A Letter to My Neighbor

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that I’ve had some “issues” with a new upstairs neighbor. Specifically, being woke up at 4 in the morning by slamming doors and loud walking. Two days in a row without getting good sleep, makes for a very crabby lady here. Not only was I crabby and tired, I was starting to fear for my long term plans. I wasn’t sure if I was going to renew my lease or start looking elsewhere. I even called another apartment complex to inquire. I’m always online looking for apartments, just to see what else is out there, but now I was doing so with more vengeance, because I was seriously thinking I needed to move out. I went online to both twitter and google to search for what to do! I did receive a negative comment in regards to my question whether you would be nervous to find out if your neighbor had a mugshot? It was a simple question. In no way, shape or form, would I deny that anyone could find themselves in their lifetime with a mugshot. I understand that having a mugshot does not equate you are a rotten and horrible person. (I did learn that it’s not my neighbor with the mugshot, but it’s most likely her daughter. Just a side note.) But, if you judge me based on one sentence, then you are guilty of what you’re blaming me for! Again, just because someone has a mugshot, does not make them guilty or horrible. There is always more to a story, just like there was more to my question. Just ask, I would be glad to elaborate. Sorry, went off a little there, just frustrating when people, who you think are your friends, judge you based on a 140 character limit! That aside, most people would be a little nervous to know that their neighbor has a mugshot for theft. It’s natural and human to be nervous. Period.

Because I was a bit timid about this and I have anxiety issues, I was starting to spiral about everything. I was depressed and anxious about what my future held. This may sound crazy to some, but for those of us who are disabled, our home is our everything. So, the idea of having to move or feel threatened in your own home, is very scary. It’s very hard coming to grips on what to do, you almost feel stuck. I know I don’t have a lot of money and it’s hard to just pack up and move when you spend a lot of your time in bed. It’s also hard to move when you love your home. Prior to all of this neighbor drama, I loved where I live. Granted, there are a few things that bother me, one of which is that my washer and dryer is down in the shared basement, but that’s something  I’ve learned to live with for three years now. When I went to google “How to Deal with a Noisy Neighbor” I found from the funny to silly in responses. No, putting a lit bag of doggy poo at my neighbors door isn’t my style. Other responses suggested that I bang on my ceiling, but I think that can be risky because two can play that game! When you start banging back they may take great offense and then target you for any and all noise. There were level headed responses like, well, tell the neighbor how you’re feeling. Since I’ve never met my neighbor, face to face, I was really nervous about this too. So, I did what I do best, I wrote her a letter.

The letter was very nice and I started it by welcoming her to the neighborhood. I told her I hope she enjoyed living in her new home as much as I have during my past three years. I then spoke humbly about how, although the homes are redecorated beautifully, insulation was an afterthought. I discussed how since they removed the carpet, the new hardwood floors just amplified all noise, unfortunately. I wrote that the same was true with doors, that anytime they close a little heavy, it sounds like they’re being slammed below because of the poor insulation. I did report my concern about being woke up at 4 and then 5:30 AM two days in a row by slamming closet doors. I then discussed how I live with chronic pain issues and not getting proper sleep makes for a miserable day the next day. I stated that I am almost certain she has no idea how loud certain things are below, because most apartments provide more sound proofing than ours do. I also discussed how I hear her little dog howling when she leaves, but that it never bothers me and that I would never complain about that. I wanted her to feel comfortable knowing that I wasn’t bothered by his little sobs, although I just want to give him a hug. I wrote that I sincerely apologize for any TV noises. We have three TV’s in my home, yes it’s a small apartment, but we have a TV in our living room, office and bedroom. I stated that I would never turn my bedroom TV on after 10pm out of respect for her sleep. I did state that should I learn she worked nights, I would have no problem in switching this and not turning the bedroom TV on during the day. I then asked about cigarette smoking; I now know that the person I saw smoking was her daughter. I asked if she wouldn’t mind not lighting her cigarette outside my window because I’m allergic; they give me migraines. I stated that unfortunately our windows aren’t sealed very great either. I followed it by saying ” I hope I don’t sound like an old lady. I’m 38. I just hope that we can make a few adjustments. I am open to any that you have as well. I want to “co-habitate” as friendly neighbors. Again, welcome!”. Signed by me.

I taped the letter to her mailbox and waited. About an hour later, my husband brought in a note from her. She started it by thoroughly apologizing for any inconvenience she caused me and stated that her closet doors became off track, which has happened to me many times. So that’s why it was banging. She stated that she completely understood about my need for good sleep as she too has a chronic illness, she didn’t say what. She also admitted that cigarette smoke gives her a migraine, she says her daughters visit and they smoke out back on the balcony, but that she asks them to keep it far away from her. She reported that she would be buying more rugs to help with the sound proofing and was hopeful that, that would be the key. She stated that my TV’s do not bother her one bit and to play them anytime I want; I still won’t turn my TV on in bed after 10, I would feel awful if I was possibly keeping someone awake. Overall, she was extremely polite and thankful to me for my letter. Stating that she firmly believes in communication and believes that we could resolve any issues by being open together. She also indicated that she is a nurse and that should I need anything to ask. I felt like a huge HUG after I read her letter. With the extremely stressful week that I had, this letter was perfect. I knew that she could take my letter one of two ways, thankfully, she appreciated what I wrote. Also, this morning, I woke up to this:

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So, I am so relieved! The moral of the story, go with your heart. If you are kind, you likely get kindness in return. Not always, but at least you were doing the right thing. I think now she and I will be great neighbors. Now, if I hear a loud noise, I can smile, knowing that she is probably doing her best to keep the volume level down. Sometimes, we think the worst until we get to know the person. That’s the negative of most human nature. I’m glad I took the time to write to her and she seems to appreciate the open communication. Now, on to work on world peace 😉

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