Spring 2008 I have sold my house and car. (Primo has three, yes three, cars and does not think a 1992 paid-for Toyota is worth keeping.) We put my stuff into storage in Primo's city and I am living with him in his apartment while we (=I) look for a house. We plan to be out of the apartment within a month or two, so Primo does not say anything to his apartment management about my presence.
We still have the crazy laundry people upstairs. They live directly above Primo and do two loads of laundry every single day. One load at 8:00 a.m., another at 4:00 p.m. You can almost set your watch by them. They also do something at 6:00 a.m. - sweeping the carpet? walking on the treadmill? Whatever it is, we hear it.
When they first moved in, they did laundry at 5:30 a.m. You can hear their washing machine in Primo's apartment. Primo, a night owl, did not appreciate being woken after only an hour or two of sleep. He called the apartment management, who informed the upstairs couple that quiet hours are between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
The crazy laundry people comply with the rules. They wait until 8:00 a.m. to start the washer. 8:00 exactly.
They are retired. What are they washing? Maybe they're incontinent. But that's what Depends are for.
Primo is tired of being woken every morning at 8:00. We hatch a plan to ask them nicely to wait until a little bit later, at least on weekends. He is going to explain that he often works late, that he has conference calls to India at midnight, that he would really like a little more sleep.
He is going to accompany the request with a plateful of hot out of the oven chocolate chocolate chip cookies. With Ghirardelli chocolate chips. The Good Chocolate.
We make the cookies. He takes them upstairs. Knocks on the door. Explains he lives downstairs and would they wait until later for the laund-
"We talked to the manager. Quiet hours are only until 8:00 a.m.," crazy laundry person #1 snaps.
"But so much laundry!" Primo protests.
"You have to stay on top of it!"
Then crazy laundry person #1 then tells Primo that they are tired of all the noise we make. You know, opening and closing the patio door, making our late (8:00 p.m.) suppers. "This is Fairview [I have given Primo's city a pseudonym]," crazy laundry person tells Primo. "This is not New York City! People here get up early."
Then crazy laundry person slams the door. And keeps the cookies.
We are astonished. Two retired people, 14 loads of laundry a week. And they are bothered by our opening the patio door? Plus we totally don't get the New York City reference. Does the crazy laundry person think that it's quiet in New York City? That people in New York sleep late? What's up with that?
After that, it's war. I make a point of opening and closing the patio door in the evening. One night, when we know that the next-door neighbors are gone and won't be bothered, we play records super loud.
One day Primo is on a business trip. The crazy laundry people have been particularly annoying. I crank up the stereo in Primo's bedroom so it will bother them, then knock on the next-door neighbor's door. "Is that music too loud for you?" I ask. He tells me no. Good. I go to the gym.
When I return, the next-door guy pounds on my door. "Turn it down!" he tells me. I apologize, thinking that I had asked him if it was too loud.
Then I get a call from Primo. He is livid. The next-door guy had tried knocking while I was gone and had gotten no answer. Then he called. Primo gets the call. He is super mad at me for my little stunt.
Then Primo gets a letter from the manager saying that someone has reported that Primo has someone living with him.
Oh great. The neighbor is a stoolie. This is life in a police state.
I am panicked. What if they kick me out? I have nowhere to go. I feel sick. Primo is beyond furious.
"How could you do that?" he asks. "I live here!"
Well, remember that we did it before? Played loud music?
But yes. It is a juvenile stunt, but honestly, they won't stop making noise so why should I?
I later run into the next-door neighbor with his wife. I apologize again and tell them that I know it makes me sound really bad, but I did it to bother the upstairs people. The wife nods and says, "They're nuts! I've seen them sweeping their parking space!" The husband starts telling me about their upstairs neighbor, who watches TV late into the night. Then I make some apology brownies for the next-door people.
Primo is still mad. I want him to get over it. I've apologized to the next-door people. I don't care about the upstairs, two load a day neighbors and continue to open and close the patio door. Oh, the horror!
He is better once he talks to the apartment management and discovers that all he needs to do is send them a letter telling them I am staying.
He is even better when he learns that the apartment people will not let him go month to month on the lease while we look for a house and that we must give not one but two months' notice to move out. After living there for five years, he thinks he deserves a little more consideration. But now we are really pressured to find a house and move out and the management is not helpful. He is not so worried about keeping the apartment management happy after that.