Tuesday, 04 June 2013
In Total Silence
By Mage Bailey of Postcards
“Free,” they told us and we, knowing there was really nothing free, signed on the dotted line anyway.
It all began last year. The Quieter Home Program, as it is called, was set up by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to quell the masses of complaints about aircraft noise and stop any possible suits from aircraft that might fall from the sky on our heads.
They promised to install new triple-paned windows, new soundproofed doors, heating and air conditioning so those of us who lived under the flight path could now live in silent, softly cushioned, totally isolated comfort.
We signed the papers about two years ago. A year later, we were invited back for a design review or two and almost a year from that date we went back to their offices to finalize everything.
Over that last year there were small changes. They agreed to lower the office ceiling instead of our elaborately structured, Victorian bathroom ceiling. No longer was a large heating unit to be installed on our living room wall. We waited.
Finally they gave us a start date and at the end of March, we received a little printed-out map that showed us which items they wished us to move away from the walls.
Of course it made sense - move all our things off the walls. All. They didn’t want to be responsible for the mountains of books or the huge volumes of art they might knock over, poke holes in or cause to collapse.
They wanted to install miles of ducting and wires. I understood. I didn’t want their damages anywhere in our home either. Only when confronted by the actual thought of “all’ did I begin to get upset.
We don’t live in isolation; we live in the middle of a fortress of books and art.
My husband, George, set up his home office in a corner of the living room and went back to work. I began to pack away the first of the art and books. By the ninth of April, the packing was reflected in my blog writing:
“I woke up very depressed and cranky this morning,” I wrote. On the tenth I said, “It’s hard to stay depressed with the sun out, the temp in the high 60s, and clear, white clouds scattered here or there, but I am feeling dark and gloomy. I have never admitted to being depressed and cranky before, yet I find I’m acting like a spoiled brat going through menopause.”
On the 11th, I ran away from home to work leaving poor G to deal with the workmen. They installed most of the doors and windows that day and the following day the HVAC was installed.
We moved to a hole in the wall Airport Ramada Inn while the electrician had the power off, only to find that the electrician had called in sick. He showed up late Monday afternoon.
We waited out other chaos-filled days by camping out with our two computers in a corner of the living room. We waited by eating on our laps on the sofa hidden behind a mountainous wall of living room stuff.
We showered at the Y because our main bathroom was filled with art. The downstairs half bath was three-quarters filled with boxes and more art. I got crabbier by the day.
We slept on our bed pushed up to the sliders surrounded by office furniture and dressers. We crept through tunnels of boxes to escape the madness.
Most days little got done. G discovered the office DSL and phone lines were walled up behind the new ducting. They fixed it. I ate over it. The inspectors came too late. I kept eating. The drywallers never came. I had ice cream.
By the 14th day of living in the midst of chaos, I began cleaning out the still-standing bookcases. Seven shelves of science fiction books went to the Discovery Thrift Shop. Two big shelves of unused-by-me cookbooks went there too.
Am I going to read it? Is G going to read it? Will it be used? Out it all went. I ate cookies at work.
Bookcase shelves were scrubbed, the dust was banished, any remaining mold from the big house was dispatched at light speed. I had a peanut butter and butter sandwiches.
We keep waiting for more action. Nothing much happened this week. The chaos hangs there imprisoning me in my thinking.
I’m going to go have a steak. Nothing is free.
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