It is the silence, the quiet, the stillness of our house without the frequent visits of the grand-dogs that has been the most difficult. I filled that void with sounds of the vacuum, the steam cleaner, the iPod, the TV, and when I could, I left the house to see friends, to run errands, to walk ... but sometimes I just enjoyed the quiet.
Now you should know that the house isn't totally void of living things There are five of us here - three people and two cats - but all us are pretty darn quiet on our own! My mom is 84 so she keeps a pretty low profile, and my husband is kind of a hermit - hermits are not party animals, and the pets are cats - their claim to fame is stealthy silence, quiet but deadly attacks on stuffed mice, and inscrutable staring. The only one who is sometimes noisy is me, and I hadn't had my morning coffee yet. So when I suddenly interrupted the silence early this morning with a VERY BIG NOISE, it was jarring.
As usual, I was up before everyone, doing my normal stuff, checking the thermostat for the outside temperature, getting the coffee ready, opening the blinds, setting out mom's dishes and cereal and pills, and opening up a window to let in the cool air. Unfortunately I forgot to turn off the house alarm, so when I opened a window the mega-horn began to scream and scream and scream in big, big wailing noise - mega noise - made more startling because of the silence of the house over the last few days. The sound jolted me ... swear words erupting from my mouth as I was running to the key pad to punch in the disarm code to shut down the alarm and stop that blasted horn. And sometimes it takes several frantic tries at keying in the code before the system accepts it ... like today!!
And then the call from the alarm monitoring service checking to see if we were all right. I am always embarrassed when they call, because we are "always all right". When I answer the phone I want to say in a cool, collected manner:
"Oh yes, I was just testing the system,
we are good,
just making sure that we hear from you guys if we have a problem,
good job on calling us so fast.
Ta-ta for now."
But being frazzled by the sound of that awful horn, the frustration of not getting the horn off sooner ... they get this honest and slightly frenetic response:
"I am sooo sorry!!!
Yes, yes, we are all right.
You see I opened this window and ....
Oh, no, please, don't call the police!!! I am still in my pajamas!!!
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
My name? uh, give me a minute, oh yes, I am .... "
(No coffee. Not at my best.)
And then the final embarrassment ... the one that lasts longer than the phone call ... after our two cats have been pealed off whatever ceiling they were clinging to, they walk around the house like they are trying to dodge snipers!!
I guess they heard the horn.
I will be glad when my two legged and four legged family members get home on Sunday and life returns to its normal noisy state.