|Our fire alarm went off tonight - the building-wide one. We have little smoke alarms in our apartment, but then there's a building wide one that is triggered for more serious smoke. It has been set off in the past by burned foods on stove tops down the hall, but never by us.
We all left our building, and the firemen came and turned it off. It was nothing. No surprise there.
When I was going down to do the laundry, though, I did smell something slightly burny in the hallways. It smelled kind of plasticky.
I told Beloved about the smell when I got back to our apartment, and he said, "you know, while you were down in the laundry room, our door buzzer buzzed, and I went to see who it was, and there was no one there. Then I went to the back door, and there was no one there." I said, "eh, someone probably pushed the wrong button." he said, "No, we can always hear the buzz of the door being opened." True. "Probably just kids I said."
Then it happened again. No one in either lobby waiting to be let in.
He says he's a little worried that it's a short, and that there's something going on with the wiring in the walls, and that's what triggered the alarm, and that the fire department missed something. I said, "oh no! then we'll have a fire in our walls!" Then I said, "I think it's kids. I'm going in the hallway to watch."
I went into the hallway, and kept my eyes peeled.
I thought it was the kids downstairs. There are 2 apartments in the basement (it's only 1/2 underground), and they both have kids around E and J's ages in them. They tend to both leave their apartment doors open, and the parents let the kids just go wild in the basement hallway. I personally find it completely inappropriate and obnoxious. I don't see them as paying rent for the hallways. Not more than I do ... and you don't see me setting up a folding table and having a party down there. I mean, seriously. Close your damned door.
So I figured it was those kids, horsing around downstairs, and getting clever with the door buzzers.
Even though I'd just been in the laundry room, and both doors were closed.
I stood in the hallway. No kids. No noises. But a woman and her baby were coming through the back lot, so I knew if there WERE kids, they'd be waiting until it was "all clear."
I felt like a bit of a stalker or something, lurking in the hallway (not to mention the fact that I could hear every word of the conversation between a husband and wife in an apartment back there as they cooked dinner), so I went back to my house while I waited for the mom and baby to get in and up the stairs.
I went back out, just to watch. Beloved said if it happened again, he thought we should call the building manager, and I just wanted to be sure before we bothered him at home that it wasn't horseplay.
Sure enough, after about 30 seconds, from between 2 cars in the parking lot comes a boy. Not a downstairs boy. Not an "I live here, too" boy, but rather, a boy from E's grade. He runs up the steps, oh-so-stealthily, sees me through window, and turns and runs away. Following after him? 2 more boys from E's grade.
I ran down the stairs, opened the door and yelled, [Boy One's name], [Boy Two's Name] and [Boy Three's Name]! I almost called the fire department! Stop ringing our buzzer!!!"
I came inside laughing. Beloved said, "E mail their moms!" I said, nah. I'd rather them be on pins and needles wondering if I would e-mail their moms. This is the most innocent of childhood pranks. If they keep it up after being caught, okay - I'll consider contacting moms. But not for this.
E, though, was indignant, and she and J went to the park where the boys were congregating. This is a very .... lush park. It's not that big, but it's pretty big and tree-filled for a city park. The neighborhood surrounding it is mostly $1 million (and higher) homes. Even the ones that are actually condos, but look like a castle. I would say that in the horseshoe that surrounds the park, there are likely 30 households, including my building, which has 14 of those. The park is mostly used as a toddler park and a dog park.
One of the 3 boys just moved to this neighborhood. He's been in our school district forever, and is friends with the other two, and now they're all in the same neighborhood. Not necessarily the best combo, in my opinion. It's a combination of boys that E has struggled with in the past at recess, and now ... they're in our backyard.
One of them had a Nerf Gun. (They had it when I saw them in the parking lot), and when E went out there, and "chased them" - they chased her back, while aiming the "nerf gun." I thought she meant a water gun, so I laughed and said, "did you get wet?" She said, "No, Mom, it wasn't a water gun, it was a nerf gun. It shot arrows, and I didn't appreciate getting shot, and you need to e-mail their moms." I still said no, b/c she went out there to confront them. She chased them first (even though she later tried to say no she didn't, but J verified that the first version was correct). I thought she'd go out there and they'd all laugh. I wish I didn't let her go out.
While folding laundry I thought it over a bit more. I'm really not that happy to think that we're going to have park issues this summer. I've been looking forward to the girls having free play time there, and if the boys act like a little harassing posse (as they've done in the past, and it was stopped only by E's getting adult interference and the boys being spoken to by the principal), the girls aren't going to want to go.
Also, I don't want boys shooting a gun (nerf or not) at my daughters. I don't think it's an appropriate way to behave toward others in a public place and with people who didn't consent to, and don't enjoy, that type of play.
I am not contacting mothers today, and I told E as much. However, if they continue to shoot a gun at her (I think I'm going to except water guns, but we'll see), and if they continue to harass the girls when they go to the park, I will intervene.
And then out comes my insecurity "oh, but they're home owners, and we're renters, and what if there's just nothing we can do about it b/c they actually have more of a right to be there?"
Where the hell does that come from?
Labels: *E*, *J*, apartment, kids, park