It was bound to happen sooner or later

If you haven't noticed, I seem to have a bunch of, well, crap, to deal with lately. Either that or I am just letting it get to me.

Well, as I probably stated before, we live in a "majority" of our house. It used to have five apartments, but has been converted to a single house, well mainly. When we signed the lease the landlord was using 3 ground floor rooms for his office and storage area. He has acquired nearby houses that he is renovating, and needed a place to keep materials and where his workers can congregate. Fine. It didn't occur to us to ask him if the area would ever be anything other than offices, like someones apartment. Big mistake.

About six weeks ago he was working in the next door apartment. This was evident by the loud hammering and drilling that echoed throughout the house. The walls are cement-ish/stucco, and the tile floors do nothing for sound absorption. You can hear a Lego or Hot Wheels car being dropped on the third floor, from the ground (or first) floor. It can be frustrating some days to maintain a sense of quiet (see previous post). Anyway, he then told us that he was renting the apartment to a girl who was having a baby in the fall. Her mother lived nearby, and wanted a place where she could stay and still be near family. Did our landlord even consider the implications of having a person share a house with seven people? Especially an older house that has poor acoustics? No. He has a hearing loss and I really doubt that he could hear sounds around the house. So, we have had a "next door neighbor" since last month. You can see where this is going, right? I can occasionally hear sounds, but not much from her side.

Yesterday morning the boys were being annoying with fighting and just being loud. Logan has been teething and has been needing frequent diaper changes as a result. In other words-it was a prime time to share some complaints with me.

I was busy with those issues when someone knocks on the door. This young woman said something in German, and then asked me (in German) if I spoke German-to which I replied "no". She then explains to me that every morning at 6 a.m. she hears a "boom" on the floor and then stomping on the floor, and that she is having a baby and that she needs to sleep.

Sleep? What is that? Does she not realize that the end of blissful sleep as she knows it is coming to an end?

I basically apologized to her, and told her that Nicholas (who has the room above her) gets up around 7 a.m., but I didn't know about the stomping. I did tell her that we can hear all sounds throughout the house-even small sounds, and that I didn't think there was much to be done. I told her that we would never have rented a house that had common walls because we were a bigger family with small children. I told her that I was frustrated with our landlord because he told us that space was his office, and changed his mind (why miss out on a money-making opportunity?). So, we would try to be more quiet in the morning. The conversation basically ended at that, and I don't think she was that happy. It was frustrating that she was complaining about normal every day noises, not loud shrieking and "kids playing" noises.

I called the housing office after she left just to see if we would be able to get on-base housing if this continues to be an issue. I was told that the wait was 24-months for 4-5 bedroom housing (wait....that's how much time we have left here!), and that it would be the stairwell-type housing where we would have the fourth floor. Back to square-one since that would be the same living situation. Can I just add that it will be so nice to own a house again and not deal with all of this?

Yes, we could get lots of thick area rugs (for $400.00 + each!-no thanks), but we don't want to supply that for all 9 rooms. We have smaller rugs, but they are mainly for decoration.

I then saw her later in the day and talked with her again. I think she was happier about it, and realized that the house just echos everyday sounds. She seemed nice, at least. After observing Nick get out of bed-he does make a thump when he gets out of bed. He does have a high bed and this is to be expected. I listened to Ryan this morning walking across the floor in his bare feet and I could hear his footsteps. I can imagine that they also can be heard down below in her apartment. I'm not sure what we can do other than constantly remind them to tiptoe in the morning, and don't play with toys, or drop things, or well.....basically live in our house. There is also the reverse issue that she will have a crying newborn in the fall, which she can't do much about. How many times will we hear that during the night?

This irritates me because we moved further away from Allen's work so we could have a bigger house-one that we could live in comfortably. Today, I feel like a prisoner in my house. If I want to yell up the stairs, I can't. Or play music loudly (her room is next door to the family room area), or watch a movie at night with loud sound. Part of me feels like a brat and I want to make noise just for spite-and the fact that we were living here-in a house-not a duplex. I feel like I will always be telling the kids not to drop toys or run on the second floor, because that is above her. How do we solve this? Allen says to just live in the house. He says noises at 7 a.m. are much better than stomping at 5:30 a.m., and that there are other outside street noises at 7 a.m., too. His idea is that we are just making normal sounds and not super loud screaming and playing (well, only occasionally). I just feel bad that she has to live with our noise, even if it is just normal living sounds of a family of seven. Maybe I really should have a word with the landlord, but I don't really have a solution-just frustration. I know that many people here live in "stairwell housing" and deal with this daily. I now know how frustrating it can be for others, but we pay extra money for our housing, extra money for utilities, and drive a longer distance (with gas being so expensive!) to live without having to worry about it.

Until now.

I'll just add this to the list of issues going on lately. I'm glad that we're getting away soon. Oh yeah! I told our neighbor that we were going away on holiday, but that the landlord and workers would be here repairing some water damage on the third floor and tiling our stairs while we are gone. It seems even then she won't get a break.

2 fabulous friends:

LiteralDan said...

I can totally sympathize with this-- I hate noisy neighbors, and I hate being a noisy neighbor. Both of these problems are amplified once children are involved. It's a lose-lose situation.

With any luck, she'll give up and move out before the baby comes!

Andrea said...

LiteralDan-I am secretly hoping that will happen.

I feel like one of those people who move out to the country on a large lot of land for privacy, and then a carvan park moves in next door....