Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shared Housing

We currently live in the upstairs of a house with a couple living in our basement. We have lived here for 5 years and we plan to be here through August 2013 at least (assuming we are finally done with school and ready to move on with life).

Overall, it's been a positive experience living here. Sharing housing has it's pros and cons, but lately I am going bonkers. I'm sure some of it is just wanting to move on with life and grow up and have our own place. But, please allow me to whine a little bit.

We have central heating and air. The thermostat is in the basement. The upstairs is always about 10 degrees hotter in the summer than the downstairs. During the winter, this generally means the same thing, but with these most recent neighbors, they say they are really hot down there and they like to set the thermostat at 60 degrees! Yes, 60 degrees in the middle of winter. While it's snowing outside. We have huge windows, wooden floors in the bedroom, doors that don't quite seal out the cold and we are freezing up here. One night, Aidan woke up saying "Cold Cold" and I knew I had to talk to them. I settled and told them not to lower it below 65. The wife is pretty good about this, but the husband will still occasionally lower it to 60-63 degrees. I have talked to them multiple times about the thermostat issue, explained the poor temperature control etc. They just don't seem to care. I know he just wants to save a buck, but I really hate freezing in my own home! PS We bought a heater for Aidan's room so don't worry about him freezing

Our house was built in the 50s. Naturally this means super creaky floors. It also means that we could hear everything going on downstairs if we really wanted to. We noticed this the first week we lived here 5 years ago and invested in a sound machine. Problem solved. We now have a fan in our room and the sound machine in Aidan's room. Seriously, we could hear a normal volume level conversation without this stuff. Every time neighbors move in downstairs, we advise them to invest in a sound machine or something else or they'll hear lot of stuff. The current neighbors have taken it upon themselves to bang on the wall if we are being too loud at night. This means that if we (heaven forbid) have sex, they bang on the wall. If I get up to tend to Aidan in the middle of the night, they bang on the wall. If Aaron and I are talking in our bed about life etc, they bang on the wall. Seriously!! I cannot believe it. It just comes with the territory. If you're going to live in shared housing or an apartment complex you are going to hear other people. I talked to the husband about it and he basically said "I understand you walking around in the middle of the day, but it's hard on us when you're up in the middle of the night. We hear every time you move in bed, walk around etc." I couldn't help but smile and said "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to take care of Aidan and sometimes we are up late since we're in school and working." I couldn't believe this conversation. I also reiterated the idea of a sound machine.

The dumb part is that I still care. I get nervous to walk around at night and move in bed. I worry when Aidan is crying that I will hear a bang on the wall. I hate that I worry about it. Why can't I just not care? How come we had 4 years of downstairs neighbors previous to this that didn't seem to mind? Has something huge changed since then? Also, the husband downstairs is the owner's brother so I also get super self-conscious about that. Is he going to complain and try to get us kicked out or something? Aaaaah! I know they're planning on staying long-term so I should really try to get to know them better. Maybe, they'd see that we aren't horrible people purposefully making noise all the time.

Also, I feel like I am constantly being judged for my parenting. For example, this morning on the way out to church Aidan wanted to bring a bigger toy car so I explained that we couldn't fit that one in the bag and we found a smaller one. Aidan then screamed as I was opening the back door just as the neighbor was leaving so he saw and faked a smile and rolled his eyes in my direction. I'm standing here with the car seat in one hand, trying to get Aidan out the door, calm him down about his toy car and get to church. I get it. They don't have kids. But seriously. I would really appreciate a bit more empathy and understanding. I am doing my best here.

Maybe, I'm reading way too much into this. I should really get to know them better.

But, still, I cannot wait to get a place of our own.


Karen said...

I totally understand what you are saying. We try to tell the boys that we live above other people and that they hear them running back and forth in the hallway. We talk about using our quiet feet and they try, but then 5 seconds later are back to doing the same thing. I understand that it makes you worry. I worry and feel bad, but luckily haven't had too many complaints.

I am so sorry you're dealing with that. It seems that they should be a little more understanding. I totally understand about the heat and air thing too. Our house in Provo wasn't very efficient and the upstairs was colder than the basement in the winter. Crazy! Just keep doing your best, I think. Maybe you could talk to the owner and just let him know that you have tried to talk with them about it and you're doing the best you can, but maybe HE could invest in the sound machine just because the house is a little older and creaks a lot.

Gooch Family said...

Wow that drives me crazy just reading that! Are those people human?? They get annoyed that you WALK in the night, are they for real!? I would be as annoying as possible in hopes they move out! :) That would super stress me out, I bet you are dying trying to deal with that. Wish I had super awesome advice. I say just keep on doing what your doing and try your best to not care, it seems they would do that if anyone lived there. Let them bang their wall, one day they'll understand when they have kids and maybe then they'll feel bad. But seriously, you have to live. You can't get kicked out for being a normal person and walking around your house. How old are these people?

Lauren said...

Your comments make me feel so much better!

They just got married in October. I think she's my age (24) and he may be slightly older than that or about the same. Not totally sure. We really don't know much about them other than she just finished massage therapy school. He's in radiology school and they plan to be here a while.