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A letter to my neighbors

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

We have issues with our new neighbors.  These are people that complained within 15 minutes, literally, to the minute, of us moving in to the apartment that we were too loud.  They had management up there WITHIN 15 minutes.  Not to mention a few times, we were out of the house all day, and literally within 10 mins of arriving home - literally I took off my coat, kids took off their shoes, I went to go pee - while I was peeing the door is being banged on, husband answers, it's them telling us to stop the noise.  It was like 5 minutes, MAYBE 10.  And the kids weren't even running around or screaming.  I promise.  We had just spent 6 HOURS on a Sunday morning driving around town so the neighbors could have a quiet Sunday morning (the kids woke up at 6 - so we headed out to get them out of the apt).

 

Within the first day or so I wrote a letter to them being very polite and asking them to please have patience with our kids' adjustment to apartment life and to please tell us about their schedule and where their beds are so that we can situate the kids' play area away from those times.  Well apparently we're not allowed to make any noise ever because some of them work at night and some during the day so someone is always sleeping.

Anyway.  So the complaints had settled down in the last few days/weeks so I was almost starting to breathe again.  But then I found (totally randomly!!!) written about us, yes us, on a website reviewing our apartment:

+++


[I took out the letter on further thought because it could be traced back to the original website... But it was long and pretty nasty about what awful upstairs neighbors we were and how we didn't try to do anything to quiet the kids down or whatever.]


+++

And it had some sympathetic replies and whatever, but that was the gist of it.  I started shaking from the anxiety and that awful feeling in my gut.  But OK, I did what I always do - started writing.  I wrote them a letter.  When trying to edit it for length, that I was not going to send it to the neighbors.  But it felt very cathartic writing it out.  I think if I post it for whomever to see it will make me feel even better.

Even if no one reads it - and it sure is long.  ;)

***

I read that you guys already came up with a deposit and are moving shortly - but I just wanted to give you our side of the story.
For the record, we hear tons of loud noises from upstairs - and they don't even have kids.  I can only imagine how loud that must be.  I sympathize.  Let me start with that.  But again.  I just wanted to share our side of the story - if you want to ignore it or whatever, fine, but it seems that you guys have put a lot of effort into talking to management and writing on apartment boards and such.  I imagine you must think we simply don't care about your problems.  That's the furthest from truth.  I wanted to present our side to you if you care to hear it.  If not, fine.  It's long and rambling anyway.


I go into the kids' room every morning when they wake up.  If this means we're up for the day at 4 am, then fine.  We sit there, as quietly as possible, trying to learn the lesson that we don't get up until it's light out, or 8 am, or whatever.  And I just tell them, over and over and over again to be quiet.  And that we stay in our beds until it's time to get up.  We've tried everything - shifting bedtimes, trying to do various morning routines - these kids have never slept past 4 or 5 am on pretty much any day of their lives.  Trust me, it sucks.  For the first two years of their life I averaged 2 hours a night broken into 20 minute segments and had migraines every freaking day from lack of sleep.  At one point it was so bad I actually started hallucinating - that's how tired I was.  If anyone in the world gets that lack of sleep = suckage, it's me, and I would do whatever was in my power to make sure no one else had to suffer that wa again.  No one told us before we moved in that you guys were shift workers.  I was actually figuring that it was cool that the kids were quiet early in the evening because surely people were going to be gone from the house during the day at work or whatever and at least in the evening they'd be quiet.  Go figure.


I never recall my husband ever saying that "it's a pain to keep the kids quiet" - but he might have said something like it because by god, it is a pain.  But he didn't mean that it was a pain to do it so screw it all - whether or not it's a pain, it's our job, we do it anyway.  If he was rude to you, I'm sorry, but "control your kids" first thing in the morning after pounding on the door can be construed as pretty aggressive.  I swear we're not sitting around just ignoring the kids while they run around.  There's only SO MUCH we can do.  Physically, humanly, possibly.  Even if I am in their room in the morning, I can only stay in one kid's bed at a time to make sure they don't get up - the one across the room sometimes wants to get up to go to the bathroom or something, and then I can get up and carry them to try to be as quiet as possible since they don't know how NOT to stomp, but then the other one will jump out of bed and start following us to the bathroom - and there's your running feet.  I mean that's just one scenario out of a million throughout the day.


