Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Problems with downstairs neighbors

Those of you who know me IRL know that two years ago I kept having to do battle with downstairs neighbors who I suspected were using my washer and dryer (and thus costing me money, especially in my gas bills). I had to wait for tangible evidence (and got it in the form of a sock in the dryer) before I could confront them.

The washing machine theives eventually moved out and a family of three moved in. In most respects they are good neighbors and I like them as people. But one thing has been driving nuts since they moved in last year. Every morning, at least during the school year, they get up either an hour or at least a half hour before I do to get their kid off to school. How do I know their schedule so well? I know because my sleep is disturbed for those 30-60 minutes by the sounds of them stomping through their apartment, rushing back and forth between the bedrooms, the bathroom, the front hall, the living room, and the front door. The kid is hyper or something -- definitely a morning person -- because he usually greets the morning by *bounding* out of bed and rushing up and down the apartment with the dog. But mom and dad are problems, too. They're big people and "heel-strikers" (they hit their heels hard when they walk fast) and every morning it sounds like the mom is in a rush to get the kid ready. And these are downstairs neighbors. That's how damn loud they are. Every morning sounds like this: BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. BANG. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. BANG. BANG.


This morning was the last straw for me, though, because they got up extra early (perhaps because mom and dad had to vote) and the kid would not stop fucking around in his room, which is right below mine. It wasn't just (marginally) forgivable rushing around, but a whole lot of messing around -- I could even hear his mom yelling at him. I finally lost it, bounded out of my own bed, jumped up and down, and screamed, "For the love of god, BE QUIET! It's 6:30 am and I. AM. TRYING. TO. SLEEP."

It did nothing. Apparently 10-year-olds don't know that when upstairs neighbors pound on their floor that you should SHUT THE HELL UP. All I got was more booming and banging and rushing around in response. I swear to god he also plays basketball in there.

So, internets, here's my question to you. When I am calm and reasonable (not now, as now I have Crazy Ham Radio guy coming out of my sub-woofer again -- for the love of god, this neighborhood is INSANE! -- and that is also making me cranky) can I talk to my neighbors about possibly practicing stealth walking in the mornings? At the very least, can I ask them to get the kid out of his bedroom and behaving with his "indoor manner" in the mornings? I don't suppose I can ask them to get up earlier so they don't have to rush and I know I can't do anything about their being big and tall people who hit the ground hard, and perhaps I should go to bed earlier and get up *with* them so that my sleep isn't disturbed, but can I at least ask them to help out a bit in the quiet department?

What do y'all think?


La Lecturess said...

I think it's completely appropriate for you to speak to your neighbors. It's not confrontational to say, in a friendly, by-the-way manner that, hey, you hate to complain and you know mornings are always a rush, but every day you wake up to the sounds of their running around, and can't get back to sleep--and your room is right above Junior's--and if they could maybe try to keep it down...? And keep him from bouncing around his room...?

If you feel really uncomfortable, bring cookies or something.

(And I'll just say: at least you don't have ROCK MUSICIANS living downstairs. Mine are usually pretty good--they obviously have practice space elsewhere--but when they DO take it into their heads to start singing or pounding on the piano? It's always between midnight and 2 a.m.)

Dr. Virago said...

Oooh, cookies. That's a very good idea, Lecturess. That might make it seem friendlier, less confrontational. (No matter how hard I try to be nice, I come across as bitchy in these cases.)

And yes, it could be worse. But with rock musicians at least I'd know I speak their language. "Dude, this is SO not cool," is probably what would come out of my mouth in your case. But with a harried mom and a kid, I'm afraid she's going to pull the "you have no idea what it's like" card.

Still, cookies might work. I'll try to do that this weekend.

George H. Williams said...

Yes, without a doubt, bring cookies or some other gift.

I had a noisy next-door neighbor in Kansas City. A nice guy, but he worked evening hours and then would come home late and either listen to music or play video games on his surround sound theater system, both of which were loud enough to carry through the wall into our apartment.

After one particularly loud party, I made him a mix-CD of music I thought he'd like based on the music he had played the night before. He appreciated the gesture, and he got the message.

Dr. Virago said...

OH, that's brilliant, G! Too bad music isn't involved in this situation. But you just gave me a very good idea...I'll come armed with cookies *and* a pair of toasty warm slippers for each member of the family! It gets cold in our 100-year-old duplex, after all, especially in the morning. :)

George H. Williams said...

Slippers! Good idea.

Ancrene Wiseass said...

Yes! Because slippers also help to deaden the noise of heel-strikings!

Dr. Virago said...

*Exactly* AW! I'm an evil genius!