Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lost Weekend

Click now for JiffNotes

This was meant to be a post showing all my pretty deck plants. It was meant to have been posted last Sunday, after chores were done Saturday, the 4th was all planned for, and I was rested and relaxed. Instead, I give you the following epic saga:

Friday night, 1am - Heather and Michael trundle off to bed, exhausted from the week but looking forward to getting a lot of rest and a weekend of many chores, followed by much relaxation.

2:43am - Heather is rocketed out of a deep sleep by music from the neighbor (who shares a wall, and who we have attemped repeatedly to meet). You know how when you're asleep, and a noise starts, and it sort of gradually works its way into your dream until you eventually wake up? This is not one of those times. The sound level is vaguely what you'd experience if you went into the bathroom of one of those clubs where you cannot actually talk to anyone because the music is so loud.

2:49am - Michael is woken by Heather. He's a much sounder sleeper.

3:20am - Consciousness and gross disbelief have finally reached the level where action is incumbent. Michael goes downstairs to try and find something to bang on the wall with that will 1) be loud enough to be heard above the cacophony and 2) not damage the wall in the process.

3:31am - Heather decides banging on her door would be a better idea and dons clothing.

3:32am - Michael presents his belief that he is not capable of calm, lucid, and, especially, calm discourse with the neighbor.

3:33am - Heather bangs on the neighbor's door. Repeatedly.

3:35am - Between banging, Heather hears a smoke detector beeping as if its battery needs to be changed. This is unsurprising, since it's about 4 in the morning. Heather considers the possibility that the neighbor is hearing impaired to a great degree.

3:43am - Michael goes upstairs to check out the changed sound level. From the deck on the 4th story, he yells that although the music is still clearly audible outside, it is "better" inside. Heather goes inside.

3:45am - Heather stuffs earplugs in both ears and tries not to hear the music.

4:01am - Heather decides that she really can still hear the music and is too worked up to sleep, so she goes downstairs to play Mass Effect.

4:12am - Michael joins Heather. Many discussions about the sanity/rudeness/evilness of the neighbor ensue. At some point, it is decided that Peter Gabriel is, in fact, the devil, due to the appearance of dancing dead chickens in the "Sledgehammer" video. Later, it is unclear why this conclusion seemed so inevitable, but the stigma remains. The neighbor comes to be known as "one of Peter Gabriel's minions." Many scathing letters to the neighbor are mentally composed. Revenge schemes are plotted and abandoned as unethical/illegal/immoral and just plain unChristian.

6:30am - The sun is starting to come up. Heather's headache has reached epic proportions and the music seems to have mellowed, so sleep is attempted again.

10:30am - Heather's parents call to confirm they're all going to "Oklahoma!" at the Fox Theatre.

10:51am - Heather attemps lucid conversation with her father. This was always going to go badly.

11:11am - Heather's mother calls back and sympathizes like an actual person.

11:42am - Showering happens. Heather successfully fails to drown.

Let me sum up the rest of the day here...all we got done was eating and picking up a FedEx package (which was a feat in itself, and turned out to be the wrong thing for the second time) before Heather's parents arrived for dinner and the show. We pick things up after we've gotten to bed at about 12:30...

Saturday night, 3:30am - Music. The volume is slightly less than last night, but still on the order of club bathroom. Heather goes to bang on the door again, not bothering to wake Michael.

3:40am - Heather is still banging. Volume is unchanged. Michael yells from the deck for her to come upstairs and he will hammer on the wall.

3:52am - Michael holds an IKEA table leg against the wall with a piece of cardboard in between. He hammers on the leg in interesting rhythmic patterns.

3:53am - Michael destroys the table leg. Fortunately, the table was only $12.

3:55am - The volume decreases to the point where earplugs block 50% of the songs. Actual sleep doesn't occur for probably another 45 minutes. Peter Gabriel is cursed.

The day unwinds in a headachy haze. We knock (nicely) on the neighbor's door about 7pm to try to talk to her. She does not answer. We compose a letter where Michael identifies many songs played during the nights and sorts the volumes she has produced at various times into two categories he calls, "LOUD" and "CRAZY LOUD". We slip it through her mail slot. A few attempts at cleaning are made.

This brings us to Sunday night.

10:30pm - Music starts.

11:30pm - We head to bed.

Monday,12:41am - As the music continues, Michael wields the table leg and hammer again.

12:47am - The volume decreases. Sleep is attempted.

12:53am - It's still too loud, even with the earplugs in. In lieu of weeping, Heather bangs on the table leg in an incessant fast staccato.