We've taken steps to resolve the situation.  We put down layers of area rugs, towels, even clothes on the floor to muffle the noise to below.  We never wear shoes in the house.  The kids' rooms we didn't even allow them to go into during the day for fear of waking anyone up - so all four of us tried to sit in the living room all day to minimize the noise.  I don't believe in young watching TV and they were TV-free before moving here.  Now they're watching, like, 10 hours of TV a day in an effort to get them to sit as still as possible - and even that isn't too successful (as you can attest).  If I sit with one of them to, say, read them a nursery rhyme book, then the other can lose interest and flit away.  Then while I try to corral that one, the first one gets restless and tries to get up and play with toys (as kids are wont to do).
The fact is, we try to get out of the house most of the daytimes to let them let off energy, but it's just not financially feasible to be out and about all day every day.  Honestly, if you had kids, what would YOU do?  We tell them, ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY, to be quiet, walk, don't run, please be quiet, for the love of God be quiet!  All I do is nag them and get anxious when a toy gets dropped or my daughter has to "run" to the potty.  Instead of praising her for remembering to go, I have to scold her for not using her "walking feet".  We take them out every day when possible for hours to the park to get energy out - but what am I supposed to do, realistically?  Get them bundled up at 6 am and head out until they're ready to go to sleep at night?  Where would we even GO?
Don't get me wrong.  We care.  We care a lot.  I have spent night after night literally crying and trying to figure out a way to break our lease because I was so anxious about the noise the kids have made.  I am NOT one to be inconsiderate of neighbors, but having two kids - and yes ONE of them has special needs - is really a lot for me.
I know you don't care about sob stories, but for the first 2 years of his life, my son screamed.  All day.  Every day.  He slept 4-5 hours in a 24 hour period, and it took 4 hours of me rocking him, with him screaming in my ear, every night, to put him to sleep.  I lost partial hearing in that ear.  He would sit and bang his head on the floor for hours, not making eye contact, not talking until he was almost 2 years old, just screaming.  Bet we woulda made lovely neighbors then.  If I held him in constant motion, he could sometimes relax.  If I stopped, he would scream again and not stop.  I had him tied to me with a baby wrap but even if I was holding him like that, I had to rock back and forth - if I tried to use the computer I had to stand and sway back and forth, because if I sat down in the chair he would scream.  I was unable to work since he was born because I couldn't get anyone to watch him - they couldn't take it.
I couldn't put him down to brush my teeth.  I had to sleep with him laying on my chest because he couldn't lay still in the crib.  I couldn't watch a TV show - maybe with subtitles - or listen to a CD because he would scream.   I didn't leave the house more than 4-5 times in the first YEAR of his life because he would scream the whole time, in the carseat, etc.  I couldn't go to the grocery store without someone glaring at me for having "that" baby.  


We took a plane ride (out of necessity, my father died) and the whole time, he screamed.  The other passengers all glared and made nasty comments at us.  We nearly got thrown out of the hotel room we were in - and again, it was not a pleasure trip.   I spent hours sobbing after that - not even because of the funeral but because everyone had just basically hated us for having a child.  We were "those" parents - and it's not like we could do anything about it.  I lost friends left and right because no one wanted to be around a screaming baby.  We weren't allowed to go to mommy and me classes or anything like that, playgroups - because we had "that" baby.  People wondered (out loud!!) what was wrong with me as a mother.


I cried happy tears when he got into the state's special needs therapy after numerous, numerous trips to the doctor.  Finally I was validated.  I didn't suck as a mother - my son had special needs.  He received 3X weekly therapy from the EI system until he "graduated" from the program when he learned to talk.  They still considered sending him to a special preschool because of his hyperactiveness but he was a borderline case and there was a waiting list and then we moved out of state, so he didn't end up going and we chose to do home therapy for him instead.  But again... we are working with him to the best of our ability.  Even if he was a typical 4 year old... they're still noisy!


