09 November 2012

House Sound Check

Welcome back. Last May, I was invited to co-edit the Homeowner section of the Stage of Life website (www.stageoflife.com). The invitation was undoubtedly an outgrowth of my renown at getting my wife, Vicki, to address our household needs and repairs; or failing that, enlisting neighbors, acquaintances, passing strangers or, as a last resort, the highest rated service companies.

I’ve been using my monthly editor’s welcomes to suggest homeowner topics for readers to write about. Given the chance of convincing you to write a piece for the multigenerational website, I’m going to expand on one of the topics I promoted: Sounds (aka, Noises)

Example Noises

Do any of these words, some onomatopoeia, evoke incidents you might care to share: voices, music, drip, creak, gurgle, thump, shoop, shutter?

With voices, I’m not thinking ghosts; I’m remembering apartments with thin walls or loud neighbors, or both. That’s pretty much the same with music, though bedding down the other night, we could hear music from a neighbor’s event. That’s a first. The only music we’ve ever heard from outside is when our son or another young music lover approached, testing the limits of a car’s sound system.

Moving on to honest-to-goodness house sounds, I’ll start with the first house I owned. It cost about $20,000, which adjusted for inflation, would be approximately $1.73 million today.


The house hated me. It quickly discovered how incompetent I was with plumbing and would seize every opportunity to drip, drip, drip--every faucet and valve. When I made the courageous, albeit brainless, decision to replace the kitchen faucet myself, on a Saturday no less, instead of dripping its displeasure, the house gushed forth a geyser that moistened the ceiling tiles.

A  leaking faucet.
And there were other hateful sounds. The house was constructed of Legos. No, that’s not right; Legos are sturdy. Whatever its inferior, modular construction, the house blamed me. Whenever the wind blew or considered blowing, the house threatened to collapse. The sound was a very menacing creak; one to be recorded for Halloween.

Escape to Other Noises

We soon moved to an older, stronger house, ostensibly to be closer to work. This old girl wouldn’t drip or give an inch to wind, yet she lifted her skirt for the slightest rain shower. The sound following our first rainfall in the house was a gurgling from below. Opening the door to the basement and gazing down the stairs, I saw furniture float by.

Our present house likes or at least tolerates me. In turn, I’ve stopped wondering and worrying about its distinctive sounds: the shoop from the sticking door; the thumps when the furnace is pumping; whatever shutters in the attic when the wind blows just right; the creaking stairs.

Recently, however, Vicki was away, and I (alone) was forced to deal with a faulty kitchen faucet, two dripping bathroom faucets and a loose bathtub spout. Given the totality, I demonstrated my skill at selecting the highest rated plumbing company. The company--clearly unaware of my reputation and position as a Homeowner section coeditor--sent a plumber from its second string.

I won’t detail the experience beyond noting that I had to schedule a revisit and that I’m still rotating a bathroom faucet in the wrong direction. Yes, of course, I know how to fix it, and I’m hoping Vicki gets back soon.

Wrap Up

Well? How about the sounds of your abodes? Feel free to comment here or, better, visit the Stage of Life with your story. If you find my editor’s welcome, you’ll see I’m on my next topic, Aromas (aka, Smells or Odors). That begins with a vulture on the street in front of our house.

Thanks for stopping by.

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