I’ve called a realtor. I want to sell this condo and go back to a rental house. I’m meeting her on Friday to at least get the ball rolling.
I’m tired of living in a sound prison because our downstairs neighbor gets disturbed if we fart too loud. An exaggeration? Only slightly. Sound travels all to well through our floor. Ever since we got Rock Band there have been problems. The first day we got it she came up after we had been playing for like 6 hours. Now I can understand how that might have been annoying, don’t get me wrong, but then there was the day she came up at 4:00 in the after noon. And then yesterday at 5:00 in the afternoon. Then began the exchange of letters taped to doors. Starting with my letter to her:

Ms. [name],
We have tried to be polite and respect our community and neighbors but we can not go on living in our own home as prisoners. We have bent over backwards trying to be considerate of you.
We do not wash or dry clothes after 10:00 P.M even though that is a GREAT inconvenience to us. Sometimes that is the only time we have to do laundry and yet, per your request, if we absolutely must wash or dry clothes we take them to the laundromat across the complex at our own expense so as not to bother you, even though we own a washer and dryer.
We make a hard and fast rule to cut all noise by 10:00 P.M even though many of us are night owls. We use headphones instead of speakers. We have invested considerable amounts of money buying things that we hoped would dampen the noise for you.
We attempt to do things such as playing our music games (which we have, literally, thousands of dollars invested in, including the noise lessening efforts we’ve made on your behalf) when you are not at home. However, sometimes we have friends over or other circumstances. Asking us to quiet down at 4 or 5 in the afternoon is unacceptable to us. We do not want to disturb you or bother you, but we are no longer willing to sacrifice our own happiness for your benefit 24 hours a day.
Chapter 10-5-2, Section C of the Austin noise ordinance states: It shall be unlawful for any person, between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following morning, in either a public or private place or house in the city, to create, make or cause to be made upon musical instruments, horns or bugles, or by any other means, any loud noise which is reasonably calculated to disturb others in the vicinity of any such public or private place or house.
As you can see we are well within our legal rights and in fact go well beyond the call of duty in so many ways, especially the washer/dryer restriction which we adhere to purely out of courtesy. This has gone so far as to cause us to consider selling the condo and moving to a rent house rather than continue like this (but we can’t make any promises).
We will continue our endeavors to be as courteous as possible, especially after 10:00 P.M. but between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 10:30 P.M. we are going to live in our home as we see fit within our legal rights. I am truly sorry if this causes you duress but I feel that we compromise more than anyone could reasonably be expected and certainly more than the vast majority of neighbors would. We live a condo complex. This always entails certain compromises and sacrifices from all tenants. We don’t enjoy being the bad guys or being anything less than friendly but we no longer feel we have a choice.

Today came her reply:

Thank you very much for being so courteous. I did not realize how much effort and thought that took.
The only thing I have asked you to do is not play the games that have the loud drum sounds–that’s because that constant thumping would cause anyone to go mad. I’ve tried ear plugs but they did not help.
I might add that I too have tried to be considerate of you by not vacuuming in the mornings or early morning laundering. I keep my television turned low because I have heard other upstairs tenants complain that their downstairs neighbors play the T.V. too loud, and I know you probably sleep late.
Because of our age difference I realize that our life styles are very different. I have five grandchildren your ages and know how they have very different entertainment values. They do not, however, rely on expensive games, which could form a kind if imprisonment.
As for the noise ordinance, I’m attaching a page from the Mesa Village rules and regulations.
You have been good neighbors and polite and I appreciate that. Please don’t threaten to make things bad between us.

And my reply back:

Mrs. [name]
Just to be clear, we do not intend to “make” things bad between us or be any less polite than we have ever been. However, we are not willing to just put a blanket ban on the music games we love to play and have spent considerable money on. In the past we have largely avoided playing them at all for fear of that knock on our door. This is what we are no longer willing to do. We most certainly won’t play after 10:00, but but to expect us not to play at 5:00 in the afternoon or much less, not at all, is unreasonable. I’m sure you would find it unreasonable if we expected you to never watch your television again because it bothered us (which, incidentally, it doesn’t).
We will, however, highly endeavor to find another place to live. I sincerely hope your next neighbors are a quieter bunch.

Believe me I do sympathize and understand how annoying Rock Band drums must be downstairs. I’ve lived downstairs before and been annoyed by upstairs noise, and you know what? As long as it was within reasonable hours, I lived with it as part and parcel of living in a multi-unit building. She complained once because she could hear Jess’s computer fan humming through our floor into her bedroom! Now I went and listened, and yes you could hear a rhythmic hum, but you know what? The big light on the outside of our building also hums which is why we sleep with a fan on!
I’m sick of this crap, I’m sick of our soulless, tasteless, bland pop people Home Owner’s Association and paying them silly sums of money every month. Time to sell and find a nice rental house. We have some friends who live in a really nice rental home not all that far from where we are now. Plus we could probably rent a much larger house for the same as we pay per month now. I HATE moving but I think the time may have come.