripped-up carpet for weeks, more flooding from the washer, shower stall broke, multiple furnace repairs mean workmen in my kitchen, etc.). The owners/neighbours have been great, and we all get along well. Anything we ask for has been dealt with promptly. They love us and never want us to move, because we always pay, we're very quiet, and never complain about anything. They haven't raised our rent, ever. I've gotten used to hearing the mother screaming at her teenage kids in Portuguese. :)

And now, I am faced with a complete unknown. I'm as much worried about the new people being jerks (it can happen) as I am that we will do things that annoy them. They need to know that they control the thermostat for the house. Not a big deal, and as long as they set it so that they're comfortable, we'll be fine - but it means that if they go away for a week in the winter, I can't have them turning it down too low, or turning off the AC in the summer. We need to find out if they want specific days to do their laundry. They need to know that the furnace is in my kitchen, the breaker switches for the entire house, including the cable connection for their TV, are in my bedroom, and they should call us if they need us to check something. I need to get their phone number, and they need to have mine. I don't want to seem like I'm being nosey about them, or too forward, or trying to be their best buds. I don't know that I want to be their best buds. But we need to establish lines of communication, fast and early, and I really don't want to come across too forward, or like "I've lived here 10 years and you're new, so THERE." But there are things they need to know. This is not an apartment building, it's a house with a makeshift basement apartment, and the downstairs and upstairs are not entirely self-containted units.

So why am I so paranoid about this? Because we are about to be placed, essentially, at the mercy of strangers. And first impressions can be a big deal. And lucky us, apparently they want to paint next week. I really hope they don't fume us out of the house.

I hope they're nice. I hope they're friendly, but not too friendly. I hope they're not smokers. I hope I don't piss them off before the year is out, and vice-versa. I hope they're not axe-murderers... OK, there goes that late-night paranoia again. I'll stop now.

Cross your fingers for me, folks, it's new neighbour time.

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