Sun 11 Mar, 2007 03:18 pm
WARNING: This IS the short version.
Picture it: Suburban Boston, March 1, 2006...A young man, approximately 21 years of age...seemingly upstanding, part-time college student...rents his first apartment from a sweet "little old lady" type...What could possibly go wrong?
The Young Man rented the third floor, above the Older Lady.....
The Young Man worked second shift; the Older Lady often went to bed shortly after the Young Man arrived home from work.....
(Can you see where we're headed here?)
He would stay up late into the night studying with friends, usually three or four of them. His living room was above her bedroom. She tolerated it for a while until two of his friends got into a fight, not an argument, a physical fight. That was when she began to complain about the noise.
Meanwhile, on the first floor.....I continued to mind my own business because I wasn't really affected by any of it. Yeah, the friends would forget and let the storm door slam once in a while instead of closing it properly as civilized people normally do, but after living below an Older Lady with a heavy step and a limp for fourteen years, I could put up with that. The Young Man was always very respectful of me and my privacy. We shared the laundry room in the basement and were considerate of one another. If one of us left laundry in the washer and the other needed the washer, the other would move the laundry to the dryer and later to a basket if necessary. I purchased the wrong detergent once and told him to help himself because I wouldn't use it. If one ran out of laundry supplies, the other would offer up their own. You know, the whole "friendly neighbor" routine.
Apparently, when the Older Lady complained about the noise, the Young Man asked his friends to keep it down. At least one of the two who participated in the fight was asked not to return. The Young Man himself was heard several times "shushing" his friends as they ascended or descended the stairs in the front hall to enter or exit. The friends disregagrded his requests. The more the Older Lady complained, the more noise the friends made.
At some point the Young Man stopped taking classes. He also had a friend move in without telling the Older Lady who had given him a break on the rent based on single occupancy of the apartment rather than double. He had more friends over after work, usually on Thursday, Friday, AND (not or) Saturday nights. The noise got worse, and since alcohol and testosterone were involved, the fighting became more common. The Young Man would send the friends away if and when they became violent. Over time, several neighbors called the police to report fights happening outside of the house. On at least two occasions during the summer, arrests were made.
As summer turned to fall, I requested that the Young Man and his friends (and the Older Lady) please keep the outer doors in the front hall closed as the draft from the open door was going straight into my apartment. I also requested that they all (including the Older Lady) please stop letting the storm door slam because I worked crazy hours and just slept whenever I could. Yeah, that didn't work so well. The Young Man's friends would enter the house one at a time, each letting the storm door slam behind them no matter what time of day or night. As they left, usually between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m., they would go through the same ritual. The Older Lady would also let the door slam whenever she entered or exited, usually during the day.
Now I know this doesn't sound like it SHOULD disrupt my sleep patterns all that much, but I ask you to consider this: I work in retail. My work shifts can range anywhere from 6:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.-midnight. My bedroom is just off the front hallway which puts my bed, and therefore my head, approximately 15 to 20 feet from the door in question. Many a night, I'm just going to bed when the Young Man's friends are arriving. If I'm scheduled for a night shift and trying to sleep in for a bit, I'm still in bed when the Older Lady is going out for the day, or taking out the trash...one bag at a time...dragging it behind her and her heavy walk down the stairs...SLAM!...quiet pause...SLAM!...up the stairs with a heavy walk...repeat as necessary.
The Young Man's grandfather, with whom his 17 year-old brother lived, passed away at some point during the early part of winter and the brother moved in with the Young Man. Now three young men were residing in an apartment that was meant for one or two. The Young Man would leave his keys in his mailbox so his brother could enter the apartment. The Young Man's friends knew this and would let themselves in even when the Young Man was still at work. The brother's friends would visit quite often as well. Bad behavior, and therefore noise, continued to escalate as the Older Lady continued to complain. The more she tried to talk to the Young Man about it, the worse it got. Finally, toward the end of January, 2007, the Young Man was served with a notice stating that his lease would not be renewed and he would have to vacate the premises by March 1, 2007. For the entire month of February there was a party on the third floor every night. No fewer than ten friends would be drinking and making noise until early morning. The police were called every weekend, five weekends in a row, to break up fights that would literally shake the whole house. The friends would be gone by the time the police arrived because they knew when they had crossed the line and were smart enough to get out before they could be arrested for underage drinking. When my sleep wasn't disrupted by the noise I had nightmares so vivid they were like living through horror movies. They were the type of dreams that would continue or repeat when I went back to sleep.
The whole noisy group moved out Sunday, March 4 and I was convinced I would finally get a good night's sleep. That evening, the Older Lady rang my doorbell; she had tears in her eyes. Two windows were broken, and one door, and the dryer (which I believe is due to age, not malice...the dryer was 15 years old). There was a large hole in one wall and all the walls needed to be repainted but the Young Man and all of his issues were gone even though he left behind enough trash to fill fifteen 30 gallon trash bags.
