I had a friend call once and hesitantly asked if it was a good time to talk. I told her it was, and she responded with “Are you sure? because it’s sounds like you are out and I don’t want to interrupt.” I said “No I’m at home with the kids”. She thought I was at Chuck E. Cheese. I’m not too surprised. That’s just what it sounds like on any given day, except if we really were like a Chuck E. Cheese then my children wouldn’t always be begging me to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I don’t even think that we are that loud, we are probably a very moderate volume. We just happen to have 3 children ages 6 and under in a relatively small space, so the sound has nowhere to go.

Last week we had a visit from apartment management to change a filter and some routine stuff, but on their way out the land lord informed us that there had been a complaint. My mind immediately went to all of the items that the baby had been throwing over the balcony, but no, it was the noise level. We defended ourselves by saying the kids go to bed at 8:30 so it’s not like late night partying, and we were told when we moved in that children were welcome. They understood, but apparently one tenant has been pretty persistent that there has been running, stomping, and jumping happening at night and on weekends. For the record the woman that said this works during the weekdays (from what we can tell by her car) so in other words when she is home, that is when she hears it. Welcome to my world. 
The odd thing about this complaint was that the renter that lives directly under us is a young woman that plays loud music and has always been very kind and understanding about our circumstances. So I found it hard to believe that she would relentlessly place calls with management in such a way. After J and I went through every possible option of who would make this call, all we could think was that it was the woman that lives two floors below us. But how could that be? Could she possibly hear us from that far away?
Turns out she can, and here is how we know. Shortly after this all took place she left a note right out in the open taped to the front of the young woman’s door that lives below us. It actually had my name on it so I truly thought it was intended for me although, I guess we just happen to have the same name? It basically said 

 Sorry I didn’t take my complaint to you first, I just wasn’t sure how I would be received. I don’t think the noise I am hearing is a TV. It’s more like stomping, running, and jumping. Maybe it’s the people above you. It bothers my dog and makes him very nervous and scared. Then he gets sick. That is why I informed management. Thank you for your note. 

Now I am no detective, but I have enough clues to fill in the missing pieces here. The lady with the dog had a note taped to her door the week before. I saw it when I went to do laundry, but it didn’t mean anything to me and so I thought nothing of it. I’m guessing it said something to the effect of

I was informed by the landlord that there was a complaint about the noise level of my apartment. The only thing I can imagine this could be caused by is my TV and if it is too loud then I wish you would just come to me so that I can turn it down….  

It sounds like all parties involved are being pretty considerate, so I appreciate that. And I do feel sorry for anyone that lives below my family or Jim Gaffigan’s (that was a plug for the book Dad Is Fat. If you  haven’t read it then you should and then you’ll get it). But what it comes down to is a dog that gets nervous vs. my three energetic children. Now I hate to be an obnoxious neighbor, but I refuse to raise my kids in a prison cell and they will continue to be allowed to be children during daylight hours. I do the best I can to get them out of the apartment to get their exercise at McDonald’s, the nature center, a local park etc. It’s not easy, but it’s for my sake and theirs that I do this. Even with all of that there are days that weather, illness, or money does not permit recreational activity or days where despite my best efforts they still manage to be silly and hyper at home.

In conclusion, I make sure the kids take off their shoes when they come inside (something they are supposed to be doing anyway) and I have let them know at 8:00 it’s quiet time. That’s really the best I can do. Unless maybe someone knows where I can find some doggy ear plugs.