AITA?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by viola_x_wittrockiana, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    239

    Sep 8, 2020

    In a bit of a tough situation: my SO and I live in a basement apartment (not my choice- I moved into his place) and the people above us have been driving us nuts for about a year. These are not the same people as when he moved in. They're a foreign couple with two young children. The kids have been annoying from the beginning; one was in the crying all the time phase and the other mastering walking and falling all the time. We understand that that's normal child development and figured we'd wait it out and it'd get better as the kids aged. Nope.

    The older child stomp-runs all the time, at all hours of the day and night. The younger is in the "dropping things is funny" stage now. The thudding and stomping has been extreme to the point where SO's boss has had to ask what's going on because you can hear it on zoom. I had to re-shoot lesson videos multiple times because of the noise. We get about an hour of peace in the afternoons when the kid naps, but that's it. We did have to go up there once after we heard a VERY loud crashing/thudding. I was afraid something fell on one of the kids; you hear those horror stories about dressers tipping over etc. It's to the point where our stress is up and our sleep is disrupted. We haven't done a formal complaint, but have made remarks to the maintenance/repair guy when HE said something about the thumping. This must've gotten back to the landlord, because we got a letter slipped under our door this weekend.

    The letter apologized for all the noise and explains a lot. It turns out that the older child has just been diagnosed with autism and attention issues and has some sort of sleep disorder yet to be identified. We now feel bad about saying anything, because we understand more than most what that's like. Two of SO's younger siblings are autistic, so we've been there. On one hand, we get that it's very difficult for them to manage their child right now, but on the other, it's hard to ignore the real effects the constant disruption has had on us. We don't want them to feel unwelcome or embarrassed, but we're concerned that this is only going to get worse as the child grows. Because of our experience, we could be a great resource for them, but the language barrier limits that.

    We don't know what to do now. Unfortunately, we can't move at the moment because of how the virus has affected our careers. We're feeling bad for having said anything at all, but we can't have this continuing forever either. I can't do live teaching with this constant disruption; SO is getting tired of having to explain/apologize during every meeting, etc. AITA for being so irritated? Anyone see a way to improve the situation?
     
  2.  
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Sep 8, 2020

    NTA.

    I don't think it's unreasonable to feel frustrated and exasperated with lots of noise from upstairs neighbors. At the same time, that's just sort of part and parcel of apartment living. It doesn't seem like the noise is being made with malicious intent or anything.

    Until you can move out, I don't really see much of a solution other than ignoring the noise. I wonder if it might be possible to buy acoustic padding/foam/something and attach it to the ceiling somehow? Maybe this is something you could look into. If you find such a product, it might be worth asking the landlord to pay for it and have it installed or at least offer you a discount on your rent one month for doing it yourself.
     
    Tired Teacher and SpecialPreskoo like this.
  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,269
    Likes Received:
    1,614

    Sep 9, 2020

    I agree with the above answer. What is AITA? I thought that was some kind of educational term when I clicked on the thread.
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,097
    Likes Received:
    468

    Sep 9, 2020

    It stands for "am I the a-hole". NTA is "not the a-hole".
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,269
    Likes Received:
    1,614

    Sep 9, 2020

    Thanks. I would never have guessed that.
     
    SpecialPreskoo likes this.
  7. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,245
    Likes Received:
    433

    Sep 9, 2020

    It's a Reddit thing (unless it originated elsewhere and Reddit just made it big?)
    But I agree, NTA! You didn't know!
    Is their flooring carpeted? Thick rugs might help absorb some sound. Or even sound boards, and put it all around your office /whatever room you're trying to do work from!
     
  8. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    848

    Sep 9, 2020

    I am so used to peace and quiet where I live that when I go on vacation my 1st stop ( if the hotel doesn't have 1) is Walmart. I buy a big cheap ( 20 dollar) fan that sounds like the roar of an airplane when turned up full blast. It looks like a big metal square. It blocks out other noises. I wouldn't be able to sleep without it. You might try 1 and see if it helps.
    I'd prepare to move too b/c that noise level would drive me crazy.
    You have been very patient and understanding. When mine were young, I lived in a daylight basement apartment b/c I did not want to have to worry about bothering the neighbors. Is there any way you could move up and they move down?
     
    Caesar753 likes this.
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Sep 10, 2020

    I think you bring up a good option in the box fan thing. We use a lot of white noise at my house too, especially at night. It helps cover up other noises.
     
    Tired Teacher likes this.
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,671
    Likes Received:
    1,965

    Sep 10, 2020

    I know the feeling. When I first married, we lived in a basement apartment. My husband worked nights, and the family above us had three young kids.
     
    Tired Teacher likes this.
  11. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    239

    Sep 10, 2020

    We already do the big fan. We've got the fan going year-round, the window AC unit now, and a small amount of white noise from the air purifier or humidifier depending on season. General apartment noise we can deal with- we also live on a major street and about a mile from an international airport. We both grew up right by an airport, and in college I lived about 50 ft from a freight train line. I can block out quite a bit, or at least planes, trains, and automobiles, plus the occasional drunk-singing Frenchmen.

    What we're struggling with is the frequency of very loud sounds. Our floors in this building are carpeted everywhere except the kitchen and dining area. The little one likes to drop a golf ball on the dining space floor. The older child is getting really disruptive. You can hear the kid jumping off furniture and thudding to the floor, sometimes banging pots against the floor in the kitchen, other times I swear the kid must be dropping a bowling ball. It's those kind of sounds that shake the walls we have a problem with. When you have that kind of noise going on during a work call, there's no amount of white noise that blocks that out. It's at any and all hours too. One night the kid was up well past midnight, then woke us up a bit before 5am, then again at 6. There's no predictable pattern we can train ourselves to sleep through.

