Author Topic: How to live next to a crabby neighbor  (Read 9761 times)

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HorseFreak

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2012, 02:11:53 PM »
I have a free white noise app through my Android phone called Lightning Bug. It's even customizable and for a small fee (a buck) you can get more choices.

Just Lori

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2012, 09:01:25 PM »
There are my miracle solution for noise.  Seriously, I started using them during my apartment dwelling days and I continue to keep them handy around my snoring husband:

http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leight-MAX-1-plugs-Uncorded/dp/B0033YLEGO/ref=sr_1_fed1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1354931769&sr=8-3&keywords=leight+earplugs

Kitri

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2012, 11:20:03 PM »
Thank you all for your input so far.  This was not my first contact with the neighbor, we spoke to each other a few times before this.  I wouldn't consider them "elderly".  On one occasion her husband volunteered that if their t.v. should bother us, because it is often loud (his own words), we only have to let them know.  The pie was wrapped very securely and packed in a tied plastic bag, and the card was taped to the outside.  I made it clear that it was from myself; it was not "anonymous".  I would have tied it to the doorknob but a screen door blocked that.  In my old apartment I routinely welcomed new neighbors with a card and a bag of cookies or pumpkin bread, and every one of them appreciated it.    This noise issue occurred every day for two weeks.  I needed to inform her somehow, and while "in person" may be the ideal way to do this, I did nothing to cause her to react the way she did.  With my hours being so different than hers, I couldn't easily talk to her face to face.  And feeling so exhausted and touchy about this, I chose to write because I wasn't sure if I could handle "face-to-face" if she wasn't receptive.

These sounds are not routine "getting ready for work" sounds.  These are sliding, banging, dropping, and on two mornings, someone was hammering nails into the wall.  The room on the other side of my bedroom wall is not their bedroom, it is their home office.  I have been an early riser most of my life; I am aware that people have to get up early to go to work, etc.  These are not drawers being opened.  And when I say I hear her yelling angrily at her husband, that is what I meant.  Unfortunately I often can hear what she is saying.

I have been looking into soundproofing.  My landlord already thought my asking for a peephole and a deadbolt was odd (we live in the country).  I literally looked at hundreds of properties, and this was the best thing I could afford.  I am seriously considering moving where I sleep, but I have to replace my bed to do that. 

The main reason I consulted this forum is that, now that this has already happened, I am concerned about having a peaceful coexistence with my neighbor, because I want our home to be a place of rest to come home to...(and I don't want to have to skulk around trying to avoid my neighbor).   I appreciate your thoughtful and honest opinions.

Lynn2000

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2012, 11:42:55 PM »
OP, I know exactly what you mean about wanting your home to be a peaceful "place of rest to come home to." When I had noisy neighbors (especially the angry ones), this was what really upset me, that I would dread coming home or going to bed instead of being able to relax in my own home.

For me, it was important to take control of the situation, and make my home "my own" again through my own efforts. I was very skeptical of the white noise machine at first but, as I said, I really like it now. I could also hear people having conversations through the walls, and the white noise machine at least muffles the words so I'm not drawn in to what they're saying. Some people like to play music a lot or keep the TV on even if they're not watching it; even if you don't think these things will work, it might be worth trying them for a week or two--you have to try it for at least that long, to let yourself get used to it. The first couple nights I had the white noise machine I felt like I'd made a big mistake, but then I got used to it.

For your own peace of mind, you may also want to communicate with your neighbors again, just to end on a "good" note with them. Even if it's just a casual, "Hi! Wow, your flowers look great today!" you will probably feel a lot better if they reply in a friendly way. Also, could you possibly find a way to talk to the husband, instead of the wife? It seems like he was initially more accommodating--mentioning the TV volume and so forth. Maybe you could say something like, "Hi, neighbor! Hey, are you guys putting together a bookshelf or something? Maybe my DH could come over and help you with--You're not? Oh, I just thought I heard hammering the other day in your office." Or whatever is applicable.
~Lynn2000

Deetee

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2012, 12:43:15 PM »
I'm with Lynn. You tried to communicate with them and it didn't solve your problem. Now you need to forget about making anyone else change their behaviour and just accept that
a) you have to live in the house
b) you will have noisy neighbours.

