Living in a Crack House

“It is NOT possessed!” I shout into the phone to one of my friends, who—because she allows me to shout at her when necessary—is exceptionally dear to me.

And that is a number one rule of friendship in my book. To truly be friends, you must be able to display your well-developed lung power and not be judged as super shouty and hysterical. You are merely passionate.

And I am passionately explaining to her that my house is not ruled by demonic forces.

“My house is just making a few unusual noises,” I explain. “Popping and cracking not moaning and groaning. What you’re describing is a dwelling that gets a movie deal and starts showing two weeks before Halloween.”

I put the phone down on her. Not in a huffy, I-hate-you-and-this-girl-gang-thing-we’ve-got-going-on-is-so-over kind of a way, but rather in the I’ve-work-to-do-plus-you-make-no-sense kind of a way. There’s a difference. And we both know it.

And I also know that my house is NOT haunted.

I’m going to guess that everybody’s abode makes noise in some fashion or another, but most of us are either surrounded by so much superfluous noise we don’t hear it, or we blame it all on our teenage sons—whether we have one or not. Let’s face it. They are responsible for many of the world’s ‘unresponsive to medication’ headaches.

It all started a couple of weeks ago as I was working at my desk, in a house I believed to be devoid of noise. I nearly jumped out of my skin at the massive crack that filled the air.

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Because I was so submerged in writing, the only thing that pulled me to the surface was the loud sound. Not the direction the sound came from, nor an inkling as to what caused it. I shrugged and went back to work. But just like a toddler tugging at your shirt as you are trying to hold a conversation with the pediatrician, and the pediatrician is rattling off the ‘follow these directions for medication treatment or death is imminent’ jargon, that toddler will be heard. Two more tugs—er, cracks soon followed.

And these I hunted down. Somewhere on the second floor, I surmised. There was nothing obvious to explain the sounds. No great chunk of ceiling had fallen. No wall had caved in. There was no disarray on the floor to suggest the handiwork of feline tomfoolery. It was as I’d last left it. Which, quite honestly, I could not accurately pin down on the calendar. When had I last been up here?

I returned to my usual post and passed the rest of the day enjoying the sounds of nothing but the gear shifts deeply embedded within my brain.

Hours later, while preparing a lavish meal of tinned food and kibbles for the critters, I was struck dumb at the encore of cracks identical from earlier in the day. I rushed to where I was positive the sounds had sprung from and looked up. I was standing right below my daughter’s closet. I laughed and then explained to the dog. “It makes perfect sense. Remember those two car-sized suitcases we lugged into the trunk just before taking her back to university? Yep. That’s this part of the house springing back into its original shape from no longer having to hold the weight of her clothing.”

But I remained curious. And then noticed these pops and cracks coming from other places in the house. In particular, the windows at sunset.

I decided I was in dire need of an expert so I hunted down a friend of mine who happens to be an architect.

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“So what the heck is happening? I’m beginning to feel like I’m living in a house that sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies.”

He laughed, rolled up his sleeves, and took a big breath.

“There’s an inordinate amount of chatter taking place in the average home that covers up what your non-demonic, unhaunted, not-specter-infested house is trying to say. Turn off the TV. Unplug the radio. Slap a strip of duct tape over the pie hole of anyone that steps across your threshold and listen. Really listen.”

I did.

To him—for the next thirty minutes.

“Your house is a living, breathing, organic structure. The cold, the heat, the rain, a drought—it all has an effect—and a gloriously audible one on your home.”

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I leaned back a little in my chair. He was starting to spray spit with his enthusiasm.

“Your wood expands and contracts, the nails twist and pop with the friction of those movements. Your foundation responds to the shifting ground. The glass in your windows reacts to the sudden loss of heat at sunset. It’s marvelous. The physics of it all is absolutely marvelous!” He slapped the table with a great big WHACK for emphasis.

I nodded and glanced around to see a mother gather up her toddler and his toys, and move him to a table that would clearly give her a head start if things went further south.

“And have you ever listened to your house breathe? The air ducts are like esophagi. And the pipes that run through the floors and ceilings carrying water are like blood vessels. The wiring and circuitry are equivalent to the electrical impulses of the brain. Your house is alive—”

“Oops—hold that thought.” I leaped from the table and waved my phone at him. “Gotta take this.”

There was no incoming, but I dashed off the numbers for an outgoing lickety split. I called the friend who doesn’t mind my non-hysterical shouty conversations.

“Just to let you know, I now have confirmation that the house is not possessed. Everything I’m hearing is normal. It’s all engineering and physics behind the noises.”