On Monday the Older Lady changed the locks. My nightmares continued.
On Tuesday she and the lady around the corner (who works as a housekeeper) cleaned the apartment to get it ready for the handyman. My nightmares continued.
On Wednesday morning, the day before our local trash pickup (and my morning off), the Older Lady took the trash from the apartment to the curb...one bag at a time.....SLAM!... Over the course of an hour, the door slammed at least ten times. Every time I nodded off...SLAM! I would have helped her had she waited until later in the morning, but when I have a morning off I usually sleep until about 9:00 a.m. I would have gotten up and asked her to stop slamming the door but I kept convincing myself that "this has to be the last time." Finally, I heard her close the door to her own apartment. Perhaps she was done and I could get another half hour or so before I got up for work. I heard the storm door slam again and the doorbell rang on the second floor. It was Crazy Anthony next door (perhaps you'll be blessed with a few of those stories later). The Older Lady is deaf in one ear and Crazy Anthony is quite loud to begin with. The two spent the next half hour in the front hall yelling a conversation to each other as I lay in bed praying for just a few moments of peace. SLAM! Crazy Anthony left and the Older Lady returned to her apartment. I reset my alarm hoping to get about thirty minutes or so of sleep. Just as I nodded off again...I heard the front door open and the Older Lady's doorbell ring. Within minutes there was noise in the basement and men talking. The handymen had arrived. In defeat I got out of bed, put on my robe, and began my morning routine.... While getting dressed for work I sat on my bed for just a moment, physically and emotionally exhausted, and broke down into tears.
I had a talk with my boss that day so she'd understand what was going on with the situation and understand that I still hadn't had a good night's sleep and that's wy I wasn't up to my usual 110%. My nightmares continued but not as bad as they had been.
Thursday morning I dragged myself out of bed an hour late, considered calling work to say I wouldn't be in, but then decided that I'd just let them know I'd be arriving a bit later. I wanted to talk to my boss about taking Friday as a personal day so I could try to get some sleep but she was called to another store for the day. I decided to just stick it out until Sunday, my day off.
Thursday night, just as I was headed for bed, I heard a loud crash outside. Convinced it was friends of the Young Man, I cautiously went out with my cellphone in my hand...just a car accident. I asked if anyone involved needed help but they assured me they were fine. The Older Lady came out, just as frightened as I had been, and I told her it was nothing. She said she thought it was "those kids." I told her I believed we were really rid of them but the door still seemed to slam an awful lot. Mumbling something about the unseasonably cold night, she returned to her apartment. I went to bed. My nightmares continued.
Friday morning I was so exhausted that I knew I just could not be of any use to anyone. How could I be perky and friendly when I hadn't had more than one solid night of sleep in over a month? At 7:40 a.m. I called my boss's cellphone knowing she would be on her way to drop off her kids at school. She told me to stay home, take a personal day. She needed me more over the next couple of weeks than she needed me Friday morning. I didn't even have to ask.
Saturday I felt quite a bit better, more my normal self.
Today....weeeelllll..... Remember that we've turned the clocks ahead. I got up around 9:30 and did my usual Sunday morning thing. I grabbed a couple of books and a bottle of water and returned to bed with the TV remote so I could watch whatever was left of CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. The next thing I knew it was 2:00 p.m.
That didn't take long. Thanks, pal.
Well your nightmares are over, Terry. Thank goodness the "boys"
are out of the house.
Concerning the storm door, you might want to invest in one of these
silent door closers.
It has one but it's a cheap door with a cheap closer. that's why it slams instead of closing quietly.
BTW, if anyone else has a "Neighbor from Heck" story they'd like to add here, feel free.
It has one but it's a cheap door with a cheap closer. that's why it slams instead of closing quietly.
There's a adjustable setting on those things. A couple of minutes with the proper tool shoul rectify the problem.
It would be worth the investment even if you had a new door, or better closer put on. Pretty easy fix. Deduct the $$ from the next month's rent.
Moving to the now vacant third floor apartment might keep things quieter but I'm selfish and I'd rather have more stories.
Yeah, Boomer..... We want stories!
I actually took a look at the third floor apartment when it was vacant and newly renovated. It's ADORABLE. Problem is that I've got a king sized canopy bed and it wouldn't fit. Also shrinking my five rooms to those three would be quite the task. I have too much furniture and too much stuff for such a small space.
gustav--I've tried adjusting the closer but it doesn't seem to do any good. I will try again when I get a chance, though.
