Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Listen To Your House

Have you ever just sat in your silent house and listened to the sounds? Just sat there, with your eyes closed and taken it in. Even when I am the only one home my house is never truly silent, there is always something humming or making a whining noise (usually the dog wanting to be fed yet again). When I am home alone at night, in the middle of the night it is kinda creepy. We live in the woods and there are things in the woods. Things like coyotes that howl and a bunch of Barred Owls that sit in the tree next to the house and make me crazy (or crazier as the case may be). And then of course there are the marauders from the woods deer, who stand under my bedroom window, loudly eating my hosta and laughing in their little nasty deer voices.

It is when you DON'T hear something that you sit up and take notice. Or when you hear something that is not usually there. Case in point, when I don't hear the hum of the refrigerator. It occurs to you that something is missing. That was my problem this morning.

Walk into kitchen - no sound from frig except this little scrapping noise - hmmmmmm - open the frig door and all is cold - open freezer door and all is frozen - stand and listen - nothing - open frig door and let it stand open for a time - close then open freezer door and let it stand for a minute - look inside as if to diagnose any problem (like I would actually KNOW if there was a problem, yeah right) - wait, tamping down panic because we have already had a visit from the frig repair man this summer - go into office and then back into kitchen - GET A GRIP this thing is fine - finally that pleasant little hum comes back on and all is well. Do you think that 5am is too early for a restorative glass of red wine? They did it in Victorian times.

Now conversely (I love that phrase, it makes me sound like I actually know something), when you hear something that you shouldn't hear that is also bad. Case in point the alarm on our lovely nayadic waste water treatment plant which I described here. The alarm is really loud but you don't really hear it at first. But then, when you realize that it is going off you are all like, "Noooooooooooooooooooo!" And then you remember that you haven't gone to the bathroom for about 6 hours and your bladder is going to burst and you had meant to go but now you can't flush the toilet. Dang it. Fortunately this doesn't happen too often.

Here in semi-rural suburbia we are really fairly quiet. There aren't major sounds of traffic. I can hear the cicadas in the trees (I LOVE that sound). The dogs in the neighborhood bark on occasion and we hear the neighbors mowing lawns and cutting down trees. But nothing major, just the noise of semi-rural life. The lovely comforting hummmmmmm and gurgle coming from the septic tank.

Where I have found it is most noisy is in developing countries. WHO BOY, is there noise and it never seems to stop. My MIL and her husband spend 6 months of the year in Lima, Peru. When we go to visit them, even though they live on the top (9th) floor of a building there is always noise. There is the crazy lady in the condo below with her equally crazy yippy little dog - she is yelling, he is yipping all.night.long. Then there is the constant sound of people playing soccer into the wee hours of the morning. And the honking from the taxis and cars. Good golly people, take a break and go to bed.

And if I thought Peru was bad as far as noise is concerned then India takes the cake. Noise, Noise Noise, Noise (said in my best Grinch voice). Honking, people talking, people yelling, honking, animals, honking, music blaring from a bazillion shops, honking. And Ghana was about the same as India for that matter.

Hmmmm, I think I have wandered off topic, taken a rabbit trail, followed the butterflies into the meadow.

That isn't unusual unfortunately.

So, just sit in your house and listen to all those comforting sounds. And remember, if you hear that loud alarm coming from my basement that just means that I will be over to your house soon to use your toilet and shower in your bathroom. It is either that or use the "ravine latrine" and we try to keep that to a minimum. It scares the neighbors.


  1. I have to say that when I moved out here 23 years ago--there was wildlife--but not like we have today. We have had a resident skunk living outside our front bedroon window after dark for the last 3 weeks. I just hope that it doesn't give birth. And now the dog thinks that it is ok to pee and poop in the house. Would you let her out?

  2. Neighbors cutting down trees... is this a regular occurance?? I don't think that's very green of you.

  3. We cut down a few trees when we were first in the house, believe me we have PLENTY of trees. Last summer the next door neighbor had an Amish crew there for three WEEKS logging trees, which wasn't strictly legal I have now come to find out. But by then it was all over and done with.

  4. I did a short term to a developing country once, and as I lay trying to sleep one night, there were literally all kinds of farm animal noises right outside, and I mean exactly right outside the window! I'll never forget that.


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