Noises in the night

Breaking the sound barrier

An email from my brother just now gave me an idea to write about.

Any time you sleep under a different roof, you are bound to be aware of unusual sounds. Depending on how far you have travelled, and how aware you tend to be of these things, these sounds can vary greatly.

When I upped sticks in Washington State and moved Upstate New York, I was fully expecting a whole set of new noises. I had spent quite a lot of time in Maine where the house I was in was really in the stix, and I kind of expected similar sounds in my new home. Nature sounds, perhaps. Radiators clicking.

I noted that there was a state road not far away, and when the wind was in the wrong direction, you could expect to hear rare traffic in the distance.

The first few nights in my new home, I was in a state of complete “shatterment”. There, I’ve coined a new word. I was exhausted, wiped out, in a state of collapse. So noises were something I could not have cared less about as I fell into my bed.

After two nights, Grant went back to Seattle to sort out my house there, and I was left alone with the 13 cats.

It wasn’t that I was nervous of being in the house by myself. In the past I was, in some of the places where I lived, but in my new home I felt quite safe. (Still do, even after being told about the quite horrendous murder that occurred nearby once.)

So I settled in bed with my book, noticing my new nighttime noises which were very much as expected, similar to the noises, or lack thereof, in Maine. Basically, minor house noises, including thirteen cats getting themselves organized.

Personally, I actually prefer a few very gentle sounds because my ears do not respond well to total silence. I don’t know why this is. Maybe many years of being exposed to aircraft engines does something to one’s eardrums.

Grant says it’s because the metal in my back acts as an antenna but I don’t subscribe to that idea because I had this problem a long time before the metal was placed in my spine.

When I am surrounded by total silence, I hear deafening sounds in my ears. Maybe everyone does, although I have never heard mention of it. I always told myself it was the sound of the Universe, but I am sure there is a much more mundane explanation.

What I hear at those times of complete silence, which these days are pretty rare, given that even Nature can make quite a racket at times, never mind 13 cats, what I hear tends to sound like an old transistor radio broadcasting over a long distance. I “hear” news being read or music playing, but it is all very indistinct. Once in a while I feel as if I can hear a fragment of a conversation. I would love to know what it really is.

For a couple of nights, there was heavenly peace. After the busy traffic sounds I had lived with in Washington, it was bliss.

While reading one night, I dozed off to be stirred by what seemed like something outside my window. A picture popped into my mind of a male deer grazing out there, rubbing his antlers against the wall of my bedroom. (Very likely!) I got up to take a look but was disappointed. No sign of any creature out there.

Settling back into my book, I heard the noise again and started to laugh. It was my stomach growling!

But then came a noise that made me sit bolt upright. It was faint at first. Something in the basement, in what Grant calls the “boiler room”. As I listened it grew louder and louder and LOUDER.

OMG. What’s that!

I ran to the door of the basement wondering if something was about to explode. Should I be doing something? Should I call someone? Well who, exactly? Grant couldn’t help much from the West Coast. Should I flee into the night with the cats? I certainly couldn’t flee without them.

Anyway, it was cold out, so I didn’t fancy that idea.

(- I am a very practical person. I was on a ship once among icebergs when I became emotionally upset to the point of exclaiming, – “I would jump overboard if it wasn’t so damn cold!” Conditional suicide? I guess I wasn’t that upset!)

So I did not flee, and although the noise repeated again after a few minutes, nothing untoward happened, as far as I could make out. I mentioned it to Grant next day, on the phone, but I think he thought I was just nervous and imagining things.

Then I stopped at the post office to see if any mail had come to my new address and I found a letter from the previous owner.

“Don’t be alarmed by the water softner”, it said, “it’s rather loud.” Rather? (Now they tell me!)

Water softner? I had never heard of a system whereby you feed salt into your water supply in order to avoid corrosion of your pipes. Nevertheless, this is what I have. The well water is apparently very “hard” and I certainly don’t want corroded pipes.

But the sound is earth-shattering, and why it was programmed to occur at 2300 hours is rather a puzzle. I suppose if it really troubled me I could make it my business to get the thing re-programmed to a more civilized hour, but I am always still awake at 11pm and Grant is basically deaf so, as they say, no worries!

Water softner!

And now I will adjourn to write something else. Christmas cards….moan….

2 thoughts on “Noises in the night

  1. Oh Gosh, I love all those sweet cat faces!

    How interesting that a water would make such a loud noise!
    This was a nice read!
    Thank you!

  2. We live on a fairly busy street, with a lot of traffic noises, and because I am a very light sleeper, I have a small fan sitting on my tile bathroom floor which makes a very comforting sound that will muffle any of that. One thing that is horrendous is when the ice maker bin needs to be emptied of old and stale ice. The first few times it dumps new ice into the empty bin, it is a sound that sounds like the house is caving in. I never get used to it. It’s probably as bad as your water softner. I imagine the salt is in the form of pellets? At least, we know what those sounds are.

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