12:59am - Music decreases in volume to "earplug level".

Monday morning we slip another note in her door saying that things are better, but still very audible. We request a 10pm cutoff for that night, since Heather has a stupidly early meeting Tuesday morning and we are very sleep deprived.

Monday night, the music is slightly below earplug level. Prior to installation of earplugs, exhaustion takes over.

During the day Monday, Michael does some research. He discovers that Atlanta's sound ordinance specifies "nighttime hours" as 9:01pm-7am the next morning. The sound level should be less than 35dB at the shared wall. We consider purchasing a sound meter. We slip a note in her door thanking her for keeping the music below "earplug level".

Now, here is where it gets good. Tuesday, Michael calls our architect and finds out that she is a renter (hurray!) and tells him what's been happening. He's very apologetic and suggests we call "Fred" (not his real name), who was the financial partner for our duplex, and is therefore her landlord. Michael gets in touch with "Fred", who tells Michael that our neighbor text messaged him saying, "What's up with my neighbors...they keep banging on the wall and leaving me notes. Maybe this isn't the place for me." He suggests to Michael that if we find a tenant who will pay the $2K/month rent (that's more than our mortgage!!!), he can maybe have her evicted. LOL! Michael tells him that we just want to talk to her and "Fred" seems very relieved. "Fred" also drops the news that our neighbor runs a club in Cabbagetown. Michael does some research and finds that most clubs in Ctown close at 2:30am. Heather is somewhat relieved that the neighbor's occupation is actually legal, as "bartender" was the most legal and...kindest...option she could previously come up with.

You're thinking, "WHY DON'T YOU CALL THE POLICE!?!!??" But, you know, we may have to live with her for a while, and that's no way to start a relationship. Maybe banging on the wall isn't, either, but she didn't leave us with a whole lot of choices.

Last night was blissfully quiet. Heather's sure we're on a list somewhere as being "difficult".

Our neighbor plays her music really, Really, REALLY loud. She runs a club, so her eardrums are likely leathery thickend slabs of skin that can only be vibrated by a sheer force of nature. And Heather has no idea why she has descended to writing in third person.


TeresaB said...

Poor Heather! The lack of sleep alone could cause her to descend to writing in the third person. I say keep calling the landlord if she doesn't abide by the sound ordinance rules. At whatever time of the night it's going on!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Teresa - I would either continue to call the landlord, or involve the police. It's not up to you to find a suitable tenant - it's up to the landlord to make sure his tenant complies with the law.

BTW - had to laugh at the Jiffnotes, and the comment about writing in the third person :)

Jean in Georgia said...

I had people like that next to me in the dorm in college. At 7 AM one Saturday morning, after warning everyone around me (above and below as well), I put the stereo speakers against the wall of the shared wall and put on a record of "American Indian War Chants", cranked the volume up to 10, and left the room.

Things quieted down for awhile after that. If they got noisy, I only had to pass them in the hall and go "woooo" making warpath noises....

Sue in N. Va said...

One word for your neighbor... headphones!

I hope things improve for you guys!

PS Mass Effect rocks! :)

Jill said...

Why don't people have common sense!! There's banging on the walls and knocking on the door and she wonders why but doesn't answer...hmmm.... I'm so sorry!

Anonymous said...

Oh Heather! ((((((((((((((((HUG))))))))))))))))))))
Noisy neighbors are the pits. Come visit Minnesota where all is quiet and peaceful :-). Course maybe not so much in the city.
It was good to see your posting and I hope you've since gotten some sleep!

Shanta Hayes said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes and sorry about the neighbor situation. Just remember the law is on your side. And as for Zig Zag, I'm about 40% done, but its going on the back burner, because hubby thinks it should be longer (and wider-but that's not happening) so I need more yarn, and I'll have to search it out. I bought the yarn I'm using on it just for the girls to play around with and now, well...I need more.

Susimac said...

Oh thats a rotten neighbour I too would keep harrassing the landlord to do something and I too would keep pushing civil notes through her door.
I love the way you write it cracks me up even when its a serious subject ((HUGS))

Lelia said...

oh, I feel for you. Back in the day when DH & I were renting, we lived next door to a young person who would go out for the evening, and sometimes stay over -- like, not come home. And then, the alarm clock would switch ON, LOUDLY at 5am. And continue ON LOUDLY for an hour. argh. I feel your pain. One thing to be a good neighbor and another thing to miss a good night's sleep.

Karin said...

I completely sympathize - the theatre company across the street used to have all night parties, and there's nothing like having 100 people run around the neighbourhood at 2 am.

Old Geek-outs