There is a follow up here: http://alumiere.livejournal.com/416660.html please read that too and if you have comments make them there. I've closed comments on this post as of 1pm Saturday 6/5/10.
This is ___, the purple-haired girl with the cane who lives downstairs in apartment ___. I've been struggling with how to approach you about this for the past few weeks, but no matter what I come up with, it seems off, so I am going to try a letter in the hope that you'll understand that I'm not trying to be rude or disrespectful. I am certain you aren't doing this deliberately, just that you have no idea how well sound seems to carry through the building, or that as the weather has warmed up it's gotten worse.
I should start by explaining that I'm disabled with multiple chronic illnesses, so I'm home almost all the time, and my body needs up to 16 hours a day of sleep/nap/downtime. I'm in bed most nights between 10pm and midnight, and I rarely wake up before noon. I also nap during the day quite often, and some of the medication they've tried has had side effects that amped up my senses of hearing and smell which makes home the only safe space I have.
Unfortunately, the increased hearing also means that the sound that carries from your apartment to mine is incredibly loud and sometimes painful for me. The dog(?) that is sometimes there sounds like a small horse running around over my head. The vacuum cleaner is like standing next to a motorcycle. Opening and closing closets sounds like you're angry and slamming doors around. And worst of all is the walking – it not only sounds like a 150lb child constantly stamping his feet during a temper tantrum, it actually reverberates off the walls and echoes throughout our apartment, so I feel it too. My other half and our friends can hear it quite clearly, but assure me that it's only about three-quarters as loud as I think it is, although they agree that it's gotten louder as the weather has warmed up.
I'm thinking the change in the weather has brought a change in footwear or the fact that your windows are open more has changed the acoustics of your space, but every sound definitely carries much more clearly than it did over the winter months, and I'm sure that you're unaware of that. At any rate, this is causing huge disruptions in my ability to get sound sleep during the night, which is increasing my need for daytime naps, only they get interrupted too, and less sleep means more pain and other problems – it's a vicious cycle.
When one of the property managers (Robert? Jeff?) told us that our neighbors were being bothered by our smoking we stopped smoking inside and we do our best to make sure when we sit outside it's not blowing directly into anyone's windows, even though we'd specified in the lease that we're smokers and we would be smoking inside as we didn't want to have to sit outside during the winter. We still do our best to make sure the cigarette smoke stays away from the other apartments, in order to keep from bothering anyone.
I'm asking that you show us similar consideration, and please slow down a little bit upstairs. I don't expect silence between 10pm and noon, but it would be awesome if you could be a bit quieter during those hours so I can sleep better. I'm almost afraid of what will happen when the weather starts getting hot and we open our windows at night too. I already have/use white noise and I sleep with my ears sandwiched between down pillows most of the time, so I've done all I can to ignore/muffle the sounds; and the sleep medication only does so much.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me or knock on the door – I'm almost always home.
ETA: Got it. I will try talking to them in person first, when I have a day I can get up the stairs and am awake at the time that they start stomping around.
That said, the letter was trying very hard to be nice and not upset; one of the comments suggested that it's not like they're wrong. Tell me, is vacuuming at 1am reasonable? What about chasing the dog around the apartment at that hour playing catch. But I'm trying very hard not to come off as being a bitch here, just to let them know that they keep waking me up at ungodly hours and that it's really fucking with me in ways they are no-doubt unaware of. And the smoking was brought up because the upstairs tenants spoke to the landlord before they tried talking to us, which is part of why I'm hesitant to talk to them F2F.
ETA2: The footsteps and slamming don't occur at 6am, when I hear them showering and getting dressed for work quietly, this is only when they obviously think there's not someone asleep directly below them. So it is not that they're incapable of doing these tasks without the noise, rather that it doesn't seem to matter if it's after 9am or so.