Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Oh, How I Wish It Were True

Filed under: Daily Life — folkcat at 11:55 am on Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dear Upstairs Neighbors,

Thank you so much for talking with me last night about the various issues of early morning noise and cigarette butts thrown on our doorstep. I want to re-affirm that you are among the best neighbors we’ve had upstairs. I’d really like to see us keep things working well.

Gryphon and I will be trying to catch the upstairs neighbor across the hall from you – if we can, he’s even harder to cross paths with than you are! – and talk to him about the cigarette butts as well. Meanwhile, I think the addition of a butt can by the door will at least give us something to help contain the problem.

As to the matter of early morning chores vs. Gryphon’s and my schedule – believe me, I understand about your schedules and how hard it is getting everything done when you have two adults and a two-year old to clean up after. On the other hand, Gryphon’s work schedule won’t be changing – he’s a supervisor on second shift, and it’s not like they can just move him around the clock on a whim. We are all going to have to keep living with the fact that our day is drastically different from yours.

I still think we can reasonably work things out. It’s worth remembering that the problem isn’t generally doing chores – it’s doing chores that involve machinery that makes your floor, and our ceiling, vibrate. These things probably sound even louder in our apartment than they do in yours. The ceiling acts to amplify the noise, much the way the skin of a drumhead amplifies the beat of the drum, and the sound is carried to all parts of our apartment.

This is why any effort you can make to save vacuuming and laundry until closer to 10 a.m. will be much appreciated on our parts.

I’m sorry if it seems like every time I see you, I have something bad to say. You have to admit, though, that with our significantly different schedules, and the fact that you both work outside the home so much of the time, it’s a bit hard to catch you to bring up any issues we have. Please, do be assured that we have had so many fewer issues with you than with the previous tenants. And you, at least, seem to want to make it work – unlike those who came before you.

I have to comment about just one more thing. During our discussion, one of you said to me, “You have all day to sleep,” by way of explaining why she should be able to do laundry at 5 a.m. if she needed to, even if it woke me up.

This is absolutely not true, and hearing her say it made me feel very angry.

I am a work-at-home artist, blogger, and craft gathering organizer. I don’t sit around the house watching junk television and eating bon-bons. I get up early – and trust me, 10 a.m. is early for me – so that I can take my medicines on a required schedule. I then spend my entire day working on various art projects, doing my own chores around the house, posting entries to my computer blog by a certain time of day, going out to run errands, and attending craft gatherings that I am responsible for.

This is what I do seven days a week, from after breakfast to around midnight when Gryphon gets home from work. Sometimes on weekdays Gryphon and I run errands together before he goes to work. Sometimes on the weekends we go out to do things together. But if we’re home on Saturday and Sunday, I’m working every bit as much as I am Monday through Friday.

There is no opportunity in this schedule for me to just “go back to sleep.” If something wakes me up early, I am stuck with it. Gryphon and I take care of mutual chores and errands together before he leaves for work. By then, it’s three p.m., and almost time to get ready for evening meetings (on the days I have them), or time to get to work on my many projects in progress.

If I did go back to bed, things wouldn’t get done, I’d have even more trouble getting to sleep at my usual time that night, and it would be even harder for me to wake up as early as ten the next day. And then I’d complain about noises at even later hours of the morning.

Gryphon and I respect your schedule, and we make every effort not to do things like hang pictures or hammer together a wooden support for an art piece at hours that would disrupt you. Please respect the fact that, though I am home all day, I am actually working, and that “sleeping all day” is not an option for me.

Gryphon and I are leaving this letter at our upstairs neighbors’ door today, and dropping a copy at the rental office as well. The folks upstairs are reasonably nice, and seem to be trying, but they are seriously clueless about a couple of matters. Just because I don’t leave the house at a specified hour the way they do, doesn’t mean I should be obliged to turn my schedule upside down to accommodate them.

Besides, we were here first.



Comment by Valerie in San Diego

July 13, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

A friend of mine who is a professional writer has the problem you do with people (from neighbors to friends to delivery folks) not recognizing that he is, actually, working all day long. He’s just doing it in his house. That doesn’t mean he can take chatty phonecalls, be interrupted by heavy machinery, or be completely ‘available’ at any time for someone at the door without impact on his work — and hence, his life. It’s strangely hard to explain.


Comment by Valerie in San Diego

July 13, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

and I meant to add,

Good luck!


Comment by Ann

July 14, 2006 @ 12:18 pm

I understand your plight, having worked the night shift (7 to 3) for 10 years. Unfortunately, the night shift is the minority. It’s unjust and unfair, and near impossible to get the majority to see through the eyes of the minority. Good luck trying to change your small corner of the world!

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