Through a combination of bad luck and bad decisions (mine), I live in a five hundred square foot apartment with my beautiful wife, Central Planning, and my two sons, Chaos and Mayhem. It's like what I imagine living in a bus stop with two chimpanzees would be like, except the food is better. Add to this the fact that we live above someone that complains every time a piece of lint hits our floor, and you begin to get an idea of what life is like in the McWopski household.
Last night, our downstairs neighbor (hereafter referred to as The Ear) was apparently upset by the fact that Chaos and Mayhem insisted on wrestling with each other in their bedroom. He was so upset that he sent his girlfriend up to tell me that he couldn't stand the noise and was threatening to call the landlord. Rather than try to explain to her that boys tend to be noisy, messy, and loud, and since I absolutely hate moving, I told her I would handle it. She, being a pleasant sort, thanked me and left it at that.
So now, in order to preserve the peace with our downstairs neighbor, I have to train my sons to tread ninja-like across the floor. For our youngest, Mayhem, this is a challenge. How it is that someone that is three and a half feet tall and weighs forty pounds, can sound like a rampaging buffalo while traversing the six feet between the bathroom and his bedroom is a mystery that defies science. The oldest, Chaos, walks quietly enough, but has all of the grace and agility of an avalanche. Plus, he has Autism, so at random intervals throughout the day, he's either emitting strange noises, or bumping into things and knocking them over. All of which, I'm sure, annoys The Ear no end.
On top of all of that, the two boys have the plastic equivalent to three times the Jurassic Period's entire population of dinosaurs. Through some strange anomaly, the plastic dinosaur that they want to play with at any given time during the day is always on the bottom of the toy box. This necessitates dumping the entire contents out on the floor to access the desired dinosaur. When they have played with that dinosaur long enough (elapsed time: seven minutes) they abandon said pile of plastic dinosaurs to go outside and roll in whatever mud puddle is convenient, thus insuring that Central Planning has lots to do to keep her from becoming bored. Of course, cooking, cleaning, and running her own business helps to fill in those idle hours, but Chaos and Mayhem help fill in the two minutes and twenty-seven seconds during the day when she's sitting around doing nothing.
As for me? After a hard day of trying to convince people that they really need a brand new $200 pair of Chinese-made, hiking boots, I come home, retreat to my "man cushion", and try to let the stress fall away. Yes, you read that right, a man cushion. In Oregon I used to have a "man cave", which condensed to a "man space" in Kansas, and now is just one cushion on our couch. If the economy doesn't pick up soon, I may end up having a "man refrigerator box in an alley somewhere".
At least the neighbors won't complain about the noise.