Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thing I Love

One day last fall, my husband came home from work early to take care of me when I was feeling sick. Ostensibly, this means he checked in to make sure I was still alive and then got on the phone with clients, but hey, I'll take what I can get. What makes this particular look-after so sweet is that he brought with him a little giftie - a new iPod Touch for me. It was a first version one, so it still has some glitches that I understand the newer version doesn't have, but I sure was cool for a few weeks before everyone got on the bandwagon. And it gave me something to do other than contemplate my eventual demise. (I'm morbid in sickness.)

Cut to this weekend when my husband, in another generous techie gesture, got me the software upgrade (those installation things are so tedious to do for oneself) and then bought me one of the new applications: Ambiance.

Here's where I tell you about a little problem I have: I am regrettably noise-sensitive for a person who lives amongst millions of people in a downtown neighbourhood. Like, noise makes me sort of insane. I mean, people I know think I'm insane and recommend treatment. Just ask my childhood friend Hilary, who remembers being woken up a dozen times nightly whenever we did sleepovers (which was practically every night) because I cannot bear the sound of people breathing. Like, my own child was relegated to her own room at 5 days of age not because I didn't believe in co-sleeping, but because she was so noisy it wrecked my only chance at 20 minutes of groggy sleep to have her in the bed. And don't get me started on bass noise. That, my friends, is enough to make me homicidal. Really. Or ready to move to Ottawa. (BTW, people in Ottawa are incredibly polite and orderly and don't believe in bothering one's neighbours with tooth-stabbing bass thud. And they're bilingual!) This little challenge has caused rifts in friendship, marital strife. My own parents thought I was a freak for telling them, during my teenage years, to keep the noise down please.

Earplugs are for sissies. I'm sorry but earplugs do nothing to absorb the pound of bass noise - or the screeching of tires or the moving of furniture. And, I don't mean to imply that I'm living in some heathen neighbourhood of bass-wielding, drag-racing, late night redecorators - but some summer weekends are a magnet for the unsavory element. I'm like an urban chick from the ears down - but those babies are suburban all the way.

OK - you get the picture, which is why, when my husband went to the effort of researching and then installing this new rela-plication (just made that up, get it?), which allows me to choose between 4 shades of white noise, trains or subways and 10 different versions of running water - each able to mask less desirable sounds - I took it in the loving spirit in which it was most obviously offered. Not to mention it was sexily self-preservational. That boy is so multitasking it's ridiculous.


  1. "Sexily self-preservational" love it! LOL! Have you tried those Boss sound removing headphones? I am sure they would not be great to sleep in. Have you considered soundproofing your room? Sure, at first there would be lots of noisy construction but once that is behind you then there would be sweet silence. I am one of the strange ones who loves city noise. I wish I could take the noise for you---except the base booms. Those I could live without.

    Sounds like you have a super sweet husband.:-)

  2. Just so you know, I read this post aloud in a really annoying voice. There was no one around but me so I only annoyed myself but there you go. (I actually hate any noise at night when I am going to sleep.)

  3. I'm with you completely on the noise thing and I sleep every night with ear plugs, consturction workers ones!
    I can not satnd the sound of breathing too - how intolerant am I!!

  4. I love the sound of my children's breathing, but cannot stand Mr H's louder sounds as they always seem on the edge of full on snores. I think a mother's hearing becomes extra noise sensitive as a survival mechanism. In 10 1/2 years I have never missed a retch (or the chunder that follows)
    ps. have you ever researched AIT?
    it teaches the ear to reach for certain sounds used with Autie kids to get them to retune their hearing. A bit like those eye exercises where you hold a pencil close and further away, the cd's a specially tuned to teach your ears to reach for different sounds. Just an idea?

  5. I am more impressed with the men than the gadget, but then again I am both phobic of and clumsy around techie stuff (less so around men, maybe).

    Since moving to FL, I miss the sound of a highway at night, something I always found lulling. Not recommended for those without wanderlust.

  6. You sound like me, but I'm not that bad.

    I get extremely irritated in one of my classes when the teacher gives us time to do reading in class. This translates into free time for the students to chit-chat. I CANNOT work like that. I'd rather leave class early.

  7. I miss Ottawa! It's so quiet when the MPs and dips leave by 5:00. But I remember as an undergrad wanting it to be noisier!

  8. He's a keeper. Fo sho.

  9. That white noise app. sounds like something I could use.

    Your husband knows you well. He takes good care of you!

  10. What a present. That amused me a lot, K-line. lol I do get annoyed by hoon heads around my neighborhood. These guys leave skid marks on our streets.. they are bad.

  11. Belette: Thank you for noticing. I rather liked that myself :-) Soundproofing is a great idea in concept but, given the extreme oldness of my home, could raise a lot of challenges. And that particular room is attached on both sides (I'm in a row house but that's the only room that has people on either side - bedrooms only thankfully). So it could be rather challenging for them too. Also, if you read back, you'll note I've (almost) finished a bathroom reno that's practically ruined me. So ambient noise for now it is.

    Dr. M: Why can I imagine this so clearly :-) I hope your new home is quiet.

    MDM: Maybe I've got to look into construction grade ear plugs. Good tip.

    Hammie: That AIT is a fascinating idea. I've never heard of it! I'm so hardcore with this "challenge" any new idea is one to be explored. Till something finally fixes the problem. I am very sensitive environmentally in a lot of ways. I never considered that it might give me a bit of a window onto autism. In the most generalized way, of course, is what I mean.

    OK, Suzanna, this gizmo is for you. It has freeway noise as one of the sounds! The man is impressive sometimes :-)

    Raven: I can tune it out when it's people noise in a public space (usually) but in my own environment, I get so agitated it's painful.

    Miss C: So civilized, yes? Pun intended!

    Sal and E: He does take care of me. Except when he doesn't and then I imagine the voodoo doll version of him :-) (Does this make me a bad person??)

    Songy: Tire marks are pretty hard core!!

  12. Great present, and funny post ;)


  13. I think your husband & my boyfriend are related. It's all about the gadgets, patches, and software with that guy. I wouldn't have half the goods I do if it werent' for him.

  14. "Sexily self-preservational" haha goodness you have me in clinks... I am the absolute opposite, when we first moved to Japan we lived in the country side and I was going insane, I could not sleep it was so bloody quiet... just awful- all I could hear were NOISY crickets (I love children but babies crying drives me INSANE)

    I can not sleep unless I hear horns beeping, cars going by.. needless to say we moved eventually hehe

    Nice post.. so how did it go, did you dig the crickets?

  15. Thanks Seeker!

    Good feature in a life partner, huh, Ambika?! Does yours like to shave his head? :-)

    GJ: Intriguingly, they have city sounds on Ambiance! Something for everyone...