About the new neighbors- 2:13 p.m. 2003-02-17

Okay, I have been living in apartments for years, right? And I have really enjoyed living here. The next-door neighbors on our level (there are three floors, and we are on the top) are an older couple, and we love them! They have been here since we moved in, and are very cool.

We have had a series of families living in the other apartments here, and have had few problems with them. There was the young black man on the bottom floor, two levels below us, who has a bass level problem, but that bothered my husband and the middle neighbors more than me, because I am deaf to low level noise.

Okay, back to the point. A little over a month ago, while I was in the middle of printing out/reassembling/grading my students project (the day before grades were due...), this black woman was moving in with her two daughters. As I was coming in from running errands, I thought I would be polite and neighborly and introduce myself. After the intros, she said, "I'll be up after we're finished down here." Okay...

Sure enough, as I was waiting for the pizza man, they came a knockin'. My first thought was, "Oh God, they're Jehovahs Witnesses..." But they were also, I suppose, being neighborly. I just had to tell them that I had a lot of work to do. The girls ooh-ed and ah-ed over the dog. She really wanted to know if I knew where the bus stop was. Well, she's out of luck there.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to go, I ran into her coming out to walk to the Cumberland Mall bus stop- not quite a mile away. I went back upstairs to get the printer, she was coming out again. I wonder if she was hoping that I would give her a ride to the bus stop, but I really didn't want to get started doing that. I assume that, by now, she has found the nearest bus stop.

Since then, I have run into the girls after school every once in a while, but have not seen her much. But their presence is still felt in two ways:

The yelling and screaming

The lack of hot water

Yep, the worst of the yelling and screaming (fights, I assume, between her and her teenage daughters) was at 2AM (in the morning, in case you didn't get that...) and it was so loud that It woke us up.

Since then, we have heard them occasionally. I am writing about it now because there was a lovely Sunday morning altercation yesterday. Now, I am sympathetic to a single woman who has two teenage daughters, but what to do? Will complaining even help? How do you not yell at your kids? I yelled at one of my students the other day, and he's not even my son!

Did I mention that there are 3 women living down there? That must account for the first ever shortage of hot water. The water coming out of faucets has been notoriously steaming hot, so hot that we often wondered about posting warnings over our sinks so that guests would not scald themselves. Wheat complained to the office, and it is possible that they actually heeded our words, and turned the thermostat down.

I am assuming, because there is no hot water tank in our apartment, that we share our water source with our neighbors. But we have never has a problem with luke-warm water until now, and that was with the two apartments filled below. So, another call to the office.

Maybe all of this is a sign that our next abode needs to be a detached house, and not a condominium. After all, if you are living in a condominium, it can be like living in an apartment for life! My mother likes her condominium, but she is blessed with having good upstairs neighbors.

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