It's not really fair or nice, but (as much as I hate this expression) it is what it is.

So the room that was going to be your bedroom simply doesn't work. Don't worry about what they are doing, just realise that it will be noisy there.

Then decide if you want to get a new bed for the other room (that would be my choice) or a white noise (if you have a smart phone, you might as well try it out first)

Margo

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2012, 06:51:23 AM »
Is it possible to speak to the husband? It sounds as though he may be more reasonable, if he already brought up the possibility of the TV being loud.

You could also mention to him that you feel you've got off on the wrong foot with his wife, although you meant to be neigbourly by sending the pie and by trying to raise the issue politely.

If that doesn;t work, then don;t take no for an answer from the neighbour. And document the problem, so if you do have to try to raise it again, either with the landlord, or the neighbor, you can be specific.

dharmaexpress

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2012, 09:33:33 AM »
If I received the pie, I'd see it for what it was - an attempt to be pleasant while also letting me know about an issue.  I don't think that was a giant mistake, and if OP's assessment of the neighbor is correct, she would have bristled no matter how it was approached.

I only have practical suggestions: the white noise machine, and also rugs if you happen to have uncarpeted floors.  Things on the walls also damper sound - I have a couple of large, unframed canvases and wow do they quiet things down from outside and next door.

Neighbor problems are so upsetting; I hope you can work something out without having to rearrange your whole house OP.

ETA re the etiquette part - act like nothing has happened.  IMO, the better part of manners is to address and issue and then don't dwell on it; it gives the other person a chance to correct themselves and not feel like they are going to be punished or that now there's a feud.  Sometimes after a little time passes, they get over it too and are more amenable to resolution.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 09:45:23 AM by dharmaexpress »

wolfie

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2012, 10:51:03 AM »
If that doesn;t work, then don;t take no for an answer from the neighbour. And document the problem, so if you do have to try to raise it again, either with the landlord, or the neighbor, you can be specific.

How can she not take no for an answer? If her neighbors don't want to stop whatever they are doing there is nothing she can do to make them stop.

RebeccainGA

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2012, 11:17:54 AM »
One practical suggestion - they sell HUGE sheets of styrofoam (it's often pink or blue) intended for soundproofing/insulating homes. It's lightweight, easy to cut and paint (water based paints do well on it, and you can cut it with ordinary scissors), and with a minimum of work could be installed on the entire wall with no significant damage to the wall or the furniture. It's sold at home improvement stores (Lowes, Home Depot). We used it as sound proofing at college, in a sound room for the theatre (we had it leftover from a set we'd built) and it worked very well. With a second pair of hands, a few hours, and a minimal investment, you could have a really big improvement. Plus, since it's paintable and removable, you have an instant accent wall if you want, even if you can't paint the apartment.

onyonryngs

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2012, 11:24:04 AM »
One practical suggestion - they sell HUGE sheets of styrofoam (it's often pink or blue) intended for soundproofing/insulating homes. It's lightweight, easy to cut and paint (water based paints do well on it, and you can cut it with ordinary scissors), and with a minimum of work could be installed on the entire wall with no significant damage to the wall or the furniture. It's sold at home improvement stores (Lowes, Home Depot). We used it as sound proofing at college, in a sound room for the theatre (we had it leftover from a set we'd built) and it worked very well. With a second pair of hands, a few hours, and a minimal investment, you could have a really big improvement. Plus, since it's paintable and removable, you have an instant accent wall if you want, even if you can't paint the apartment.

I love that idea!  That's great!

despedina

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2012, 11:43:35 AM »
I would at least try the landlord.  Not sure how long your lease is but I'm sure the landlord would rather keep you as a tenant instead of finding another.

