We’ve had something going on that has gotten so out of hand it’s downright comical. I haven’t complained (much) except maybe two tweets and a Facebook status or two over the past year, but the fact is, that I am SO SICK OF THE NOISE that I can’t take it anymore. I don’t even know what quiet daily life (or life with three boys for that matter) even sounds like anymore. Basically, there is absolutely nothing I can do, so I might as well just write about it.
The Neighbor to the Left
When we moved into this house in October 2012, the people in the standalone house to our left were just beginning a project. I think that people lived in there at the time- but it was clear that they were planning something and everyone was going to move out while work was being done. One day a huge blue bin showed up in their front yard. It was hideous and took up a ton of space- and even crept into our driveway which made it a total pain when we had the car in our driveway and were trying to get out of the car and into the house. I thought it was a pity, but meh. Life goes on.
And now here we are, a little over one year later and I am laughing at my ignorance. I had no idea the scope of this project that our neighbor was undertaking- but wow. If annoyance by a bin in the yard was the start- I don’t think I’d believe where we are today.
The back end of the house. There used to be a two-story building here, but has since been ripped out. The tile floor has been removed, and he is adding new plumbing. This is directly below my bedroom window. You can see where some of the walls were removed.
Basically there is one guy who is renovating the entire 100 year-old house by himself. The first part of this project was to demo the entire back-end of the house: rip up the tile, brick, framing- everything. When the jackhammering on the floor started this past summer I wasn’t sure I could handle it. On two occasions we had to go next door (we share our backyard gate) and ask him to please stop for the night (9:30pm) since the boys were in bed. It was so loud- I honestly cannot compare it to anything that I know. It was a man with a jackhammer digging up the tile floor in a house. Square by square, inch by inch.
When I thought it couldn’t get much worse than the house vibrating from the jackhammer, it was time for him to demo the brick walls, He started with a sledgehammer and pounded away. When that wouldn’t do he had some kind of crazy brick-saw and was sawing the brick walls off. Do you have any idea how loud it is to saw through brick? It’s loud. And grating. And just absolutely terrible.
Over time we have heard so much noise coming from a matter of feet away (I’m talking like at most 20 feet away) I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I mean, the poor man is doing this all himself- alone, in the rain (most days now) while he and his family live in temporary housing far back in the yard. He put in night spotlights so that he could work later in the evenings since it’s pitch black by 6pm. I feel for the guy- I do. And darn it if I don’t admire his hard work. He often came home on his lunch break (coincidentally also nap time) to bash through some walls. But dude. This is madness. From the looks of things he probably will not finish for the duration that we are living here.
The Neighbor to the Right
We deal with the Neighbor to the Left. Most times on the weekends over the summer when he was doing the toughest, tooth rattling work we took off for the day and didn’t have to listen to it. And now that it’s winter- most of the loud outside work is done and we thought we were safe. From his noise at least.
We adore our neighbors to the right. They share this ‘duplex’ unit with us and are the sweetest people. They have helped us out on several occasions, made us holiday treats, and gotten our mail & fed our fish when we’re out-of-town. About three weeks ago their oldest son moved out and from that moment on it has been non stop hammering, banging and tapping from the RIGHT side of our lives.
They happen to be remodeling their downstairs. Good for them! Right? Yeah, I mean- I bet they’ve been waiting for years and years to do this- but holy cannoli now we are experiencing what it sounds like to have tile and brick smashed, removed and broken up from the inside. We share a wall with them too (separated by a crawl space/cellar of sorts) but it is just crazy how loud it can get up in here.
Fortunately the boys are so used to the cacophony that they can nap right through it all, which I find incredible. I, on the other hand, cannot- so on the days they’re doing work I can’t nap. Woe is me.
Also (bright side)- that whole ‘worry’ I had over being loud (i.e. yelling) with the boys? Ha. There’s not a snowflake’s chance in hell that I worry about that now.
On the one hand I really admire the Dutch quality of these homes. I mean, brick and tile is no joke. The houses around us have to be at least 75-100 years old, ours is almost 100, and they are not even remotely showing signs of wear. A tornado is not going to blow anything down, so if you’re doing a renovation- you bust out the big guns. But what’s the etiquette here? Is it ok to ask how long is this going to go on, and if they can stop after 8pm at night? I have no idea if I am being rude or what.
I’ve asked my husband if we would still choose this house had we known all of this business. It would be a tough call since I adore the playroom and the set up is perfect for us. A little noise? We can handle it.
That’s about it from the Fabulous Tales of Living Life Abroad. Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?