After my comment to the landlady about slamming the door I think she's finally realised that "those kids" weren't the only people I was complaining about when I told her that the door slamming was bothering me. I've told her repeatedly since the door was installed two years ago that its slamming rattled the walls of my living room. She's not the world's greatest listener. Yesterday evening, when she knew I was home, she went in and out without letting it slam. However, this afternoon I think she assumed I was at work when she came home from wherever she went because it slammed behind her several times as she went in and out...until she realised that yes, I was home.
What I don't get is that being the homeowner and the one responsible for the door itself, she doesn't seem to be the least bit concerned that slamming that door could break the glass in it. She has the identical door on the front and back porches of her own apartment and she lets those slam as well. Maybe her hearing has deteriorated further than I thought and she just doesn't understand how loud those doors are.
well, we have a housemate for sale. real cheap. in fact we'll pay you to take him....
Ohhhh no, no, no. You don't want to get me started on neighbors. I could tell you my life story based on who my neighbor was at the time:
There was Mr. M and his handwritten house.
And the biker gang.
And the crybaby guy.
And Mr. Oh So Sexy and Gorgeous and Nice. <sigh>
And, of course, Mo's mOther, was my neighbor in a really eternal way.
And now the girl who has psychic visions about me that are pretty true.
I've never had a neighbor from anywhere near Heck.
I meant I wanted more of TerryDoo's stories because I liked that one so much.
I lived in a duplex before. Our neighbors in the other side called the police on us multiple times one night while we were having a party, even after we really were quiet. Then another night called the police on my roommate and his friend, who were having a drink on the rear porch, not being loud.
One night my roommate and I came home, and they had some friends over, being pretty quiet hanging out on their rear deck. We called the cops on them.
we used to have neighbors from hell, but they're long gone (thank gawd!)
there was a loud saturday night party a couple times a month -- drinking games, screaming, glass breaking, furniture breaking.
they also enjoyed playing beer can wiffle ball in the wee hours of the mornin'.
never called the cops on them, but i did call their landlord and complain if they were unbearably noisy on a work night...
Well my neighbor got shot this weekend.
I've been putting up with their **** for a long time. I've complained to the landlord but never quite got to calling the cops on them. I had invested in an excellent set of headphones to listen to music/tv/or just to be quiet and read a book. They were the most ignorant, selfish, childish, loud boors I ever came across. At one point I thought they were a retarded couple because of the stupidity of their screams and fights (I could hear every word). I averaged about three hours sleep a night and had just started to get back into a normal sleep cycle when, BLAM, last night I heard popping noises and the sudden quietness of the blaring music/stuff. I grinned to myself in bed, thinking some good soul had popped their electricity to shut them the hell up, and I was almost nodded off when I got a very authoritative knocking on the door. Thinking it was le-****-heads below come to whine about the electricity being cut off, I staggered to the door to discover the po-lice. Apparently one of the two got popped (injured not killed) and the cops were investigating. I got about an hours sleep last night all in all, but for some reason I am expecting a quiet night tonight.
Em, by the way, I should point out (just in case you were wondering) it wasn't me shot them.
I may have hoped for a veneral disease, or hideous infections, or some plague to visit them, but I am a complete wuss and would not directly confront pitas.
Several years ago our neighbor--a fun loving 22 year old boy--accidently strangled his girlfriend when they were having a discussion about who finished the last joint. He bullied his father into dumping the body on a deserted road.
Resident father, middle-class. Non-resident mother, middle-class. Fun-loving boy and girlfriend both caught up in both hard and soft drugs.
The woods are quieter without the sound of his stereo.
When I was a kid, there was an old broken down house toward the end of the street. There was a creepy couple that lived there - they appeared gray and broken down too. For some reason, we "knew" they were not married, but brother and sister. They were overcoats year round and walked slowly stooped over. They were creepy and scary and hated kids (at least we thought so). For some reason we named them Mr. and Mrs. Kangaroo and would hide and shout this name as they walked by. The creepiest story was from a "true" experience of my overactive imaginative friend. She was selling lemonade one hot summer day and Mr. Kangaroo came creeping along. He asked for a glass and as he withered hand reached out from those deep pockets to give her the money, she noticed extra long sharp pointy nails with drying blood in their crevices. Several years later they simply disappeared and were never seen of again.
I also had the reincarnated Annie Wilkes from Misery nutcase as a roommate. I didn't spend much time at home during that year. And to top it off the upstairs landlord and family was quite a trip. The landlord also had her mom living with her and her adult daughter moved in too after a while (not sure where they all slept as it was a two bedroom). The landlord claimed her mom was senile and out of control, while the other two were supposedly normal. Yeah right, the daughter is chasing her mom around with a knife and they would fight like cats and dogs. The old lady was the normal and sweet one out of the bunch.