My Quick Fix on Decreasing Sound in my Apartment

About a year ago, my life was full of turmoil over my upstairs neighbor. We had a lot of issues, that I won’t rehash, but I’ve blogged about, many times. Today I was reading a post from the site, Apartment Therapy, and they asked a question about what you dislike most about your home? Well, that’s an easy answer for me, the lack of insulation and poor sound proofing. I realize that my upstairs neighbor can likely complain about our TV or voices, etc, since we can clearly hear him. I mean, I hear his phone ring and then hear him saying “hello”. I’ve lived in many apartments, and this is the first time I’ve lived in one where the sound proofing was apparently “left out”! I researched many ways to try and cut down on sound, such as adding thick drapes to shield out some noise and there’s even a spray paint that’s supposed to cut down on the acoustic sounds. But, all of this is costly, and we can’t do anything major, like adding a layer of insulation and sheet rock. We’ve alerted our new neighbor about the poor sound insulation, but that hasn’t done any good. He wears his cowboy boots everywhere, including above our bedroom at all hours, even at 4am, waking me up. It’s just a courtesy thing, and sadly, a lot of people don’t consider that their walking in heeled shoes would be a nightmare to the tenant below them.

We’ve learned that talking to our apartment manager was useless and only made the situation worse, much worse. So, we’ve decided we have to learn to deal with it, because financially, we’re not in a position to move. Plus, we’ve been here for five years and we really do love our apartment, with that major exception! I will say I’ve found a fairly decent solution to cutting down on some noises. I have a TV in my bedroom,  but because I have etiquette, I would never play my TV after 10pm as a common courtesy to my neighbor. I would certainly hope he wouldn’t turn his TV or radio on after a certain time, as well. The solution we came up with is, is getting wireless headphones. I researched online and we decided on a pair of RCA wireless headphones that we purchased on Amazon. We ended up loving them so much, we got two more pairs for our other TV’s. The sound quality is great and it blocks out all outside noises. I never feel guilty about watching TV late, in bed, and I can wear them walking around my house because they’re wireless. Another great feature, is that they run on rechargeable batteries! So, when my neighbor is having his loud days or it’s late at night, my wireless headphones help me to enjoy my TV show, versus cursing out my obnoxious neighbor!

Here’s a link to the headphones we got, I have had zero complaints and would highly recommend them to anyone! And no, I don’t work for RCA or get any financial gain from writing about them; although, that would be completely welcomed!



Dealing with An Unreasonable Neighbor #apartment #renting

Well, last time I blogged, I was reaping the rewards of working out an issue with my upstairs neighbor. I had written her a letter asking that she keep down the noise level at 6AM; specifically, slamming her closet door in the bedroom. She responded by being extremely apologetic and even gave me a plant. I really thought that we were going to work out wonderfully. A few days later, I was woke up at 2AM then 3 AM the following night, by numerous sounds, all inappropriate banging and slamming noises. I can’t imagine what could be happening upstairs, but I did later learn that my neighbor says she fell at 2am, which explains why I was jolted awake. She apparently has severe mobility issues and will often times, fall, very loudly. I wondered why a woman would choose to live on the second floor of an apartment with hardwood floors, alone. But, I fully believe that her daughter spends most of her time here, possibly 5 out of 7 days a week. It’s very rare that I don’t see her daughter. I fully understand that she should likely be living with someone, but her daughter isn’t on the lease, and seems to be the one who is especially noisy.

I spoke with my landlord who informed me that my upstairs neighbor wrote her a note and left her my notes; I had left another note after the 2 and 3 AM wake up calls. Which I did receive a response stating that she couldn’t possibly be any louder than the maintenance work going on, which happens to be during the day. She also said she heard my husband and I speaking very loudly and just realizes this is apartment living. So basically, she’s telling me to deal with it and get over myself. Our landlord was a bit confused as to how to proceed as she views both of us as “nice” ladies. I have rented here for over 3 years, the new tenant for less than a month. Some of the comments that my upstairs neighbor left in her note to my manager is that she felt my husband and I were fighting and using very abusive language. Granted, I do argue with my husband and I can’t specifically remember all that is said, but it’s never at an unGodly hour, like 2, 3 or 6 am. I believe the fight we had was at 3:30PM, as we have been quite stressed over his losing his job. Do I think arguing is appropriate? No, but husbands and wives talk to each other perhaps differently than what you may think you would. We’ve been together for 14 years and married for 10, there is nothing abusive about our relationship. Furthermore, I can hear her and her daughter talking all hours of the day and night, yet I’ve never complained about talking. It’s always about the loud banging and slamming noises I hear at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

My landlord spoke with my upstairs neighbor about her letter and then spoke to me the next day. I informed my landlord that I didn’t think she had spoken to my neighbor as it was as noisy as any other day and I didn’t notice any difference. She said she was very clear about noise levels and appropriate times of day, etc. I told her that I too tried to explain that I realize this is not a library and that we will hear each other, but that it was common courtesy to not be so noisy when people are trying to sleep. We decided that it’s quite possible the noise I’m hearing is the daughter cleaning after her mom goes to bed. Some of the noises sound like chairs or tables being scooted around, making a very loud squeaking sound. I hear noises of cords being dropped and the sound of a mop being banged about the apartment. One may wonder how I can possibly hear all of this? It’s loud! It’s especially loud at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

Here I write to you on a Sunday morning before 9AM with lots and lots of banging sounds above me. This morning I was woke up at 6 by, I assume,  cleaning noises. Then I was blessed with hammer noises; I have no idea what in the world that could be for. And the ever present thump, thump, thumping of their stomping feet. I’m tired and worn out. I haven’t spoken to my landlord for a few days;  I’m sure she thinks that everything is just fine as she hasn’t heard from me. I don’t know if I should just call and say, no, nothing has changed or just leave it alone and live this way. Our lease is up after our August rent and we have to give a 30 day notice. I made it clear to my landlord that we were very much leaning towards moving out. Oh, and one comment our landlord said that really bothers us is, she said she talked to the owner who said he didn’t want the new tenant to feel ganged up on, nor did he want to lose a new tenant. Seriously? What about the ones that have been here for 3 years that have never been late on our rent or ever had any complaints made about us?

I think it’s time we leave our apartment. We love it, but it’s become miserable. I realize, and fear, that wherever we move could be much, much worse. I’ve lived in 14 apartments since I moved out of my parents’ home. So, I know what a good and bad neighbor is. I know that I’ll likely never live on the ground floor of an apartment building that has hardwood floors. I know if I live on the top unit of an apartment with hardwood floors, I will put down rugs and never wear shoes inside. Of course, I’ll never wake anyone up with any kind of noise at 2, 3 or 6AM. I would even consider asking the downstairs neighbor if the noise level is bad. I will research online reviews of apartment buildings to see if there are complaints about noise levels. I don’t want to keep moving and I do want to be settled. I had hoped that my current home would be my “forever” home, but I don’t think I can live like it is. It’s difficult to work with a neighbor who doesn’t see that there is anything wrong with cleaning at an early hour. You just can’t reason with someone like that.

Thankfully, we have another month to figure out what our long term plans will be. To Be Continued…

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:


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 😉