Apartment Living, Folks

This blog is later than usual because we have had QUITE the weekend full of diseases and infections. Weeeeee! It is nothing but fun over in Duprez Land. The magical land of coughing so much you puke and crusties leaking out of face holes and pink eye. PINK EYE.

Anyway – before infection rained down upon us we had Kathleen come over (aren’t you glad you came over to the house of disease and snot, Kathleen?!) to help us with Gabe while we finished hanging some photos. My goal is to have everything completed (At least in the public places? Our bedroom is still a little bit of a cluster) by Gabe’s birthday. So Kathleen was there, we were all chatting, Kamel was doing 90% of the work with his measuring tape and pencil and level and hammering and I was art directing the apartment. That goes there, well maybe not there, well let’s not have too many photo clusters and you can see both photo clusters from this angle so let’s put this over there and so and so forth. It was about 1:30 pm and we had finished up putting 5 frames in the kitchen nook and were just about to hang 4 photo above our TV when a knock came at our door.

It was our downstairs neighbor.

“Hi, I’m [insert name here that I can’t remember, sorry lady], Niko’s mom. And his nap time is between noon and 2, and it isn’t going well today. Is it possible for you to stop hammering?”

I said sure, because I’ve never been asked to be quiet ever in my life and especially not in the middle of the day on a Saturday. I shut the door and turned around – Kamel was standing, hammer in hand.

It’s not that I don’t have compassion. I do have compassion, I get what it is like when you’re kid is having a rough day in the nap department. The part where I stop giving a fuck is this: You live in an apartment building! With a lot of other people! We share some walls and we share some common areas and we all silently agree to not be loud after 10pm, except maybe on Friday nights when if it goes until 11pm, you’re forgiven. Even if I have a kid, even if you live next door to me, even if it wakes my kid up. Because it is the price we pay for apartment living.

I had asked Kathleen to come over especially to watch Gabe while we hustled and got shit done. What if we had paid a babysitter? It was the middle of the day. It was on a weekend. Am I now required to keep in mind little Niko’s naps while also keeping in mind my own kid’s? And when would be a better time to put stuff on our wall? To build furniture? To do those things that are louder than normal? Because I’m thinking Saturday in the middle of the day was about the best I could do.

But I said we would cool it on the photos, because there is something to say for being neighborly. And maybe one day when I am in a jam I can call upon her to do me a solid, but probably not. Probably not ever. So chalk it up to good karma, even with a side order of rant.

And welcome to apartment living. Sometimes your neighbors do things that are inconvenient for you, in their own space, that they pay for. And sometimes you have to take your kid for a drive or a walk just to get through nap time. Just because I also have a kid doesn’t mean it’s ok to inconvenience me and my family because you think we “get” each other.

13 thoughts on “Apartment Living, Folks”

  1. I’m of two minds on this issue – on the one hand, when people are living so close together, sometimes its totally valid to ask for a little consideration and to try to get along so everyone is happy, but on the other hand… sometimes it just shouldn’t be your problem. We generally put up with everything (including whoever it is that lets his/her dog SCRAPE against our door every time they go to the elevator… ARGH) but there is somebody new on the hall who is a smoker and whose smoke is starting to permeate our apartment… THAT is something we will be complaining about.

    And I think you make a really good point – in the middle of the day on a saturday is THE time to get stuff done, and it isn’t like you guys have been making noise for days or consistently interrupting his naps or anything.

    This is kind of scattered and I don’t really have anything else to add except that I hope you guys don’t let that impact your behavior on weekends in the future. that is precious get-shit-done time, people!

    1. I think it is SUPER important to be mindful of your neighbors, both in your actions AND in respecting their need to be loud for a hot second or even a couple hours. We all live together in a sense and some forgiveness and understanding works both ways. And ya know, we put away the tools, but I would have never asked a neighbor to cool it in the middle of the day like that because that is an incredible imposition.

    2. I think what rubbed me the wrong way about your neighbor was the implication that her baby’s nap was more important than what you were doing. It’s not like you were banging away at 9pm or something.

