April 07, 2011

the other side

We live in a semi-detached house.
In Nova Scotia speak - it's a duplex - which sounds totally trashy and unappealing.
But in Toronto, it's the norm. Lots of houses here are under the more appealing title of "semi-detached".

When we bought our house, we thought it would be pretty soundproof.

It's brick
it's solid

 but it's not sound proof.

The people who live next door are a lovely family.
They have three grown daughters who no longer live with them (or so we thought) and they are very close - they are together a lot and we see them in our backyards regularly (since they are also semi-detached, so to speak.)

We moved in at the end of May. The weather was beautiful, the windows were open, the breezes were flowing....

When the fall came and the weather changed, we closed the windows.

And that's when we could hear the noise.

The family has a grandson who's a toddler. We could hear him running around, yelping, crying, the usual behaviour for a little tot. No big deal. Not bothersome.

But then one of the daughters had a baby.

And she and the baby came to visit around Christmas.

And stayed.

And it would appear that the baby "sleeps" in the room that mirrors our bedroom
because we regularly get woken up by the baby crying in the middle of the night.
(Well, it starts out as crying and develops into an all-out wail in a matter of minutes.)

One of the reasons we wanted to get out of the apartment was because we didn't want to hear other people's "living" noises. We had some hesitation about buying a semi but like I said, they are common in Toronto and are more affordable than a fully detached house.

I was upset that we could hear the other family.
I felt self-conscious about how much noise we could make.

I spoke to someone at the bridal shower I went to last weekend and she said they have the exact same thing. She thought that their neighbours' headboard was against the same wall as theirs because they could, um, hear, noises.

Thankfully, we haven't encountered that.

Yesterday fella said that he's sick of being woken up by the crying baby
and he wants to talk to them about it.

My stomach curled inwards and I started to sweat.
I hate confrontation.
 I put up with a lot of things to avoid it entirely.
I know this is unhealthy
but honestly - cringe cringe cringe

I asked him what he thought he would say and did he think we have to right to ask them to move the baby or change the way they live in their house?

He said he didn't know what he would say but that he thought it would be better to say something than to resent them  and allow it all to fester.

Good point.

But here's my question - what does one say?
Do you think we have the right to talk to them about it?

Do you live in a semi? Can you hear the noises of your neighbours?
Are there limits on what you can expect from people when it comes to their homes?
(cringe cringe cringe)

(P.S. I have nothing, I mean NOTHING, against babies. Or babies crying. I love babies and just because I don't have children does not mean that I am not sympathetic to parents who are awake at all hours because of their unhappy / unsettled infant. I just don't want to be woken up by them.

Truth be told - I hear that baby crying all the time - when I'm reading or watching a movie in the living room or when we're having dinner. That crying baby has become part of my daily soundscape and I'm ok with that as long as I'm awake. I just wanted to be clear that I am not anti- baby, parent or any of that stuff!)

And one more thing -

They burn incense.
 We might as well be doing it ourselves because it comes through the wall in the basement.
It can be so strong at times it makes me cough.
But you know what?
I don't mind it. I don't mind the smell of it.
 But if a smoker ever moves in next door, we'll be selling that house in a heartbeat because that is one thing I cannot abide.

Ok. I'm done now.

Please advise.

1 comment:

LifeBegins@Thirty said...

We live in a rowhouse and have the same issues with sounds. When we bought the house there was just a little old lady next to us (quiet) and then she died (very quiet). After months of sitting on the market, it sold to a single woman (not so bad) but she has a grandson and he and his mom are moving in soon.


I don't know what you can say. It isn't like the baby can stop crying you know? Is the crib on the shared wall? Do you think if it were moved to the other side it would be better?

Bottom line is this - regular noise and smells - definitely say something. Babies crying? Not sure what they can do about it. That's a toughie.