Monday, October 11, 2010

COLUMN: Quiet


Well, two months in and I think I'm finally getting the hang of being a homeowner. I know this because I've finally stopped driving to my old apartment complex, smacking myself in the head, and realizing that I don't live there any longer.

Otherwise, it still seems surreal. It's almost like I'm on some kind of crazy long-term vacation... and stranger still, it appears that I've invited my father along. Don't get me wrong, I am BEYOND blessed to have a dad who's willing to drive up and help finish my basement for free (and by "help," I pretty much mean "do everything while crippled Shane nurses a broken foot upstairs." His help has been awesome, and the basement is starting to look AMAZING. Man-cave, here I come.

There's just one thing that officially weirds me out about owning my own home: the bizarre silence.

My house is quiet. Like, drop-a-pin-and-you'd-hear-it kinda quiet. Some people might love this. Me? Not so much.

I always thought that my old apartment complex was rather quiet. That said, I could always count on the downstairs neighbor turning his TV up so loud that I could tell what he was watching, or the guys next door deciding that 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning was ideal throw-a-party time, or the triple-X amorous adventures of my upstairs neighbor and The Squeakiest Bedsprings Of All Time. But I was never really bothered by any of this -- it just kind of congealed together into a pleasing little urban lullaby.

But there's no lullaby at the new house. I used to make fun of my dad for owning one of those white-noise machines that just goes "Kshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" all night long. Now I kinda get it. I'd rather hear a night's worth of kshhhhhhhing than the sound of atoms bouncing around in my brain, which is about all the new house provides.

The house is, in fact, SO quiet that when it's NOT quiet, it's heart-attack inducing. There's a walnut tree out back, and occasionally the wind and/or burgeoning squirrel populace will drop one of those puppies onto the roof with a polite little BOOMP! But that BOOMP! is enough for me to shoot out of bed in a cold sweat ready to do battle with the Bogeyman.

But there's one resident of Castle Shane who hates the quiet even worse than me: Bez, my cat.

There's no question that Bez has always been the alpha resident of our abode no matter where I live. My other cat is skittish and jumpy, but not Bez. She's the one who runs out and sizes up visitors. She's the one who determines when, where, and for how long we're privileged to pet her. She's the one who tells us when she needs food (the usual answer? NOW.) It's been made clear since Day One that she is the primary resident of the household and the rest of us are just lucky that she's agreed somewhat begrudgingly to our co-habitation.

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SEE? That was Bez, who decided that right NOW was the opportune time to hike across my laptop keyboard with absolutely NO attention to me trying to type. I'm pretty sure that's cat for "I OWN YOU, BUBBA."

But whaddaya know... it turns out my alpha cat is afraid of boom noises from the sky.

My old apartment was on the middle floor of the complex, tucked in a corner and shielded fairly well from the elements. You'd hear thunder, sure, but in a polite little "say-I-think-it-might-be-storming-out" kinda way. At my new place, between the vaulted ceilings and skylights, you don't just hear thunder -- you experience the whole storm in 3D Dolby Sensurround. The thunder doesn't go boom at my house -- it goes bbbBBOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMmmmm.

I'll admit it -- the first time a storm rolled through after I moved, it even scared ME a little bit. Instead of just having one westward-facing window, I've got windows all over the joint, and the wind rattles every one of 'em while lightning makes the skylights come to life. I was a little creeped out. Bez, on the other hand, was a few stages past that.

I discovered this when I discovered her... shivering in fear behind the toilet, going "Mroooooooooooooow! Mrooooooooooooooow! Mroooooooooooooow!" This was not a normal cat meow by any measure. No, this was an I-am-DEEPLY-concerned-about-the-happenings-outside kinda meow. My other cat, meanwhile -- whose primary role in life is to dash under the bed at the first sign of, well, anything -- sat curled up on the couch, looking at me like, "What? I like rain."

I went to the bathroom to try and calm things down. (I always wanted to say that sentence.) I tried talking to her in my best aww-wookit-da-pretty-kitty voice (and yes, all men have this voice. They just don't use it if any not-cat is around.) No dice. I tried picking her up. "Mroooooooooooooooooooow!" Nope, I still bear the claw marks to this day. I tried moving her to another room, but she just jumped down and army-crawled on her belly right back to the toilet. It was a good 4-5 hours after the storm when she finally poked her head out of the bathroom, looking for the all-clear signal.

So for the time being, NONE of us are getting sleep - me OR the cats. And I don't know any solution, other than to (a) build a machine that controls the weather (I know it's possible - I saw them do it on "General Hospital" once,) while I (b) hire people to move in and play loud TV in my basement while making babies in my loft. Maybe then I can get a decent night's sleep.

1 comment:

Amy said...

:) I love that picture of you and Bezzers!