Meeting the neighbors

Armed with good earplugs our second night was much better than the first. We slept through the barking dogs and the roosters (the toilet was fixed) but not the car alarm (again???!!!)…. Except that it turns out that it’s not the car alarm. It’s the neighbors’ house alarm and it goes off at 5 am every morning! Our house is a duplex and we share a common wall with a crazy lady. She is not really crazy, just difficult. Apparently she always complains about everything, fights with all the neighbors and is generally a pain in the butt. Great!  And the reason her house alarm goes off every day is to bother another neighbor with whom she is feuding.  What have we gotten ourselves into? Esteban reminded me that this wouldn’t be happening at Fontinar (Club Med). Apparently, it’s a matter of class and education.

So I decided to nip this in the bud right away. We cannot be woken up at 5 am every morning! The kids are cranky and so are Esteban and I. I decided to go talk to her with our landlord. Esteban was so annoyed that he was threatening to ring their doorbell at 2 am every morning and I didn’t think that this was a good approach to neighborly relations. Did he mention class and education, by the way?

The strategy was to kill her with kindness. I grabbed Saige in my arms (yes, I used my baby as part of this ploy, but hey, our entire family’s sleep was at stake) and walked over there. Our landlord introduced me to this neighbor, who did not have two heads and actually seemed very friendly, and I explained that we were all woken up by her alarm. To which she replied, “but it’s at 5 in the morning” as though I was complaining about an alarm going off in the middle of the day. So then the conversation went something like this:

“Yes, and it’s dark out and my kids don’t have to get up until 7 am”, I said as sweetly as I could.

“Well my family gets up at 5 am”, she said.

“Yes, but is there a way we can work this out so your family can wake up at 5 am without my family having to wake up as well?”, I said smiling my sweetest, fakest smile. Who uses a house alarm to wake up their family? Apparently, the motion detectors set off the alarm when she gets up and it rings for about a minute until she turns it off. Have these people heard of alarm clocks? I know they have them here in Colombia.

Ana Maria later told me that it was my smiling through all this that did it. She said I shamed this woman into agreeing to use the remote control to turn off her alarm before she gets out of bed and triggers the motion sensors. `And she did agree. I thanked her for her help and made small talk for a minute before we left.

Now let’s see if it works. Will the alarm really not go off tonight? Esteban is skeptical. I hope it works, not only so we can actually sleep through the night, but to show my husband that you can sometimes catch flies with honey.

This entry was posted in Life in Colombia, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Meeting the neighbors

  1. Anne says:

    Hi there,
    Keep up the good work, and at this rate you will have a book published before the end of the year! 🙂 Miss you all! Anne

  2. Cynthia Way says:

    I just caught up on a whole lot of entries. What an adventure, Natalie! The story really cracks me up. I’m curious to find out if the alarm stops at 5 am. Love the way you write about it too. Makes me laugh and I feel like I was there, watching everything.

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