Monday, November 29, 2010

A Herd of Elephants

Dear new downstairs neighbor,

Can you hear us up here?  Wait, of course you can, we're loud.  We're not trying to be, we promise.  

But some of us are 4 and 2 and are struggling to understand that we are not the center of the universe.  Do you know what that's like?  Coming to terms with the reality that other people exist?  You live alone, so maybe you don't.  But, that's where we come in, with our chasing matches up and down the hall and our jumping, dancing, whirling dervish, can you make yourself throw up spinning episodes, to say nothing of the car races and superhero fights that routinely get hashed out.  With all of that to assist you, dear neighbor, you can't help but be "gently" reminded that you're not alone in the universe -- at least not in this corner where we have noisily, despite our best efforts, set up residence.  

Luckily for you, and us (if you're the complain to the powers that be type), we have an upstairs too and a rule.  Our rule is "no jumping downstairs."  Simple enough, no?  

But, here's the problem, the couches and the bunk beds are downstairs, so the rule is a toughie and sometimes seems almost cruel.  I mean, when you're saving the planet, sometimes you have to perch high enough to see the people below before you can, you guessed it, jump down and save them.  I mean, let's be serious, when you're saving the planet, your options are often limited.  Do you know about saving the planet, downstairs neighbor?  

We do have rugs and padding beneath the rugs and like the HOA requires more than 80% of our floors are covered.  Honestly, they are, we did the math.  But, is that helping?  Can you hear us reminding and chiding and begging and pleading and bribing the little people up here to follow the rule?  Surely you can.  We do it several times a day, and sometimes not quietly, no, definitely not always quietly.

I often wonder what it sounds like to you.  We're on the top floor, so I really can't imagine.  How many people do you think live up here?  Can you hear every step, however light?  And the less than light ones, do they make you nervous or just annoyed?  Does it sound like a herd of elephants?  Or maybe just a leash of greyhounds?  Or, hopefully, an ostentation of peacocks?  Please let it be the peacocks.

I hope that you are gone a lot, because we are not.  No, we are not.  And winter is coming and we'll be here even more.  We'll be here day in and day out in all our rough and tumble, we're exceptionally good at being a toddler/preschooler glory.

But, I promise two things, okay, three actually.  First, when the spring comes we'll go outside for as long as humanly possible.  We'll do as much running and jumping and saving the planet outdoors as we can.  Second, we won't be here forever.  In less than two years, we'll be gone, for good.  And we'll try very hard to rent the place to someone who sounds like an array of hedgehogs instead of a bloat of hippopotamuses.  And, finally, we're nice.  We are.  And we make great baked goods.  You'll find that out soon enough, Christmas is coming after all.  Any favorites?

In the meantime, dear neighbor, thank you for your patience and indulgence.  We're doing our best and maybe very soon you'll come to think of us as background noise.  Maybe?

Your upstairs cohort of zebra


stephanie said...

being quiet with two little boys! I think that might be impossible.

When Landan started working graveyard shift and sleeping during the day, I swear they were noisier than ever!

Good luck with that!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you make time to blog with all your other obligations (in fact, I want to know how your day-to-day schedule happens!) but I'm very glad you do. And having been a permanent basement-dweller in my adult life, I can say that I much prefer the pitter-patter, and even jumping, of exuberant little feet than the horrid thud of my grandparents exiting their lazyboy recliners at 4am :)

Z. Marie said...

Years ago when I was single and lived by myself, I got a letter from my apartment complex informing me of a noise complaint. Whatever. I worked 3 p.m. to midnight. Maybe it was the cats.
Now our upstairs neighbor's kids run around almost 24 hours a day. We know them (he's also with the consulate), but it still drives me crazy sometimes.
I hope your neighbors understand. Good luck!

Jen said...

Here's hoping for understanding neighbors, though personally I find children's noise to be happy. Now the girls who lived above me in college...I can still hear the click, click, click of their stiletto heels on the wooden floors...far more annoying than any child noises I can think of!

Lauren in GA said...

That was superbly written. I loved it.

If we had a downstairs neighbor there would be many complaints. Heck, I have complaints and I live on the same floor with my brood.

Becky said...

Wonderful post! You really sum it up well. When we moved to our house here, it was the first time we hadn't lived in some sort of apartment set up. I had to keep reminding myself that there were no downstairs neighbors to worry about.

mid said...


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