“Bully for you,” she said in the snarky dulcet tones I have grown to love.

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“Thanks. But do you happen to have the number of a priest who does exorcisms?”

There was a slight pause on her end of the phone. “I thought you said the house wasn’t possessed.”

“It isn’t,” I said. “But the architect I’m sitting across from is.”

~Shelley

*PHOTOS OF ROBIN GOTT IN HIS NEW PLAY!* (click)

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.

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115 thoughts on “Living in a Crack House

  1. I’m with you – my tiny house speaks – well shouts really – to me, often at sun up and sun down in a series of burbles, pops, taps and the odd explosive bang. It is absolutely a living breathing organic structure and I laughed out loud at Rob’s depiction! Thanks for my Sunday afternoon giggle!

    • I’m laughing, Pauline, simply because of Rob’s house cartoon, I now have this vision of coming up my driveway and forever being greeted by my home, standing with hands on hips and disdainfully judging me for coming home late, or not changing a filter. It’s really taken on a bit more personality. 😛

    • No. No ghosts. Not even a ghost of a ghost. I refuse to even think the word ghost while inside my house.
      Although ROB has apparently lived in a haunted house in his youth. Part of me is really curious – and the other part does not want to hear the story because I’ll not sleep for a week.

      • Hey Shelley,

        We inherited a ‘ghost’ when we purchased a new home. It never hurt anyone, but we knew it was there all the same. It would sit on the bed, quite often on top of Dean and once on me. It stole shiny things and we asked it nicely to not come with us when we moved. By then though I believe it had attached itself to Dean and it didn’t listen, so it came with us to our new home.

        Today I think it is packed in storage minding our possessions while we travel around. Thank goodness is all I can say, our mini home is barely big enough for the two of us without our ‘friendly’ spectre demanding some of the space.

        Great laugh as usual and Rob’s cartoons are an absolute hoot.

        Clare

        • Seriously, Clare?? You’ve a got a wee bittie ghostie as a household companion? Yours is the stuff of movies! And this
          phantom had the mind to sit on both of you? I cannot comprehend how you have managed. Even though there are
          elements of humor to the scenario, I’m amazed that
          you were not having weekly exorcisms–or maybe you were? Wow. Brave Clare and Dean.
          Maybe when you return you can leave an open bag of coins in the storage facility and run like hell? 😀

          • Seriously Shelley, We have to laugh about it otherwise we would go completely bonkers. If it leaves the storage facility with our possessions, I’ll call in the big guns. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Sigourney Weaver, and any other Ghostbuster interested in a bit of hunting.

            Clare

              • “Who ya gunna call?”, I can’t wait, it should be a hoot. We are big fans and maybe I should write something about our uninvited house guest. 🙂

            • Clare, I see paranormal investigation groups on television all the time. Don’t know how they specifically work nor have I ever needed them, but it could be worth investigating.

  2. Ah Shelley, you rarely fail to amuse me, today is no different yet today I am educated too. Maybe I can put away he bell, book and candle now after all.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • The bell, book and candle? This has got to be some ancient rites activity meant to keep all banshees, shades and demons on their side of the life line, right, David? I’m dying to know. (sorry bout the pun) Did you think your house was haunted? The UK is just chock a block full of them!
      xxooxx

  3. You said it: a true friend is one who you can be 100% yourself with – shouts, warts and all. And I love your architect – he sounds like the quirky old family doctor. Bones on Star Trek? Listen to him, and your house!

    • I have listened, I am listening, and now I can’t quite get it out of my head that my house has esophagi. Apparently it’s breathing all around me. Just a little freaky, yes?
      And I think “Bones” is a perfect name for someone who builds houses. 🙂

  4. Well done. You had a crash course in the science of various building materials and how they react to humidity, temperature, and probably even foundations settling! Be assured that all those sounds are normal however, if they are ever accompanied by the sound of rushing water, and if the house seems to be tilting to one side and sinking slowly …… grab your life jacket and head for the nearest exit.

    • Ha! What a mental picture, Colin. So now I shall add a life jacket to keep beneath my bed as well as a holy relic to ward off evil spirits and a bulb of garlic to steer away vampires. It’s getting full under there.

