Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Good Soundproofing Makes Good Neighbors

We live in a row of town houses and we share walls with two neighbors. One of our neighbors is a nice old lady--Hubs borrowed a cup of sugar from her once. Our other neighbors . . .

I affectionately described our neighbors as dirty old hippies. They are about my parents' age, wear hippy clothes, and listen to loud hippy music (stuff from the 60s and "world music" music. We're recent college graduates so the loud music didn't bother us too much. They seemed fairly nice if incredibly odd (they wear matching outfits) otherwise. They keep an odd schedule too, they work third shift so they usually leave for work right before we go to bed and come home from work as I'm leaving in the morning.

Occasionally we'd hear unusually loud noises. For example, one Christmas morning we were woken up at 4 AM by Pachelbel's Cannon in D coming through the walls. Sometimes it got to be a bit much for me while I was studying for the bar exam but I attributed that to bar exam nerves.

Over the past couple of weeks and months it gotten significantly worse. We started hearing them drumming and dancing (At first I imagined they were were like whirling dervishes.) I could also hear the woman whopping and shouting yipieeee! and other similar things sometimes. The drumming got louder and louder. I thought they have set up a pile driver in their apartment because sometimes they'd make really loud noises that shook our floor through the wall.

We assumed their music and dancing was getting louder because they were slowly going death because they listened to so much loud music and they were just compensating by turning everything up.

*     *     *

Last Wednesday morning I woke up at 4:55 AM before Hubs alarm went off to the sounds of drumming (or maybe pile driving) and what sounded like some hitting the wall. This went on all morning. So I drafted a letter to our neighbors to let them know that they really shouldn't be so loud so early in the morning. Hubs hit the wall to let them know we heard them.

This continued for most of the morning. When I came home from work I kept on hearing the loud sharp noises. I went to a Junior League function and came back around 9:30 and they were still making noise! Hubs had a Skype interview the next day and was anxious to get to sleep.

So he went over to talk to them, he also though talking face to face was more neighborly than sending a note. I was washing my face and brushing my teeth when he went over to ring their door bell. When I turned the water off I heard yelling.

I went downstairs. Our neighbor was cursing my husband out. I was so scared I grabbed the phone--I was worried she would hurt him and I'd have to call the police. (Hubs is a pacific and probably wouldn't hit an older lady even if he weren't.) I didn't catch much of their conversation  but I was really shocked by what I heard. She was yelling that we were "little shits" &c and she said I was just as bad if not worse than he was.

When Hubs came back in he was upset. He said that she said (hearsay) that they were making noise to retaliate for all the noise we were making. He called our landlord (our landlord is probably one of the best landlords ever) and asked him to come over and see if there was something he could do. Our landlord did. I think he sided with us (or at least thought our neighbor-lady was a bit worked up and maybe scary). But he let us know their chief complaint was about doors slamming.

I felt so bad and wished I had talked to them about their noise earlier. I don't think our neighbor should have shouted and used such corse language. But, I wish I would have opened up to them and started communicating with them before this so that her bad feelings didn't get so bottled up.

I don't think we're particularly loud. (We asked our other neighbor and she said didn't have any complaints about noise from us.) But I am clumsy and I go up and down the stairs pretty fast, which is probably really noisy. I throw our dirty sheets down from the top of the stairs sometimes and that's probably louder than you'd think it would be. Plus we both throw cans into our recycling bin in the basement from the top of the stairs.

So we were probably making more noise than we though. Also, I feel so bad because I vacuumed with bad thoughts in my head. I'd think "ha take that noisy neighbors I may not have a stereo system but I do have a vacuum and I will vacuum this apartment thoroughly including the linoleum bathroom floor so sorry if that's noisy but I need clean."

We've been trying hard to be extra quiet and there's been a détente since our landlord came last Wednesday.  I need to send him a thank you note. I also plan on writing a note to our neighbors. I plan to apologize for unknowingly disturbing them so much. I'd like to invite them to leave us notes if we're making noise. If they leave us notes hopefully they won't talk to us. I really don't want to talk to them but I'd like to give them a means to vent so they don't end up making retaliatory noise or cursing out my husband again. That was so scary. I also called my dad and asked if he'd give me and Hubs a low/no interest loan to make up the other half of a downpayment for a home. So maybe we'll be moving into a house sooner than planned.

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