Cry me a river

This week is one of frustration on a lot of counts. Most of which stems from a dispute with our upstairs neighbour. Now this is the start of a fairly long story so if you’ve only got a couple of minutes you might want to stop right here. I am giving you fair warning 😉

Way back a year ago this new guy bought the place above us. The first I knew of it was when a very loud drilling noise started above my head and went on for the next 4 hours solidly. It happened to coincide with the exact week when I was trying to get Munchkin to nap in his cot rather than on me. You know what it’s like, you get them to sleep on your lap, you e.v.e.r so quietly slide them into their cot like some kind of over qualified ninja and then tiptop to the door hoping the floorboards don’t creak and give you away. What you don’t want it a freaking pneumatic drill to start above the cot!  So the next day when the drilling started again I went up to see what the deal was.

A very nice builder answered the door and when I asked how long the noise would last (expecting him to reply an hour or so) he very helpfully answered “oh don’t worry, we’ll be finished before Christmas”…. This was the beginning of December.

Well, before Christmas turned after Christmas turned into March. Every day during the week it started at 8am and went on till about 5pm. For over 3 months………I honestly thought I was going to go mad. I had to resort to taking Munchkin on long walks so at least he could get some sleep in his buggy. Bear in mind he was about 5 months old when this started. This incessant noise was a major part of my being a “not very chilled out mum” for a good while. I would find myself yelling at the ceiling “SHUT UP, SHUT UP” like a genuinely crazy person. At one point the vibrations from the drilling was so bad that a glass shelf we had in the hallway fell off and shattered. How on earth is a little baby supposed to sleep and his sleep deprived mama supposed to get some peace?

Now……we had had no advance warning that this work was going to take place. No note to say “I’m sorry, we’ll be inconveniencing you for a while and apologise about it”. Wouldn’t have helped much but might have been common courtesy. When eventually our new neighbour moved in he didn’t come to introduce himself but I bumped into him in the hallway. Maybe naively I thought he might apologise for the noise and works but no, this guy moaned at me for a good ten minutes about what a pain it had been for him as he hadn’t been able to move in. I was fairly taken aback so lost my opportunity to tell him how difficult he had made our lives.

Time moved on and randomly we started hearing quite a lot of noise from the flat above late at night. People having a party or music. It was always about 2am and loud enough to wake us up. Well, once in a while you can put up with that kind of thing so we didn’t do anything about it. Except for one night when it was so loud it woke Munchkin up 3 times and made him cry. My husband went up to ask the guy to turn the music down and he wouldn’t come to the door. Instead he shouted through the door to my husband to “f…. off”. This should give you a fair indication that he is not a very nice guy.

Since then we have had no contact with him as he just glares at us every time he sees us. No skin off my nose as they say. This was until recently.
It would seem that his mum who was leaving with him has moved out. (Bear in mind, the guy is in his early thirties…). Unfortunately, this now seems to mean that he can be as loud as he likes.

Since Christmas time most nights the noise has started up around 1.30am and gone on for a couple of hours. It is either music, video games or television. The television is so loud that you can make out what show it is and what the actors are saying. His bedroom is directly about ours and it is driving me nuts. I am not very tolerant to noise, I freely admit it but this is beyond the pale. I’ve had to take to sleeping in our spare room on the nights when it is worse.

We decided that it would be best not to go up there at night as we’d expect the same reaction as we got previously but to talk to him during the day. We also decided it might be best if I went as he seems particularly confrontational with my husband. So I have attempted to talk to him on several occasions but he never answers the door, even when we are pretty sure he is in.

All very frustrating as you might imagine. Except this week it took an unbelievable turn for the worse. My nanny told me that she had bumped into him in the hall and he was really unpleasant. He made some comments along the lines that “the child (Munchkin) was really a problem and he was so noisy that he (upstairs dude) wasn’t getting any sleep”. He then said that “they (jer and I) had better be careful or he would get our rental contract terminated”.

I was speechless. Munchkin has slept through the night since he was about 8 months old (he is now 18 months old). He sleeps from 7.30pm to 7.30am and even later at the weekend. He doesn’t cry in the morning when he wakes up but chats to his stuffed animals. He doesn’t even really cry during the day and only if he has bumped himself.

My only conclusions are two: 1) he is completely delusional or 2) he is afraid we are going to make a complaint and is trying to get in there first. We rent our property in a managed block of flats and he owns his which potentially could put us in a worse position if there was a formal dispute.

We wrote to our own landlord who is lovely and explained the situation. He then wrote to the management saying that we are ideal tenants and would have no reason to complain without good reason. The management wrote back this week saying that they were aware of our neighbour and that he had already complained in passing to them about the alleged noise coming from our flat. They had advised him to settle the issue with us directly which of course he hasn’t never done. No doubt because there is NOTHING to settle.

At this point my reaction is WTF. Like really?????? If there is one thing guaranteed to push my “I am really really angry” button it is people who make up shit (excuse my language). How dare he say our son is causing a disturbance when it is not true and it is him the one causing the problem???

I am at a loss as to what to do. I am now super paranoid about any little squeak that Munchkin makes in case the guy uses it as evidence in some way.

