General Etiquette > Life...in general

How to live next to a crabby neighbor

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Kitri:
I am sad/disgusted/at a loss about how to make the best of this situation.  My husband and I just completed a difficult and expensive move from an apartment living above a drug addict to a twin house in a quiet neighborhood.  We were so happy to be in this new situation, with an older couple, Bill and Suzy, as the neighbors living in the other twin.  Well, the walls are very thin, and we can hear everything next door.  Unfortunately I have health problems and insomnia, and for the past two weeks these neighbors are waking me up too early, between 6 to 6:30 most days, with what sounds like they are pushing things around on the opposite side of my bedroom wall.  My husband is self-employed and I work for him.  I purposely put the t.v. and computer in a room far from their bedroom so as not to disturb them with our own noise.  We are up late most nights, and are usually up and out between 8 and 9 am.  But when I can't get enough sleep I can't function, and it isn't pretty when I fall asleep around 1 am.  One morning I turned the light on and it was 5:45!!  Now they are hooking up fios so their grandsons can watch tv and play video games next to my bedroom wall.  Since this began I pondered what to do about it.  Neither my husband nor I wanted to say anything about this, because Suzy yells at Bob everyday and seems to anger problem.  But I decided that I had to just make them aware of the issue.  Trying to ignore the noise isn't really possible anymore.  Bob did tell me to let them know if we can hear their big t.v.  I tried to convince my husband that perhaps we should try to go to sleep and get up earlier, but when he comes home at 8 or 8:30 at night, he doesn't want to go to bed at 10.

I bought a very good pie and wrote a letter in a beautiful card.  I was extremely careful with my choice of words.  I told them how grateful we are to be living in this neighborhood and to have them as neighbors.  I let them know the issue, and I didn't even ask them to do anything differently.  I let them know when we are usually up and out for work, and I thanked them. I left the note with the pie on their front step, and when I returned home hours later, the pie was sitting on my doormat without any note.  It was an inscrutable and disturbing thing that caused me to fret for days.

Two days later Suzy knocked on my door and rang my doorbell yesterday.  She was sort of aggressive, waving my note around and smacking it with her finger, saying, "I want to talk to you about this note..." Though I thanked her repeatedly for taking time to talk to me, afterwards it left a bad taste.  Basically she came over to defend herself, not to do anything else.  She told me I was the first neighbor she had that had ever complained ( I wouldn't term the wording in my note as a "complaint").   She told me again and again that she and her husband are too old and infirm to move furniture, that she wishes that she could do such a thing, and that either I was essentially imagining the noises, or the deer outside made them.  I've never heard a deer make such noises.  We were both nervous, and she was breathing loudly, because she was upset as she spoke.  She didn't mention the expensive pie I gave her that she tossed back onto my doormat, and when she was finished telling me what she wanted me to hear, she turned around and went back into her house, no "bye" or "see you later" or "have a nice day".  At first I was relieved that we had spoken, and was glad that I handled it "gracefully".  Now that I think of it, it is still disappointing; not neighborly at all.  I've been feeling more and more bitter, and start to dread coming home.  This morning I heard the noises again at 6:30. 

My initial impression of her is solidifying - she is aggressive, impetuous, loud, and generally an unhappy person, and we are separated by 1 inch of drywall and 2 or 3 inches of air without soundproofing.  She and her henpecked husband aren't going anywhere - she intends "to die" while living at this address, I was told.  The last tenant lived here 2 years.

I would greatly appreciate anyone's take on this situation, and any advice on how to make the best of this, since we aren't moving again for a long time.

Outdoor Girl:
Can you move to a bedroom that doesn't share a wall with the neighbours?  And then put your 'noisy' stuff in your current bedroom?  They obviously aren't concerned about your comfort so as long as you aren't unreasonable about using your TV and computer in that room, say not past midnight and not before 8:00 am, they can't really say much.

And if they do, smile sweetly and say that you did tell them that sound travelled through the wall and since they wouldn't help you do anything to mitigate the noise, you rearranged your living space so it wouldn't bother you any more.  They are welcome to do the same.

MrTango:
It sounds like you're renting.  Is that correct?

If so, I would bring your issues to the landlord and ask them to please install soundproofing between the two units.  Let the landlord know that your neighbor has demonstrated an unwillingness to work out the issue with you.

If you own your half of the unit, I'd just go ahead and install the soundproofing myself (or, rather, hire a contractor to do it).

Outdoor Girl:

--- Quote from: MrTango on December 06, 2012, 03:26:19 PM ---I'd just go ahead and install the soundproofing myself (or, rather, hire a contractor to do it).

--- End quote ---

This is better than my idea, if you can afford to do it.  But after mentioning that the move was expensive, I'd assumed that money was tight.

MindsEye:
A couple of questions:
Do you and your DH rent or own your half of the twin?
Do you know if your neighbors rent or own?

If you (either just you or both of you) rent... my advice would be to go to the landlord.

The landlord can perhaps install soundproofing.  The landlord can also perhaps approach your neighbors about their noise.

Can you move your bedroom away from the shared wall?  Maybe use a white-noise machine?  Frankly I would swap your bedroom with the room your put the computer/TV in!

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