    Switching units has crossed my mind. I'd have to find out if their unit is the same size as ours. We tried to move last fall and gave up after 2 months of finding nothing better than we already had. We meant to move this summer, but my getting RIF'd and his COVID pay cut took care of that. We can't consider moving until I have new stable income or SO gets a job that pays better (oddly enough, I had the higher income with him in corporate IT).
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,269
    Likes Received:
    1,614

    Sep 10, 2020

    That's just nuts. Getting woken up in the middle of the night is bad enough but if you also can't get work done during the day that's just unacceptable. You are a lot nicer than me. I would be talking to them or your landlord daily. I tried to read your post again quickly but did you mention anything about them having carpeting in all of the rooms? If it's hard wood everywhere it's just going to make it worse. At least the carpet might muffle the sound a bit. It is really up to them to fix this.
    I remember hearing about a similar situation that happened to a student of mine (with autism). His neighbors routinely called the police because of all the noise. I don't suggest you do that right now but some people who aren't as nice as you would do that.
     
  13. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    848

    Sep 11, 2020

    It is good you are used to noise. I am sorry it is such an extreme disruption to life. The financial situation makes it hard. If there was no way I could move, I might write a formal complaint, record the noises, and play it to the landlord. I'd offer the suggestion of me moving upstairs while they lived downstairs. The landlord is obligated ( I think) to maintain the peace- noise level (after 9 or 10 at least).
    I am thinking you may feel bad for them due to cultural differences and the children having disabilities. While I understand this, you need to be able to work, sleep, and live in peace. You could do it in an understanding and kind way. I understood when we moved into an apt that we could have an extra pantry and balcony IF we moved upstairs.
    I also knew that young kids romp around and make noise. I did not want to have to worry about disturbing others. Your upstairs neighbor probably doesn't want to have to worry either. The upstairs may have been the only option for them at the time. Good luck!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
    Backroads likes this.
  14. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    239

    Sep 11, 2020

    The more I think about it, I think my mixed feelings are really coming from two places. On the one hand, we both feel like the shoe could easily be on the other foot one day. SO's bio-dad has made his wishes clear that we take guardianship of the kids (currently 21 and 16) when he dies. Strangers aren't as likely to be patient with autistic grown people's outbursts as with little children's. A few years down the road, it may be us with the disruptive "kids" who aren't capable of maintaining quiet.

    On the other hand, even though I know it's not a fair line of thinking, my irritation is partially coming from a place where they're allowed to make noise, but I'm not. It's in our lease that musical instruments are forbidden- which is killing me since school closed. I'm a freaking music teacher who hasn't been allowed to play/sing since March. I have a valid, professional need to make noise and I'm losing ability every month I can't practice. That rule limited what I could video for my classes. The kid can bang pots on the floor whenever, but I can't make (subjectively) good noises for an hour a week.
    But, I know that's not fair and kind of selfish of me since I can control my noises and the kid is currently incapable of that through no fault of his? her? own. The parents are trying, but their access to services is limited by language and, well, COVID. They have nothing to do with my alternative practice spaces being closed. Then I feel bad for thinking that way, until more noise irritates me into being mad again, and there we have the cycle.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,269
    Likes Received:
    1,614

    Sep 14, 2020

    Even though the musical instrument rule is there maybe you can talk with them upstairs and see if they would be ok with you playing music just for now considering all of the noise THEY are making. IT seems like a double standard and not fair.
     
  16. teppich-expert

    teppich-expert New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2020
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 8, 2020

    This situation has disrupted many jobs and it seems that we are entering a different stage of life where we have to create new initiatives for our work and every activity:(
     
  17. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,269
    Likes Received:
    1,614

    Dec 9, 2020

    Wait, what??? I just reread your post. Just because someone makes their "wishes" known it doesn't mean you have to take on that responsibility. What if your living situation does not allow for taking guardianship? The family should have already looked into adult placements for them. It's not too late to do that so I would definitely bring it up. If something happened to your SO would YOU then be responsible?
     
  18. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    239

    Dec 9, 2020

    To be succinct, SO's family is best described as a Jerry Springer 2-hour special. I don't have the exact details, but bio-dad has primary custody of the kids and sole decision-making powers. I don't know a ton about their mother, but I've seen enough to see she's not a suitable caretaker. SO is his only other child, so tag, we're it! We've talked about it a lot and we can't take custody, at least not for a long time. We are willing to take guardianship to keep them from being wards of the state. The only thing everyone agrees on is we don't want them to be in state care. We would have to place them appropriately and do our best to take them on weekends/holidays/day outings as much as we could. That, or they go to their half-sister, who honestly is better equipped. She's a teacher too and has kids and a house of her own. She and SO have equal claim as half-siblings to the kids.
    The reason why it's important that SO/we have decision powers is because the money that will support them is from bio-dad and bio-dad's inheritance of half a lucrative large family farm. The extended family needs to be protected from bad actors or mismanagement. We've told bio-dad how the paperwork needs to be set up so that the money is guaranteed to the kids and SO is conservator of the trust. That's a work in progress. I'm "safe" until after we're married (waiting until we're debt-free) on the off chance that SO gets hit by a bus tomorrow.

    There's no chance of placements while bio-dad is alive. He won't do it and will keep the kids home with him until he can't. The 21YO was supposed to have his transition plan into some suitable day program or job placement since he'll age out of school in 2021, but that hasn't happened because COVID. Bio-dad is generally a real horse's behind who has repeatedly thrown SO under the bus since the day he was born, but that's no reason the kids shouldn't get the best care we can give them if the best situation ends up to be us.
    Bio-dad is retiring in the next few years, so hopefully we've got some time to get ducks in rows before anything happens.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. greendream
Total: 277 (members: 2, guests: 253, robots: 22)
test