06 June 2014


It hasn't reached full summer here yet, but it has been nice enough to have the windows open for a while (with the exception of a few cold days and nights during the past couple of weeks). In this transitional period, sleeping is more challenging.

Our street is a main artery into and through an entire neighborhood, and it intersects with s busy, major non-highway road at a traffic signal about 350 feet east of our house. During the morning and evening rush hours, cars waiting at the light are lined up, in front of and sometimes further past our house. Also, in this area the houses were built pretty close to the curb, with shallow front yards maybe 20 feet from curb to building, maximum. So whenever the windows are open, especially in the living room, which faces the street, noise is an issue. There are what I think is an abnormally high number of unmuffled motorcycles that pass through at all hours of the day and night.

There's also a bird nest under the roof of our front porch. I think it has been there three or four summers now, and the birds start chirping very, very early each morning. This tends to wake the dog, whose bed is against the front wall of the house right next to the porch. For about a month each spring, she wakes up around 5:15 to 5:30, and wants to be taken out. It ends up messing up her walk schedule for the rest of the day, until the sun starts to rise later again.

And of course, there are neighbors. The homes are only 10 to 12 feet apart, and with the windows open noise tends to flow freely between houses. This morning I was awakened by music in the house next door. It wasn't especially loud, and it was a slow song; when it woke me, I thought it was my own clock radio until I realized that I'd already turned that off.

I like open windows and fresh air when the weather is comfortable, but air conditioning has benefits beyond temperature comfort: it helps us deal with noise, too.

(PB: I know things are much worse for you. Remember, everything is relative.)

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