I tried to put him in the Y daycare downstairs or try to find another daycare - but no daycare will take him because he's "not a good fit" because he doesn't nap like the other kids.  There is a daycare I try to take them to when I can, but the max on that is 3 days a week for four hours a day - and that's really cutting into our budget as it is.  But I try to get them out when I can.
We are only living in an apartment temporarily.  We moved from a house, and are moving back into a house as soon as we humanly, possibly, can.    My husband needs treatment at the hospital up here and we had to live in an apartment in the interim.  We're not thrilled to be up here, and we don't dig the fact that the upstairs neighbors used to play loud music well after midnight and have parties - when we're trying to sleep.  (Which is, incidentally, from like 9 pm and onwards in order to get in enough sleep for when the early mornings come around.)


In our situation... please be honest.  What would you do?  What IS there to do?  I get trying to be out of the house as much as possible, but we can't afford to go anywhere really and we are technically paying rent as well so we feel we have the right to be at home at least SOME of the time.  What would YOU do if you were us?  We're brand new to the city and it's kind of hard to make friends, even at playgroups and the like, when you have the hyper kid.

And while I am really, truly, TRULY sympathetic to your concerns, and believe me - I want nothing more than to be quiet and respectful to everyone, and I have not had one person in my life even come close to call me rude or inconsiderate prior to having kids - I ask you... what can I possibly do?  Or, rather, what can your calls to management get us to do - besides get us in trouble?  In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen?  For us to get kicked out?  Then what?  Where could we live?  Any other apartment would have likely the same issues with us, and if we'd already been kicked out once it'd be even harder to find somewhere to rent to us.


****

And that's that.

 






 


Edited by seawitch - 4/9/11 at 4:14am
post #2 of 35

I doubt the building is actually up to code if there's that much noise between floors.

 

The awesome thing to be able to do: Find a new place, demand that your current management let you out of your lease and return your deposit because their building is substandard, and drop off a box of earplugs at the downstairs neighbors door.

 

If you were really being too loud, other neighbors would've complained.

 

 

Part of working night is owning earplugs, especially if you live in an apartment. Just because they lucked out and had bed ridden mutes as upstairs neighbors previously, doesn't mean they get to complain about normal families.

 


I think your reply letter is awesome. And posting it on the same website will teach them an important lesson in just how anonymous the web isn't.

 

Oooooooo!!! If they're leaving, that means that there's a ground floor apartment opening up. Ask the apartment management to transfer you down there for your current rent.


Edited by sapphire_chan - 4/8/11 at 9:27pm
post #3 of 35

I just read your whole posting and I had to respond to let you know how much it touched me. You have been through so much. HUGS to you Mama!! Your letter is thoughtful, articulate, and sincere. Your letter also made me think about what I might do in a similar situation down the road. How would I handle it? What could I do? What might another family be going through who seem to be so noisy? What might the neighbors think?

 

While I was reading the last few paragraphs, an idea popped into my head: what would have happened if you had invited them into your house to discuss the situation? What would have happened if when they came to your door to complain about the noise, they were invited in to sit down on the couch with you while you listened to them? What would have happened if you shared this with them:

 

"In our situation... please be honest.  What would you do?  What IS there to do?  I get trying to be out of the house as much as possible, but we can't afford to go anywhere really and we are technically paying rent as well so we feel we have the right to be at home at least SOME of the time.  What would YOU do if you were us?" 

 

To be clear, I'm not at all judging you at all - I honestly don't think I would have invited them into my home either. But your post got me thinking. How can communication be improved?....

 

All the best to you.

 

post #4 of 35

I sent you a PM.

post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 

Well, tonight the neighbors thought it would be fun to mock us all by yelling, shouting, etc all night.  They're imitating the kids crying, shouting "mom", me telling them to be quiet.  They're banging on the ceiling pretending to be running.  They're slamming doors repeatedly.  They set the fire alarm beeping about four times and then yelling "fire fire fire fire fire" in this hysterical voice, which gets the rest of them laughing insanely.  (I set the smoke alarm off once for about 20 seconds while cooking dinner and I certainly didn't run around screaming fire.)  They're purposely banging on the walls, doors, swearing loudly, and imitating my husband (sort of) by saying "blahblahblahblahblah" in a loud deep voice, which again gets the rest of them laughing.

 

I'm gobsmacked that grown folk are thinking to mock kids.  Fine, they want to make fun of us, "give us a taste of our own medicine" - whatever.  Mocking a three year old crying that he got hurt and asking for mommy?  Really?  Over and over again for hours?  (It's after 4 am now, they've been at this since midnight.)

