Thin Ice

July 18, 2004

Michele and I haven't lived in an apartment since the spring of 1998. And even then it was a duplex where we had reasonably good relations with the couple in the other half. Michele's last apartment would have been in Colorado Springs in February 1997, mine was earlier, April 1990.

I lived in a rental house for two and a half years, and then the duplex for another five or so. Suffice to say, we aren't used to communal living. The noises from the apartment above at times make us tense, at other times downright unhappy.

Fate has placed us in a ground floor apartment under at least two men in the mid-twenties, maybe three; with a twenty-ish woman thrown in for spice. They are noisy. We can hear the water from their toilet running through the stand pipe, and we are constantly aware of footsteps. As Seinfeld would say, "they are heavy walkers."

Parking here is also a problem. Each apartment gets two spaces, one inside their garage and one outside on the shared pad. There are eight apartments sharing our pad, so that means eight outdoor spaces. The guys above us work for a lawn care company and there are always two oversized pickups parked in the prime spaces. They also have a personal pickup and two motorcycles. There are at least three other vehicles always parked outside. At times getting into and our of our garage or outdoor space has been difficult.

Friday evening we were subjected to over an hour of loud music. The thumping of the bass was most prevalent in our little home. At times lyrics could be heard as well. The evening before it had taken me five minutes to back and pull and inch my way around a car blocking me into my space. We reached our breaking point.

Saturday morning we visited the office and lodged a complaint. Friendly neighbors had warned us that the landlord wasn't diligent about enforcing some of the rules. It turns out that the boys with the loud stereo and big trucks moved in before the leases were amended to restrict the type and number of vehicles allowed in the common parking areas. The landlord's agent was happy to deal with the noise issue, but we'll have to see about the parking. She did say that their lease was up in October, and that it would not be renewed.

Last evening, starting around 9:00 and lasting until after 10:00 there was sustained thumping from the apartment over us. We were both aware that we had complained about them that morning and were worried that retribution had started. I would have confronted them directly, but I was afraid that all the frustration from the move and job situation would come boiling out; making a tense situation far worse.

This morning all is quiet on the upper front. Only time will tell just how far out on to the thin ice we skated yesterday with our complaints. Hopefully their October moving date will arrive quickly. And more importantly, we hope the new upstairs tenant will be a quiet, mousy retired couple.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.