  2. ohhhhh I totally agree. We have THE MOST OBNOXIOUS neighbors ever, but I refuse to complain before 10pm. And I give them leeway on Fri/Sat nights, too. The baby has a white noise machine and a fan on in her room for that reason. And if the neighbors wake her up from a nap? Well, that sucks, but I live in an apartment. Life’s a bitch sometimes. 😉

  3. We’re in a rowhouse, not an apartment, so we only have 2 wall-sharing neighbors to contend with, but I agree that part of living in any degree of proximity to one another is dealing with each other noise. There are standards – not before 7 AM/after 10 PM (a little later on the weekend), but generally my neighbors get to live their lives with all the noise that entails, and I deal with it. Luckily we have relatively quiet neighbors (no loud parties every night, no all day construction projects), but mostly you just get used to it/live with it. I used to have a neighbor (when I lived in an apartment) who would walk around on her hardwood floors in her heels (at 6 in the morning, while getting ready for work). It drove me crazy, but I never said anything to her about it! Anyway, I tend to give folks the benefit of the doubt – maybe this lady was having an exceptionally awful day and naptime was her only chance at saving her sanity – but no matter what the circumstances, you are totally right – noise is part and parcel of apartment living and hanging pictures during daylight hours is totally reasonable. Also, now I want to see your photo arrangement!

  4. I was always amazed at the noise complaints I got working as an apartment landlord. “So they were ‘walking loudly’ at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon?…Yeah, no, I’m sorry, that’s normal. They have to be able to walk.”

    You hear stories of parents going apeshit on FedEx drivers for knocking on the door during naptime. It always boggles my mind. Like, we live in a society with generally accepted business/waking/social hours. You can’t expect everyone to revolve around YOUR scheduling idiosyncrasies.

    Same goes for people working odd shifts (again, another issue that came up a lot as apartment landlord). If you work the night shift, you can’t expect everyone to be absolutely silent during your sleep schedule. We have first-hand experience with this one, as Byron worked night shift for a long time. Sometimes his sleep got interrupted by apartment neighbors. He’d get annoyed, but never confront anyone about it. Because, you know, communal space and societal contracts, people.

    1. As a 911 dispatcher I get these calls when they can’t get in touch with the apartment manager and it astounds me!! Oh there are people laughing outside of your apartment at 8pm? I’ll send an officer right over. Same with working night shift. I can’t expect everyone else’s day to stop just because I need some quiet, that’s what white noise machines are for.

      Nap times can be troublesome, but I can’t think of a better time to be able to make some noise then that middle of the day on Saturday!! And what’s with her telling you the times he naps? Does this mean you have to keep it in mind from now on? Annoying!!

        1. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working at 911 it’s that I haven’t utilized it to its full potential. Directions? 911. Correct time? 911. And of course noise complaints on a college campus on a Saturday night at 8pm.

  5. I would advise all the “Niko’s” moms and dads out there to be reasonable. Babies need to learn to live in the real world and not a sensory-deprivation chamber. Lauren was being well within apartment codes and has the right to live a normal life. The only thing that might help a bit, is to let the neighbor know next time if construction is going to happen. Not cancel the work, but just let her know so she can plan accordingly.

    When my daughter was around 8, we lived in a place where the couple down the hall could be heard making love. That was interesting, to say the least. They were within the hours allowed for “making some noise”.

    Having lived in apartments most of my adult life, I certainly understand the challenges, although I prefer apartments to houses, renting to owning.

  6. I have to admit that I’ve gone for the polite knock on the door and asked someone to stop their tradie from hammering because my kid was trying to sleep… but to be fair, it was 8pm and they were literally hammering something right outside my son’s window at the side of our house and had been at it for two hours. I thought it was reasonable because, to me, acceptable tradies work hours are 7-8am to 4-5pm (who has a carpenter stay on till 8pm??). I’m happy to deal with nap time noise during the day and even general party noise at night, but the night-time hammering just seemed out of order. We live in a house in the ‘burbs, though, so maybe the rules are different.

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