Loudness authorities should ban ‘The Big Noise’

The last word about dads on Father's Day

This column has been hijacked. Unable to compose the humorous,
pithy piece I’d planned to write on any number of topics, my brain
and thus my thought processes have been commandeered by what is
happening in the hallway outside my home office. Let me
explain.
This column has been hijacked. Unable to compose the humorous, pithy piece I’d planned to write on any number of topics, my brain and thus my thought processes have been commandeered by what is happening in the hallway outside my home office. Let me explain.

When I returned from running errands today, I was met by yards and yards of gauzy plastic, stapled to the ceiling and taped to the floor. My spouse was using this substance to block off entire rooms. As he prepared to do some home improvements, I knew what this development meant … “The Big Noise” was inexorably approaching.

The dog met me nervously at the door. He was not happy with this plastic stuff that made swishing sounds as he passed by. Dragging his tail behind him, he seemed to be scolding, “You know this is your fault.”

So no, I wasn’t unprepared for this turn of events, and it’s actually my old washing machine’s fault. When it conked out last summer, the new washer we purchased was so spiffy that it looked miserable when we installed it on the old tile floor. And alas, said tile runs out the laundry room door, down the hallway and throughout the house. A drastic home renovation was needed.

Now, I admit, this sort of thing happens to me a lot; I buy some innocent little piece of wall art, and the next thing I know I’m shopping for a bedroom set. And purchasing a new throw pillow? Well. That act simply screams for a modern sofa to replace the saggy one in the living room, right? So when our 25-year-old tile started displaying signs of obsolescence, I began a campaign to give the floor a facelift.

But here’s the thing. While some homeowners call in experts and a day or two later, voila! the house is re-tiled, that isn’t how it happens here. At our house we tend to employ the do-it-yourself method. And you know what this means, people: industrial-strength tools. Loud, colossal contrivances that disturb planetary orbits.

After depositing the groceries into their proper places, I chanced a look-see into the space where my spouse was preparing to remove our old tile. Gathered inside were big machines that required extra thick power cords. This is never a good sign. Husbands, I realize, live for big power tools. It means happy trips to the hardware store and loads of gizmos and other implements to haul home in the bed of the truck. But for me, peace and quiet were becoming a distant memory.

Making my way through yards of plastic, I found my spouse in old work clothes and gloves that were, thankfully, blood free, so it appeared things were semi under control. And then he fired up a saw or some such whose sound could only be described as a Steroids-Crazed-Moose-from-Space. It moaned, it shrieked, it bawled and it squealed at eight quadrillion decibels as it cut through old grout. And when that noise stopped it was replaced by a sledgehammer going full tilt at the ceramic tile, the resulting racket amplified to a level equivalent to a Space Shuttle liftoff.

The thing is, I am used to noise. I mean, hello – it’s football season. Plus I’ve been in the same room as ladies attending baby showers. Nobody needs to be reminded of the decibels reached from the shrieking when disposable diapers are filled with baby food parading as baby poop (no, please don’t ask; I don’t KNOW why). But the hilarity is deafening.

The sledgehammer striking the tile is now reaching new sound heights; the reverberations must be traveling thousands of miles. My eyeballs are vibrating in their sockets. The fillings in my teeth are loosening. I mean, I’ve been in earthquakes that were more soothing.

Several minutes later the noise stopped, and I took another peek. I passed the dog who was now in a fetal position, his paws covering his head. Peering through the filmy plastic drapes I observed my husband, the sledgehammer resting at his side. I looked down. And saw one – yes, ONE – 12-inch square tile that he’d removed. Oh, boy. At this rate, the other 2,000 square feet would be finished by, ummm … well, I haven’t a clue. But I figured I’d better make my escape before Krakatoa erupted again.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I have an energetic spouse who isn’t afraid to get in and get dirty to save us hundreds of dollars in expensive home renovations. It’s worth a bit of “The Big Noise.” And although my column got hijacked and while I’ve never seen an actual Steroids-Crazed-Moose-from-Space, here’s the good news: if I ever hear that kind of racket out in the wild, I’ll recognize it immediately by all the noise it makes.

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