 

I'm not even angry, I'm just disappointed.

 

Thankfully DH has sleep medication so he's not hearing it, or he would be very hurt.  And thank GOD my kids are sound asleep.  They both were sick yesterday and DS had a really high fever so he was feeling MISERABLE.  I'm glad he's getting the rest he needs.

 

Sleep is so essential to everyone, young and old.  It's amazing what the lack of it will do to otherwise rational people.  I'm sure the downstairs neighbors are actually really nice and fun people that maybe we could have been friends with - had we not had kids...  Then again I don't think I'd choose to be friends with people who make fun of other people.  So maybe not.

 

___

 

For the record while we didn't invite them in, I did extend an invitation to them in a letter saying to please phone me or email me (I left my contact info) or just stop by upstairs if they wanted to talk about anything with us, because we'd love to work together with them, or brainstorm or whatever, to make this transition work smoothly for everyone.  They never responded, except for a letter three weeks later saying that we shouldn't let the kids in their room during the day and their work is suffering because they're not getting enough sleep during the day.  I did sort of invite them to talk but that was about it.  (For the record we don't have a couch, lol, so I couldn't very well invite them in - there's no sitting room at the moment other than bean bags and a recliner seat.)


Edited by seawitch - 4/9/11 at 6:39am
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 

I wish - we're on the 4th floor now and they are on the 3rd.  So not a ground floor.

 

The actual ground floor apartments regularly get broken into from the outside - so I'd really rather not petition for one of those.  =/

post #7 of 35

I hope you called the cops on them.

 

Behavior that is fine from a 3 year old is unacceptable in an adult, and behavior that is fine at 4pm is often illegal at 4am, especially if it's lasted for 4 hours.

 

 

You know what I suspect? I suspect that they aren't keeping the same day/night schedule on their days off. The people I know who've had no problem working nights for an extended period (like me with my first night shift job) stayed up during their nights off and slept during those days. The people who couldn't hack it, like me with the second night shift job I had, shifted schedules and ended up with insomnia and exhaustion within a month.

post #8 of 35

These people are INSANE! We had neighbors like that living below us before and it ended with us moving out and telling them they weren't cut out for apartment life if they can't deal with people "walking too heavily" We weren't even kids it was my mom, my sis, and I and I was the youngest and like 12 y/o. My mom was super paranoid about us making noise b/c all they did was call the landlord on us! We had lived there like 8 years and they had just moved in but we were afraid of them. It was ridiculous.

 

I HATE it when people live in an apartment and expect to not be able to hear any other people in it. That makes no sense. I say forget them and live your life. I know a lot of landlords that wouldn't deal with all the complaining and tell them to leave.

 

I also worked night shift for 1.5years 11pm-7am 5 days a week. Yes every little noise disturbed me during the day so I always wore earplugs, got a sleeping mask, and played white noise while I was trying to sleep. I certainly did not expect the world to adjust to my time.

post #9 of 35
Thread Starter 

I didn't.  They vacuumed for like 15 mins straight over where they know our bed to be, laughing hysterically.  Umm, why?  Are they pissed that we vacuum during the day (never during quiet hours)?  Is that somehow bad now for vacuuming our apartment?  It's not like we're doing it for fun.

 

I spent the night lying on the ground outside the kids room just in case they woke up that they wouldn't make noise.

 

I'm sitting here right now with the kids in something of a time out until quiet hours is over in an hour.  (They've been here for an hour.)  DD started crying - silently! - because I told her to please not tell me her story so loudly - she was getting excited and her voice was too loud - which is to say, at normal conversational level.  You can literally hear the people above/below talking - even hanging up coats.  They were repeating conversations DH and I have had together - which we weren't particularly loud about either, might I add.

 

Something has to change.

 

I didn't call the cops.  With the way that they've been supposedly reporting us left and right to management and the management's management and making up false stories about us (yes, the FIRST day they made a report saying that I "left my children unattended to make outrageous noise on their own" -and since then that I repeatedly let them go unsupervised uh no.... Nope.  I don't even take a 5 minute shower when the kids are awake just so they're not unsupervised for even that long.  Who knows what they might do/say if I called the cops on them?  They've already proven themselves to be malicious.  Do I really want to give them an opening?  They're probably begging for an excuse to get even more... well whatever they're being.  Vindictive or whatever.

