Thursday, October 28, 2004

The exceptional drama is over...the everyday drama is just beginning

Finally, all the major work on the apartment is done. The kitchen is finished (it turned out there was nothing wrong with our stove, the leak was in the valve on the wall, easily replaced by our super), so there are just a few nagging maintenance things to finish; we're going to Ikea tomorrow to replace the shelves that we bought in the wrong size (oops); the boxes are all as organized as they can be without actually being unpacked (which Boy doesn't want to do until we're officially moved in, and I'm fighting every obsessive-compulsive must organize impulse I have in order to join him in his patience); and we just scheduled a tentative date and time for our closing.

So naturally, it's time to meet the crazy neighbors.

It's inevitable that in an apartment building there will be some crazy neighbors. It's just a given. One of the things that made me happiest about moving out of my old place was leaving behind the nutcase who lived upstairs, who had surround sound and a taste for action movies that would literally make my walls vibrate. She had no concept of how loud she was, or, no matter how often I told her, that the situation could be fixed if she just turned down the bass. At times, I actually fulfilled that old tenement cliche and banged on the ceiling with a broom handle.

When you're buying a co-op they tell you to look through a couple of years' worth of board meeting minutes, hoping to find clues about problems with the building, noise complaints, or feuds between neighbors. I did this diligently, but found nothing alarming. Apparently, though, my streak with adjacent weirdos continues, only this time it's my floor getting banged on. Only problem is I'm not actually living in the apartment yet! I stopped by last week to pick something up at the new place on my way home, and on the way out I ran into a couple who, seeing a new face, asked if I was one of the new people in 5R. I said that I was, and they introduced themselves as 4R. I thought they were being friendly, but then they started to complain about all the noise we've been making. Late at night.

"That's strange," I said, trying to remain cordial. "Because we don't actually live here yet."

"Well someone is making a lot of noise, like moving furniture at like 1 or 2 in the morning," said the woman.

"10 or 11 at night," corrected the man.

"Yeah, well in either case we haven't moved in yet, so that's really not possible. I've never set foot in the place after midnight."

"Well someone's been in there! Moving furniture!"

"Well, no one has keys except me and my partner. Not even the super, or the old owner. So I really don't see how that's possible."

"noise! Noise noise noise noise noise!" (Clearly, at this point, their argument broke down.)

"Look, I'm sorry, but we don't live there yet, so I really don't know what to tell you."

"I complain to super!"

"Um. Okay. Go ahead."

And that was that, but I walked away worried, because Boy and I are night people, and we have a very playful and nocturnal kitten, and the previous tenants had had intensely ugly but undoubtedly sound-proofing wall-to-wall carpet.

So then yesterday the super and I were doing work up there, and the super did some stuff in the bathroom. He went away for a while and later came back to report that there was a leak downstairs that was probably coming from our bathtub or our toilet. Great.

This is, of course, a normal part of apartment living, and I'm happy it's being dealt with now and not when we're all moved in. But did it have to be the nutjobs downstairs? I don't want them to have a legitimate beef with us...even something that's in the walls and completely beyond our control!

It did, however, give me a good chance to ask the super about them. "Oh, yeah, he's a troublemaker!" Great.

I actually hope he complains a lot. Complain to management. Complain to the board. Do it now while they know what he's telling them is impossible. Because I so won't be able to deal if they start bitching every night about our 9 pound kitten.

The other option is that they're not crazy and the place is haunted. Now that would be cool.

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