Project 52, Week 23 — Peace…It’s Wonderful

It’s peaceful and quiet here at home this morning, which is a major change from most mornings these days. As some who have heard me complain already know, especially those who follow me on Twitter, I’ve been dealing with construction noise going on around me for a few weeks now. The apartment community where I live is undergoing a much-needed facelift. The owner is sparing no expense; he is replacing the roofs, the insulation, the siding, the windows, the doors, everything. When the project is completed it’ll be very nice indeed, but the process has been, to put it mildly, excruciating on a daily basis.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I could escape each day by going to work, but for my job I telecommute from home. I also babysit three dogs during the day 5 days out of the week. The pounding, banging and the whine from the high-speed power tools starts promptly at 8 a.m. and goes until nearly 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. After not being able to hear myself think for the first couple of days, I developed a system of fashioning a set of earplugs that will fit under my headphones, turning up the volume on my computer, which allows me to at least do my work. I can still hear the construction noise in the background, but it blunts enough of it that I can concentrate and hear what I need to hear relatively well.

The dogs had trouble adjusting to the noise at first, but they seem to have adapted to it a bit now, even sleeping through it at times, but still sound the alarm when they see workers tramping back and forth on the deck. I close the vertical blinds so they see as little as possible, but occasionally they can’t resist peeking between the blinds, and the barking starts all over again. Being these are little dogs, they can only go about 2-3 hours without relieving themselves, and they were frightened at having to pick their way around the workers several times during the day at first, but they seem to have mostly adjusted to that, too.  They only tremble a bit now when the noise they encounter outside becomes too much for them.

I felt we were doing pretty well at coping with this, but I didn’t figure on the toll the stress level from unrelenting noise would take. I am having frequent headaches and heartburn, and sleep only restlessly at night. One of our dogs, the one who is most fearful, is having frequent diarrhea. Other members of the household are exhibiting stress symptoms as well, and neighbors are complaining of their own difficulties coping. That’s why today is so precious. At least Sunday, being the traditional day of rest, is the one day the workers aren’t here, and life begins to resemble normalcy for 24 hours.

We are told the entire project will take three months, May through July. We’re through the first month now; our building has a new roof and the doors and windows are in. The siding is in progress. Our building, being the oldest, has been worked on first. Yesterday the owner and the manager both said work on our building will essentially be over by the end of this coming week. There will be ongoing work on the other three buildings, but at least the noise level will be somewhat reduced by virtue of a little distance.

This is all very temporary, of course. Again, when it’s finished, the results will be quite satisfactory. But I’ve gained a new appreciation for those who deal with noise pollution on a daily basis and can’t escape it. We’ll be through it in a few weeks, but if this was unending, I’m sure we’d all be finished permanently sooner rather than later.


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