 

I'm thinking of just packing the kids up and going back to our old house.  That would mean that a) all our stuff is here now so we have nothing there anymore and b) DH couldn't be with us and c) we'd still be stuck with the apartment... but it wouldn't be this living hell situation it is now where my children are mocked by neighbors and I'm constantly afraid of a false report being made about our "parental neglect" - yeah f-in right.  But I'm petrified - I've heard what can happen if malicious neighbors call DCF for revenge purposes.  Do I really want that in my life?

 

But DH can't drive (we only have one car now anyway) and although I could set up grocery shopping delivery for him... he's not supposed to be alone really for long.  He'd probably have to go back to being an inpatient in the hospital long-term.  And I don't want to do that to him.  And he can't go back to our old house because his therapy is here.


Edited by seawitch - 4/9/11 at 9:03pm
post #10 of 35

I'm sorry, but F that.  They are renters, just like you. You and your family have a right to make a reasonable amount of living noise during the day and before 10 pm.  The fact that they moved below a family just shows their lack of planning. If it was such a big deal to have quiet they would have looked long and hard to find the right place with no kids 8 feet above their heads.  I have kids and I would still never move below someone with kids!!  You owe them no excuses or explanations.  

 

Call your landlord anytime they hassle you.  Call the police if you feel threatened.  Call the police if they are making loud noise outside of normal hours.  

 

I've rented almost my entire adult life, except for about 18 months when we owned a house.  The only time I've ever complained about noise was when I lived above a wife beater and then I just called the cops every single time.

 

Stop feeling bad and being so nice.  Get angry.  You're not doing anything wrong.  

post #11 of 35

Yeah, you wouldn't be in the wrong to let your kids just be kids and play and enjoy their life.  However, the building should NOT be that easy to hear between walls... I agree with someone else... the building can't possibly be up to code if people can hear every word of a quiet conversation.  You should be able to break lease for something like that.  moreover, you can start complaining about THEM as well.  To management, to the cops... don't be afraid.  Once you report their harassing behavior (and 4 late night/early morning hours of loudly mocking you is HARASSMENT and illegal) it'll be quite difficult for them to do much more because... well you just reported them for it!

 

If they are bothering you, you shouldn't just take it and let your kids suffer for it.  They don't get the right to squash your beautiful children.  Report them for false claims and for harassment.  Tell management how ridiculous it is that you can hear COATS BEING HUNG UP between walls and floors.  Walls and floors shouldn't be that thin.  You are in the right here.

post #12 of 35

OMG OP I cannot imagine how absolutely awful it must be to have to deal with this.  I have worked 2nd to 3rd shift hours for my entire adult life and I never expected the rest of the world to adjust to my sleepy time.  They are absolutely clueless.  I'm so angry for you.

post #13 of 35
OP you are in a terrible situation and you should NOT have to suck it up. SCREW the neighbors, their behavior last night has proven they are not worthy of any consideration from you any more. You need to start playing hardball with these cruel bullies.

1. If anything like that ever happens again call the police. That is why the police exist and it's their job to advocate for you in these situations. It wound'nt be you accelerating the issue...your neighbors kindly did that for you. Plus behavior like this must be tied to drugs...I can't make sense of it otherwise.
2. If your neighbors harass you in any other way, like pounding at your door for ANY REASON, call the police.
3. Report what happened last night to the property management ASAP. Ask them what they are going to do about the crazy people they have forced you to deal with. At the very least they should be able to move you to a quieter apartment.
4. Live your life as normal during the day. Don't put your kids in front of the TV or ask them to be quiet any more. As I said before your neighbors have lost any worthiness they may have had to politeness or consideration for their needs. If they come knocking, and you feel like answering, tell them so. And then call the police and get it on record.
5. Go to you Tribes section on MDC and find another mama to play with. The world you are living in right now is surreal and you need some good normal stuff to be able to do for your sanity.

