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Nursery School on the Square

"Can I have a word?'

It was the caretaker of the row of townhouses we live in. That's his opener when someone's complained about us. It's happened a few times lately.

Last week the carpet cleaners started too early and there were complaints about the noise. Caretaker came up about 20 minutes after 8am and said he'd been getting calls. We're not allowed to start any work until 8am and they started prior to that, "but there's nothing we can do about it now."

If it was really a big deal, he should have stopped them before they started. He was outside watching the whole thing.

They had arrived at 10 minutes to 8, and and started shortly thereafter. So there was undue racket for all of 5 minutes.

Yesterday's "word" was that there'd been a complaint about me running a business from my home, which is not allowed. I can only assume this "business" is the Life Club workshops on Tuesday nights. I told Caretaker that it was no more than a small meeting and he said, "I don't want to know about it. Just do what you have to do before he goes to Landlord."

So I email Landlord, tell him that I hear there are complaints about us and want to clear them up as quickly as possible. I'm summoned to his office this morning. I felt a bit like I'd been called to the principal's office.

"So what's going on?" Landlord asked.

I apologize for the early start on the carpet cleaning the other day, which he waves off as Sod's law. "They either don't show up or start too early. Don't worry about it."

Then I say, "I'm running a workshop on Tuesday nights. It's hardly a business, per se, more like a glorified book club meeting. But if it is creating problems I'm happy to find a venue, which might take me awhile."

He says he had no idea about any issues until he talked to Caretaker this morning, who told him that Mr Hedge Fund had asked Caretaker to speak to me about it.

I'm rightly confused that Mr HF didn't come to me directly, instead of going to Caretaker with veiled threats of going to Landlord ... especially since Mr HF lives directly below me and is out of the country six months out of the year in what his wife describes as "tax exile." It's hard to have so much money, apparently.

Landlord shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn't know why Mr HF didn't come to me directly. "How many people come to these workshops?" he asks.

I tell him, on average, there's 3-4 people. The most I've ever had was six. Landlord looks as me with a "are you kidding me" expression.

"Frankly, my dinner parties are louder and more crowded than anything we do at Life Clubs," I tell him.

"I don't have a problem with it. I suggest you talk directly to Mr HF and create some house rules and leave me out of it." BTW, Mr HF owns his flat and I think is about sniffly about having "renters" upstairs. Landlord owns about 8 flats on the block.

Landlord also suggests that this might be a residual effect with "all the drama going on in Flat 3", which is the flat above us. The one with the demon child and the estranged couple.

"What drama?" I ask, clearly clueless as to what's going. Nobody tells me anything.

Apparently all you have to do is ask. Landlord tells me that the owners upstairs are getting divorced and it's messy and there have been lots of comings and goings with the parents moving in and out one week at a time, shuffling the kid around.

It's Peyton Place right under, well ... above, my nose and I didn't even realize it.

So Mr HF has his knickers in a twist, but doesn't have the balls to walk up a flight of stairs and say anything to the lowly renters. I'd say it's him being horribly British, but he's Canadian -- usually they're so much nicer. Meanwhile, his adorable wife and daughter are lovely and happy to eat my pies, come up and borrow corkscrews, and share a glass of wine -- while he's out of town.

And if we recall, Mr HF was the one who created all the racket outside my bedroom window all summer long with the patio building, men hanging from harnesses outside my room and demolition/reconstruction of his back wall. Never once was there a notice or comment from them about all the work they had done, and how disruptive it might or might not have been. Now that they have the nice garden patio, with terrace extending from the kitchen, they're the ones echoing up into our bedroom in the evenings.

If I were a betting man, I'd say they're bucking to get us out so they can take over this floor and have the whole thing to themselves.

Too bad for them .. we've got the lease until November, and the expat package is guaranteed to pay the rent till then, so they're stuck with us ... the heathen renters living above their means.

Who wants to come over for a nice long game of Wii?

La la la.