Monday, April 8, 2013

Noises Off



Do you like quiet?  When I was a kid I thought quiet was a curse.  You had to be quiet in school and church and even when playing in the evening in my grandma’s backyard because Hazel, they elderly next door neighbor lady, went to bed at 7 p.m.--even in the summer. 

I grew up in the 70s when loud music reigned supreme.  Why even the groups told you to pump up the volume.  Who can forget Lynrd Skynrd’s encouragement to “Turn it up!” in Sweet Home Alabama?  Or Elton John’s lyrics in Bennie and the Jets:  You’re going to hear electric music, solid walls of sound?  And truly the music played back then sometimes felt like a brick wall pounding your body.  Does anybody remember the Bone-Phone?  It was a sock-like device you draped around your neck that played music that only you could hear because it sent sound waves through your bones.  I never had one, but my first rock concert was to see Seals & Crofts at the Civic Arena.  My date got us front-row seats directly in front of the speakers that seemed 20-feet high.  It was so loud, you could feel the sound waves thumping in your chest, and my ears rang for days afterward. 

Back then noise was cool; quiet wasn’t.  Today, I feel differently, especially after the past few weeks that I’ve had.    

My family room ceiling developed a leak after that first big snowfall we had last December.  We decided we would try to patch it and opt for a new roof in the spring.  We went away for a week in the beginning of March, and when we returned, the leak had gotten worse.  Apparently, it had been leaking behind the wall.  Long story short, the wall and ceiling had to be gutted and the restoration services company that did the work brought in three heavy-duty fans and a humidifier to dry up the water damage.  The fans had to run continuously from Tuesday afternoon until Friday.  I felt as if we’d moved into an airplane hangar.  The sound made it unbearable to sit in the family room, and I couldn’t hear the phone in the kitchen.  I had to snag the portable and run into the living room to talk to anyone.  We holed up in my bedroom for three nights watching TV, but you could still hear the hum of the fans.  

Yes, silence is golden.

The day after the fans left, we got a new car, and we’ve been looking around a while for a puppy.  We found a sweetheart of a pup and made arrangements to meet the breeder in the Walmart parking lot in Uniontown.  I thought it would be a nifty idea to take the new car.  We found the breeder, got our puppy (who is adorable) and had a bit of trouble with the key fob and the car’s alarm system.  When my husband opened the car door, the alarm wouldn’t shut off no matter how many times we pushed the disarm button.  Finally after pushing buttons, manually unlocking doors, it shut off.  It did that several times, but the kicker was after we finally got the alarm to cease, we put the key in the ignition to head for home, but when he started the engine, the alarms came on and stayed on.  And every time we started the car, the horn blared.  

 Here we were 90 minutes from home, with a new puppy, new car, cell phones dying with what sounded likethe Tijuana Brass was under our hood.  Eventually, the brass band morphed into a sound that could only be described as one of Canada geese being strangled.  Mercifully, AAA sent a fellow named Bubba, who should have been named Prince Charming because he fiddled with the locks a bit and silenced it so we could drive home. 

Gratuitous Puppy Photo of Mickey
The puppy, which we named Mickey, is a blue roan cockachon.  His mother was a blue roan cocker spaniel and his father a bichon frise.  He looks like a four-pound pile of ashes and is a big cuddler.  If you have read my column before, you know that I have very little experience with dogs.  With ears still ringing, we settled in for our first night with Mickey, who we put in a crate and set by the bedside.  After a bit of whining, he fell asleep, but he awoke at 2:30.  If I didn’t know that we had a puppy in the crate, I would have thought we’d brought home some exotic creature from the Amazon because the noise that emanated from his crate certainly didn’t sound canine.  My dog-loving friends tell me things will get better on the sleeping scene. 

Now, that spring is here, thoughts are turning to vacation.  A few people have asked me what our plans are for this summer?  With roof repairs and a new puppy, I’m not certain, but I wonder if Travelocity has any package deals to a silent monastery.

This originally appeared in the April issue of Northern Connection magazine.

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