Kitri

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2012, 11:42:00 PM »
I really do appreciate all of the helpful comments.  The noises continue every morning.  The odd thing is that even though these neighbors are retired and are home all day, they only make significant noise early in the morning, between 6 and 8.  What I've wondered is why they can't do whatever it is they're doing in their home office any other time of the day.  I was hoping they would get that idea when I wrote the times that we usually leave the house in the morning.  If she denies that they make any noise in there, when I can clearly hear them, then it seems clear that they are not willing to be helpful, and have returned to their activities with gusto.

I have looked into soundproofing options.  Many are expensive.  I found homasote at Home Depot, but it is extremely crumbly.  I have a lot of artwork I need to hang, and most of these options don't really work with that.  The pink/blue foam insulation idea sounds very interesting.  I didn't look into that yet. By water-based paint, do you mean latex house paint?  We are not allowed to paint the walls (the landlord didn't want to paint them at all other than to cover dirty spots).  I like the insulation idea, and was wondering, what is this kind of foam insulation called?

Kitri

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2012, 12:07:08 AM »
If I received the pie, I'd see it for what it was - an attempt to be pleasant while also letting me know about an issue.  I don't think that was a giant mistake, and if OP's assessment of the neighbor is correct, she would have bristled no matter how it was approached.

I only have practical suggestions: the white noise machine, and also rugs if you happen to have uncarpeted floors.  Things on the walls also damper sound - I have a couple of large, unframed canvases and wow do they quiet things down from outside and next door.

Neighbor problems are so upsetting; I hope you can work something out without having to rearrange your whole house OP.

ETA re the etiquette part - act like nothing has happened.  IMO, the better part of manners is to address and issue and then don't dwell on it; it gives the other person a chance to correct themselves and not feel like they are going to be punished or that now there's a feud.  Sometimes after a little time passes, they get over it too and are more amenable to resolution.
[/color]
Thank you for your understanding.  The note with the pie was my attempt to address the issue in a light-hearted, friendly, non-confrontational way.  I don't think face to face would have worked any better with this person.  I am used to having to deal with thoughtless neighbors having rented for so many years.  In my last apartment I had to run 4 air cleaners to cope with endless cigarette smoke from the downstairs neighbor. Besides the bother of trying to change my room to cope with this, I really hate the awkward feelings now.  Seeing the limitations of the situation, I do think this approach will help to create peace - at least in my mind...


Ohjustlovely

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2012, 01:08:19 AM »
Golly, Kitri, I had no idea you had it so bad!  About the part when 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? Did she actually throw it at the doormat? Was she aiming and missed?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 01:24:14 AM by Ohjustlovely »

RebeccainGA

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Re: How to live next to a crabby neighbor
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2012, 08:35:55 AM »
I really do appreciate all of the helpful comments.  The noises continue every morning.  The odd thing is that even though these neighbors are retired and are home all day, they only make significant noise early in the morning, between 6 and 8.  What I've wondered is why they can't do whatever it is they're doing in their home office any other time of the day.  I was hoping they would get that idea when I wrote the times that we usually leave the house in the morning.  If she denies that they make any noise in there, when I can clearly hear them, then it seems clear that they are not willing to be helpful, and have returned to their activities with gusto.

I have looked into soundproofing options.  Many are expensive.  I found homasote at Home Depot, but it is extremely crumbly.  I have a lot of artwork I need to hang, and most of these options don't really work with that.  The pink/blue foam insulation idea sounds very interesting.  I didn't look into that yet. By water-based paint, do you mean latex house paint?  We are not allowed to paint the walls (the landlord didn't want to paint them at all other than to cover dirty spots).  I like the insulation idea, and was wondering, what is this kind of foam insulation called?

Yes, water based general house grade latex paint. You can paint it before installing, even, and do it outdoors so you don't get paint anywhere. We used it extensively in the theatre, because it soundproofs, is easy to handle, easy to cut, and paints well. I'm not sure of the brand name or anything - we always just called it styrofoam sheeting, and never had trouble finding it at the hardware store close to the school. It's in sheets the size of a full sheet of plywood - really big. You might be able to get away with one or two pieces for the whole wall, depending on the size of your room.