For the past week or so, my husband - let's call him The Genius - has been spending
a lot of time in the basement banging around like some so sort of psycho tinsmith.
To call the dank, dark and damp area located under half of our house a basement is
an exaggeration - it's more like a dungeon, a monster's lair or the perfect spot for a
mad scientist's laboratory. But it's also where some of the key elements required in
the proper functioning of a house - furnace, water pump, electrical panel, sump
pump, water heater - are located.
It's like a special playroom for The Genius. He has a little workshop/laboratory set up
down there amongst the cobwebs and God-damned spiders (that's another story)
and periodically we can hear him through the hardwood floor talking to himself (it's a
genius thing - at least there's no maniacal laughter). Other noises can also be heard
from time-to-time, including hammering, power tools, and the strident wailing of
alarms (sometimes it's the smoke detector, which has been screwed onto a support
beam to give the rest of us fair warning if some creation has exploded).
Basically, we're used to strange noises coming from under our feet.
But lately, the cacophony has been unusually loud. That's because The Genius is
currently at work on his latest "project" - replacing the old, decrepit, money-burning
oil furnace with something new and shiny that hopefully costs less to heat the house.
Why he waited until the end of November/beginning of December (when
temperatures being to dip below freezing) to do this is a whole other mystery.
As part of replacing the furnace, The Genius had to disconnect our current central air
conditioner, wrestle the old furnace out of the way (it now joins the OTHER old
furnace rusting in a corner of the basement - how many old furnaces does a house
need?), put the new furnace unit in its place, construct new duct work, wire the new
furnace into the electrical panel and thermostat controls plus install the new air
source heat pump/air conditioner unit thingy outside where the old air conditioning
unit sat. For some reason, this involved A LOT of noise.
As The Genius pounded and screeched with power tools in the basement, The
Goobers - that's what I'll call the kids - bitched. They couldn't hear the TV or their
music, they couldn't hear their friends on the phone, they couldn't concentrate on
reading or their homework, and my oldest Goober started texting blow-by-blow
descriptions of the activities in the basement to her friends. As the percussion
symphony continued, the cats began slinking around and hiding under furniture while
the dog started shaking and whining.
And periodically, between blows, the sound of loud cursing could be heard from the
Lately, the noise has quieted, except for the new sound of heated air whooshing
through the duct work. The project is almost complete and The Goobers are feeling
very relieved. Once more they can hear the laugh track of SpongeBob SquarePants
on the TV and their friends giggling on the phone. The pets can once again relax on
top of the furniture rather than underneath it.
That is until the next "project" begins.