Noisy Neighbors

Ryan and I just recently moved into our own apartment. It's small, but cozy. We have all hand-me-down furniture, but it's beautiful. We love just sitting in our new home; enjoying its warmth and each other's company. Often we will dim the lights, throw some popcorn in the microwave, and pop a DVD into our new flat & widescreen TV to bask in its glow for hours at a time, while snuggled together on the couch. But then we hear it: the rattle of the pipes, the high-pitched screaming, the ghoulish yelling, and the eerie music. We pause our movie to listen, our faces terrified by what we are hearing. You see, our apartment is haunted by the worst type of ghouls: noisy neighbors. Our first encounter with our vociferous neighbors was early on one of our first mornings here. I woke up slamming the snooze button to turn off my alarm. Why wasn't it working? I thought. Finally, befuddled and bemused by the non-stop noise and the early hour, I looked around. It wasn't my alarm, nor was it Ryan's. It was coming from above, as if there were no ceiling or floor separating us. I looked at the clock: 5:30am . Nearly three hours before I had to get up. They'll turn it off soon, I naively presumed. Two hours later, I - nearly bald from pulling out my hair - could take it no longer. I stood on top of my bed and pounded on the ceiling. "Who leaves their alarm on for two hours straight, while obviously still in the apartment?" I wondered, frantic from lack of sleep and the most annoying noise in the world being drilled into my brain. Soon, I was delighted and relieved to hear footsteps go and turn off the alarm. I fell back to bed, with the alarm still ringing in my ears.

After weeks of waking up to non-stop alarms and pre-teen temper tantrums, of plumbing that literally runs right next to our TV, and the yip-yappiest dog (yes, I invented that word) I have ever encountered, one of them decided to take up the trumpet. Yes, the trumpet. An instrument that hardly sounds good played well. After several days of us thinking that someone up there had an incredibly bad cough, we realized it was actually someone practicing their music. With cringing faces, Ryan and I stood, horrified. Now it is my belief that I can always be useful to those around me, and help them by teaching valuable life lessons. On this occasion, I thought it would be extremely helpful for this insolent individual to learn what good trumpet playing sounded like. So feeling very pious, I sat down at my computer, double clicked on Miles Davis, and turned the volume to the max. Laughing at my cleverness and noticing the delinquent trumpet had stopped, I basked in the triumph of my victory.

* * *

I'm so tired. I was up all night because my little girl has the flu. She finally fell asleep around 5 this morning, and I fell asleep a few minutes later. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off my alarm so we could both sleep in - no way she was going to school this morning. Anyway, I woke up about 5 minutes ago to a banging on my floor. At first, I thought my daughter had fallen off the bed, but the banging continued. Finally, I realized someone downstairs was banging on the ceiling! That's when I realized my alarm was going off. It must have been beeping for quite some time, but I just hadn't heard it. I understand that may be annoying to people around me trying to sleep, but maybe they should realize there are extenuating circumstances sometimes.

The other day, I got home to find my daughter crying outside as she tried to play her trumpet. I couldn't figure out why she was standing out in the cold, when she was supposed to be inside practicing. Then she told me she had been practicing, as I had told her to do, but someone had started playing trumpet music really loudly. She said she couldn't concentrate, but I knew there was more to it than that. Someone was insinuating that they don't want to hear a little girl practicing her trumpet, and they wanted to shut her up. I was fuming when I went upstairs. I'm so tired. And I'm tired of neighbors who just don't understand what it's like to raise two children by myself in a small apartment. It's very hard. I'm doing the best I can. But right now, I'm just tired.