Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Noise pollution

When we bought this house, we were coming from an apartment that was directly across from the Long Island Railroad.  So at the time, even on our busy street, our house seemed like a quiet paradise in the suburbs.  We even laughed as the previous owners showed us that he'd had soundproof windows installed to dull the street noise... talk about overkill, we thought.  On our first night sleeping in the house, I remember that we had a tough time falling asleep because it was too quiet.

Cue real life.  Our house was built in 1924, so pretty much every move you make creates some sort of creak or groan.  The floors whine in protest of my ever-increasing weight.  The doors seem to want to squeak, no matter how much WD-40 I spray on the hinges.  "But they don't build houses like they used to," David tells me when I complain about living in what feels to me to be our own rendition of a PBS show.  I didn't sign up for "1920's house," yet here I am.  

Those of you who don't live in an old house probably have no idea what the problem is.  But have you tried putting your child to bed, voices of the sleep experts resounding in your head: always put your child down drowsy but awake.  So you try your best to do that, and start sneaking out when his eyes are too heavy to stay open and he's just moments away from dreamland.  And then, cccrrrrreeeeaaaakkkkk!  You step on the wrong spot on the floor and he springs up from the bed, yelling "Mommy stay!  Mommy lay down!" and all you can think is "f**king 1920's house!"  Sure, it's not the floor's fault.  Instead, right before I leave, I could start screaming, "Matthew, are you asleep yet?  Matthew, Mommy is going to leave now!  Can you hear me?  Matthew?" and then it wouldn't make any difference whether the floor creaks or not!

So out of desperation and necessity, I have learned a precise pattern of foot movements that will cause the least amount of noise when leaving the room.  I carried out the routine this morning and 3:15 a.m., after taking more than an hour to get Matthew back to bed.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I made it to the hallway without event, and then I pulled the door closed and sssqqqquuueeeaaakk... followed by "Mommy stay..." and me cursing under my breath.

I finally did get him back to bed - only to get into my own bed to find that my pillow had been stolen, the sheets had been "slept" off the bed (a phenomenon in which David manages to take the fitted sheet off the bed every night and leave it bunched in the middle of the mattress) and both man and dog snoring away like a matching set of giant and miniature chain saws.   As I wearily climbed into bed, I heard noises over head... the house settling, I presume.  Freaking 1920's house.


  1. Stupid 1920's house!! LOL - Have you tried these for David's sheet phenomenon?


  2. Hmm - I haven't. I may have to... I become somewhat homicidal when I'm sleep deprived, so it's better than killing him ;).

  3. Our house was built in 1860 and our floors creak and groan like crazy! It is so hard to sneak out of Parker’s room at night. I walk on the outside floorboards in the hallway on my tippy toes and pray that they don’t squeak. It drives me insane. When we went to the Cape, I was creeping out of her room and then realized that not all floor boards squeak, especially in brand new homes. You should hear the stairs going up to the 3rd floor…it’s like a marching band entered the home. And Marc says the same thing “They just don’t build houses like this anymore” and I always say “But, I bet they build houses with floor and stairs that don’t yell back at your when you walk on them!”.

  4. LOL! Oh my gosh that was hilarious.

  5. Jess - That had me dying! We don't have an old house, but I know that routine and feeling all too well! They have the best little ears! Love reading your stories!!!