Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fair Warning

We will soon be getting a new upstairs neighbor, or neighbors - I don't know yet, since the cleaning crew is doing some final touch-ups on the apartment before the new tenants move in. I can't help but feel a little nervous about the idea of having someone live upstairs again - our last upstairs neighbors were not the people you wanted to share a thin-walled living space with. Between the late night ping-pong tournaments and the parties, the cigarette butts they threw everywhere and the constant, ceaseless bass from their stereo, they were not the most pleasant people to live below. I'm praying for maybe a nice, really, really busy military guy (but just one!) or maybe even a family, that would be awesome.

I was fretting about it earlier and realized that I just can't do anything about, and regardless of who might move in, we're just going to have to live with them. On the other side of that coin, they will also have to live with us. We might not be the most pleasant people to live above. I was thinking that they deserved a warning as to what they could expect, and thought maybe a nice welcoming introductory letter would be in order. Maybe it would read like this:

Dear New Neighbor,

Welcome to our building! I hope that we can be friends, and if we can't be
friends, then at least we can co-exist peacefully as neighbors. It is in that
spirit that I would like to honestly apprise you of daily life here in building
20. I don't know much about the rest of the neighbors here, but I can tell
you what you might encounter from our neck of the woods.

The walls and floors in our apartments are pitifully and painfully thin. I
have heard far more conversations and *ahem* other things than I ever cared to,
certainly without trying to hear them, and I'm sure you will experience the
same. Having said that, we make every effort to be courteous to our neighbors.

We are a kind family, mother, father and two children. However, with
children there will inevitably be noise. We certainly do our best to curtail
anything extremely loud, but with a family such as ours there are some noises
and noise-making activities that can't always be avoided. We can sometimes be a
loud family. Voices are occasionally raised, either mine or my husband's
or the children's.

We do have a baby, a lovely, bubbly, bouncing baby boy. He
asserts himself by raising his voice, usually in complaint but occasionally in victory
as well. He does what all babies do - cry. Sometimes for no good reason,
and sometimes for what can seem like a very long time. This is normal for
children his age - he is not being abused, or neglected - he is very well cared
for, as a matter of fact - but you can expect to hear him howling from his bed
or from some other room in the house when things aren't going his way. We also
have a daughter. She sings in the shower, which you will also hear if you are in
the bathroom directly above hers. It is quite charming and amusing, if you ever
care to listen in. She likes balls and bouncing them against things - walls,
doors and the like. This can also be loud. I do make her stop when I notice

I discourage door slamming, screaming for no good reason, and
ridiculously loud volumes on any of the various and assorted electronic devices
we have in our home. We don't have loud parties (did I mention we have kids?
that kind of cancels out the wild partying), don't smoke or drink to excess, and
we don't argue in the hallway or the parking lot. We don't curse at the top
of our lungs and don't have any pets, although if we did we would make sure we
picked up after them.

Oh, and I use dryer balls, so expect some noise in your laundry room at the
very random times that I do laundry, which can really be any time, day or night.
I apologize in advance but you should see how much they cut down on
dryer time - I highly recommend them.

We don't bother anyone and we keep to ourselves, although we are friendly
if approached. We will not try and proselytize you or anyone in your home. We do not
judge, and we offer up every common courtesy. All we ask is that you do the same
- we will respect you, we just ask that you respect us in return. I encourage
face-to-face communication if there is ever an issue between us - while banging
on the floor with a broomstick gets our attention, it can be difficult to
decipher your meaning.

I look forward to living peacefully below you. Until November, when we are
out of here faster than you can say, "Why can't they make that baby stop

Welcome to the neighborhood,
Your downstairs neighbors

It's a nice thought, but it would never work. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Oh, and I have one more letter to write that I will never send:

To my dear husband,

I appreciate the kind thoughts behind the beautiful flowers you brought me
for Valentine's day. They are absolutely lovely, and I am very thankful.

I simply can't put into words how grateful I am, but I do have one
observation to make: the particular variety of lily included in that bouquet of
flowers stink. They smell, honey, I'm sorry but it's true. The day you
came home and found them on the patio, and I said I thought they needed some sun
and you looked at me like I was crazy or possibly stupid? I know that cut
flowers don't need sunlight - I just couldn't handle the smell anymore. And
the day I mentioned that their scent was bothering my allergies? That was a lie,
too. I'm spiraling downward into a pit of untruths and have to come clean. I
tried to tell you, that one day, when I thanked you for buying them and then
admitted the scent bothered me, but you p'shawed me and said they smelled fine.

I walk by them, catch a whiff of them and start searching the
house, thinking Bubba must have peed somewhere. I once thought the neighbor's cat had somehow managed to get inside our house and spray. They are gorgeous to look at and have opened up beautifully, but they smell like pee or cat or maybe even cat pee and, quite frankly, and please know I say this with all the love in the world, I
just can't wait to have them out of the house.

Thanks again, from your loving wife,

It's just a personal thing, my aversion to the scent of this particular lily. In a stroke of irony, though, the roses are drooping in a most pitiful manner, but those lilies are magnificent and holding up like some sort of mutant cut flower. Oh well - at least they look nice, even though they stink (to me).

1 comment:

Laura said...

A) I lived below a couple once and it worked out great.
I was a young teacher in my 20's and they were in their 30's.
We shared the laundry room and all minded our own business.
Maybe you can find a teacher?
B) I know that lily. It smells like feet.