I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this OP on top of what you are already having to deal with with your husband's illness. Forgive me for saying this, but I hope your neighbors karma returns to them tenfold. And soon.
post #14 of 35
OP, you need to stop trying to cater to them. Keep your kids as quiet as you can between 9PM and 8AM (or whatever your quiet hours in your town/building are) and the rest of the time, just live your life. And by "quiet as you can," I don't mean sitting silently in bed. I mean, just not running around yelling and turning the TV up loud. Don't try to be out of the apartment all day long - you live there! You pay rent! You should get to be there! Report what happened last night to management. Call the police next time. But live like a normal family during the day. If the neighbors coming knocking on your door, you have no obligation to answer it.
post #15 of 35

And they are lying about the management saying the noise was too much. If the management really came over and investigated and thought you were too noisy, they would've gone right upstairs then to tell you.

post #16 of 35

Wow! document everything which I think you're doing, and this certainly sounds like harassment. They were doing that all night??

Hugs to you! What does the landlord say? I agree with above statements, that is harassment and make sure the landlord and if needed, police, knows your side of the story. Can you film or record their noises if they choose to repeat what they did??
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MagnoliaDragon View Post

Well, tonight the neighbors thought it would be fun to mock us all by yelling, shouting, etc all night.  They're imitating the kids crying, shouting "mom", me telling them to be quiet.  They're banging on the ceiling pretending to be running.  They're slamming doors repeatedly.  They set the fire alarm beeping about four times and then yelling "fire fire fire fire fire" in this hysterical voice, which gets the rest of them laughing insanely.  (I set the smoke alarm off once for about 20 seconds while cooking dinner and I certainly didn't run around screaming fire.)  They're purposely banging on the walls, doors, swearing loudly, and imitating my husband (sort of) by saying "blahblahblahblahblah" in a loud deep voice, which again gets the rest of them laughing.

 

I'm gobsmacked that grown folk are thinking to mock kids.  Fine, they want to make fun of us, "give us a taste of our own medicine" - whatever.  Mocking a three year old crying that he got hurt and asking for mommy?  Really?  Over and over again for hours?  (It's after 4 am now, they've been at this since midnight.)

 

I'm not even angry, I'm just disappointed.

 

Thankfully DH has sleep medication so he's not hearing it, or he would be very hurt.  And thank GOD my kids are sound asleep.  They both were sick yesterday and DS had a really high fever so he was feeling MISERABLE.  I'm glad he's getting the rest he needs.

 

Sleep is so essential to everyone, young and old.  It's amazing what the lack of it will do to otherwise rational people.  I'm sure the downstairs neighbors are actually really nice and fun people that maybe we could have been friends with - had we not had kids...  Then again I don't think I'd choose to be friends with people who make fun of other people.  So maybe not.

 

___

 

For the record while we didn't invite them in, I did extend an invitation to them in a letter saying to please phone me or email me (I left my contact info) or just stop by upstairs if they wanted to talk about anything with us, because we'd love to work together with them, or brainstorm or whatever, to make this transition work smoothly for everyone.  They never responded, except for a letter three weeks later saying that we shouldn't let the kids in their room during the day and their work is suffering because they're not getting enough sleep during the day.  I did sort of invite them to talk but that was about it.  (For the record we don't have a couch, lol, so I couldn't very well invite them in - there's no sitting room at the moment other than bean bags and a recliner seat.)



 

post #17 of 35

Ok, I stopped reading at "we drove around for six hours to placate them". Um, hell no. Seriously, that's completely insane. They are enjoying seeing how far they can abuse you. Time to change directions and become healthy and assertive...advocate for yourself and family to get the peace and safety you need, don't feed into their sociopathy! 

post #18 of 35

Quote:

Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

And they are lying about the management saying the noise was too much. If the management really came over and investigated and thought you were too noisy, they would've gone right upstairs then to tell you.


I agree with this... if management thought you were doing something wrong, they'd tell  YOU you were doing something wrong.  anyone else telling you management is saying you are being too loud can shove it.  wait til management comes themselves.

 

post #19 of 35

I would call management and tell them they are harassing you and acting crazy

post #20 of 35

I try to be really nice and accomodating to people but even I think that you are being pushed way too far and that you should not have to live like you are.  Find out the regular quiet hours, live by them, and let the rest be.  They are being mean.  Play music to cover up your family conversations and such - always have some nice classical on or something ;). 

 

Their behavior sounds ridiculous.  Don't let them bully you.

 

Tjej

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