And unfortunately, this evening with freakishly bad timing, Munchkin started crying after I put him to bed, something he never does. I broke my golden rule about not going in because I was so worried that the guy was going to complain that I did just that. Not sure what was up with him but Jer is away and he kept saying “dada dada” (note this did not make me feel any better…). Eventually I settled him and he cried for a little bit after I left but not for long.

I feel totally on edge, a bit like I can’t enjoy my own home. I am totally conscious of when the guy is in the house as I can hear him walking around. It makes me angry now just to hear his footsteps and I don’t want to be angry and stressed. I am pregnant for god’s sake.

Part of me is a tiny bit pleased that he has no idea was is about to hit him in June when the baby arrives. If he thinks he hears a baby crying now he is about to get a shock.

But really I don’t want any of this. I don’t want to be paranoid when the new baby arrives that we are going to get threatened by some action against us. I don’t want to have to lose my precious sleep in the few months I have before June when I have no choice. We’d like to move into our own place anyway but we aren’t quite there yet on the financial side. So I guess we’ll have to put up with it for a while longer.

This has been a really long post and I’m sure if you are still reading you are fed up. Apologies but sometimes you just need to vent. Mostly my blog is a happy place with happy pictures of a happy family. But this little family is not that happy right now and it is all down to a very sad, pathetic man. Boooo…

Thanks for listening. x

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10 Responses to Cry me a river

  1. scriptorobscura says:

    I know how you feel. I sympathize with you! My best wishes to you and your family, and I hope that this horrible situation will be resolved for you soon, so you can finally get some much needed and well deserved PEACE!

  2. londonmum says:

    thank you so much for your kind words. The world needs a little more kindness in it 🙂

  3. scriptorobscura says:

    I agree. 🙂

  4. Suzanne says:

    Well, yes, the world needs a little more kindness but some people need a swift kick in the shins. Dealing with neighbor noise is the worst part of living in an apartment or sharing a wall. You have to be both tolerant of other people’s noise AND keep your own at a reasonable level all the time. I can’t imagine doing it with a baby (or TWO babies!!) I hope you can find a way to relax so you’re not worried about it all the time. Honestly, I think documenting his noise making would protect you pretty well if it came to a complaint against you guys. How can he be “not getting any sleep” if he’s got his tv blaring at 2 am every night? NOT YOUR FAULT!

  5. silenceandnoise says:

    Your neighbour is just ridiculous (and REALLY manipulative). WTF?! I cannot stand people like that. I would be finding it very hard not to punch him on the face if I were you. He needs to understand that there is a big difference between noise levels that are caused by a screaming baby and those caused by a tv (even though he is making it up). Hello?! You cannot do anything about a screaming child (if you rock, feed, rock and he is still crying, what else can you do?), there is so much you can control about this, but a tv? Have you heard about the volume button?!
    I think you should make this distinction very clear if things get ugly. It would be wrong if they kicked you guys out because your baby is crying at night. You could even sue them if that happened (I can totally picture it in the news: family of four wins a 3 billion pound case for being kicked out of their flat due to a screaming child). No, but seriously, you should keep track of all your encounters with this person (when did your husband get told to fuck off, how many times have you been to see him, what happened with your nanny). If the noise is super loud, do you think other neighbours can hear it? They could help out if things get out of hand.
    I have a similar situation with the girl who lives bellow us. She complains that Bresho makes too much noise. She called the condo management office like two times and they called us and we were like: “Ok, we will tie our toddler to our bed so he doesn’t go around making noise and we will duct tape his mouth so he doesn’t cry…. anything else?” Ok, we didn’t say that, but to be honest, there is not a lot they can do. It is a child, for Christ sake!!
    Ok, I better go and have a drink or something (and count to ten). I so wish I could talk to your neighbour!

  6. londonmum says:

    🙂 I wish I had you all here so we could go round and give him what for, mama style! We are now taking action very much as you have suggested. We are keeping a log of the incidents so that we have facts and we have also talked to our downstairs neighbour who is lovely. He said that although he sometimes hears Munchkin running around it doesn’t bother him and he never hears him crying. He also said that he had heard the music from the guy upstairs which means it is loud enough to pass through 2 flats. We’ve written all this to our management company and are working out what to do next. Am a little afraid that if the guy receives a formal letter he will just get worse. On Saturday night we went up there at 2.30am to knock on the door to see if he could turn the music down. Not only did he not answer the door but when we went downstairs he actually turned it up even louder for a while. He is not reasonable at all. However, I am a wee bit more chilled out about it as I feel like we are trying to do something! Thanks for your support xx

    • Cara says:

      Wow, just wow. 😦 Hugs…I hope the situation improves soon. If he dislikes being around other people’s “noise” so much, and can obviously afford to take on a renovation of the place before he moves in, then why can’t HE get his own place? Jerk. People like that totally confound me.

      Our upstairs neighbors are not nearly as bad, but they do blare their TV at all hours. I’ve taken to starting up the dishwasher, the dryer, AND running a fan at bedtime to try and drown out the noise so Nate can sleep. I’ve also been so paranoid about making a peep and “bothering” anyone that Nate has started to tell visitors “Shhhhh! We have to use our inside voice…there are neighbors in the walls!” *groan*

      • londonmum says:

        Your comment made me smile about what Nate says. Kids really are hilarious but god knows what on earth think about their crazy parents. I have started the “inside voice” with Munchkin too but he just thinks it is funny to whisper for about 2 seconds then yell some more. Bless..

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