    • See that’s the thing. My whole point is to keep all those wee bitty ghosties as far away as possible. To hear that they may have already breached the threshold of my person will now keep me up and pacing the floors all night. Time to call an exorcist. 😛

  5. Sometimes our house makes very unsettling noises, and of course I only *hear* them when I am alone, because there is no other set of soft breathing nostrils to act as white noise. Then I am terrified and wondering if I should really go downstairs to make *sure* I locked the door and am not being robbed, or possibly infested by two-foot cockroaches, or if I should stay upstairs because it’s just the equivalent of my house finally taking off its bra after a long day of work. 😉

    • HAHAHAHA!! Oh, Alex, I am wetting myself with laughter ove here. That has got to be one of the funniest mental images ever. You have now removed any sliver of fear that might creep up in the future. I’m sticking with the bra scene.

  6. Brilliant post. Our cottage used to crack, thump and rumble (lorries at 4am and typhoon aircraft didn’t help). We had a flat roof at the back, and that was the worst as it expanded and contracted with the weather, but we got used to it. It was the little pings that confused us the most though, until we realised it was the smoke alarms warning us of low battery levels!

    • Life in a UK cottage–seems storylike and idyllic. And of course it is until you find out that it’s four hundred years old and is infested with all its old inhabitants who are now buried somewhere nearby. Let’s not forget the plumbing, and the heating, and the roofing.
      Love the idea of realizing that thankfully your pings were none of these things, but something quite ordinary and easily fixable.

      • Our cottage was originally a school, and was built in 1847 when passing traffic was either horse drawn or bicycles. The plumbing was a mystery. We had no idea where the pipes went or how they joined up, there were no foundations and mice were getting into the attics by climbing up the ivy on the outside wall.
        It had a lot of character though!!!

  7. Great post Shelley and a subject dear to my heart! When we lived in England we renovated a house built in 1485 (I kid you not!) 500 years of natural materials – oak timbers and horse hair and plaster – moving organically and sometimes noisily with the weather and the earth, those medieval builders really knew their craft!

    • I remember reading Pillars of the Earth, and feeling like it was a worthy read strictly for the fact that it enlightened me about the fascinating building techniques of the time. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to care for such a structure. And horse hair? Was this mixed into the plaster for texture? Wow, Jane. Lucky you (I think)!

      • Yes precisely that Shelley, the horse hair acted as a binding substance for the plaster and was then layered onto wooden’ laths’ ie. strips of wood very solid and durable! If you want to see more you should google ‘Lavenham’ – the village we lived in, full of medieval buildings !

        • That shall be my tea time break. A virtual walk through Lavenham. (And the name is sounding so familiar-I’m thinking it’s very likely I’ve done an actual walk through Lavenham as well. Time will tell. Or rather Google pictures will tell.)

  8. Even from the perspective of a student, I can see where you are coming from! At one point, back in November, the light sockets in our kitchen and living room ceilings were just popping out at random. We actually thought our landlord was playing some sort of joke to trick us, turned out because the weather had been so windy, and that someone kept leaving the bathroom windows open after dark, the wind got into the gaps in the ceiling! Still, it looked freaky when all you heard was ‘pop’!

    • Oh, Cameron, freaky indeed! With the popping at night and the wind in the ceiling, I’m positive my ears would next have heard the spine-chilling whisper, “Get out,” and I would have high-tailed it right outta there. No poking about to see what the matter really was. Brave of you to stick around.

  9. Love it Shelley! One of your BEST posts! (Rob, your art is spot on and absolutely hilarious!) Ok, enough with the exclamation points.

    Hmm, perhaps “certain” sounds could have been explained when and if your son was home…ok, that being of course with the musical recording studio he has in his room.

    Love the writings of moving the tonnage of your daughter’s possessions out of the house; just imagine the weight-load your house no longer has to support. All those clothes, shoes, books, books and more books. You do realize she has nearly as many books dealing with space, science, math and music as does the NARA? (Much respect little C;).

    Best regards and please keep writing and sketching for all of us. Maybe one day Snoopy, Calvin or Hobbes will find a photo-op in your blogs.

    Much respect to you both,

    Stoshu 🙂

    • So glad you liked the post, bud. And yes, many of the noises I have grown accustomed to over the years have disappeared, and as most parents do, I kind of miss them. There are still many other human thunks, splats and heart-pounding kabooms that I’ve yet to live through-gratis the teenage boy. Not sure I’ll moaurn the thoughts that immediately follow those sounds when they’ve gone off to uni–the ones that immediately have me grabbing the phone and hovering over the numbers for emergency services.

  10. I love this architect friend of yours. He’s clearly a man who loves his work. But what do the critters think? Are they alarmed by the sounds, or do they ignore them?

    • The hound barks at everything because, you know, territory, until around 3 am when his shift ends, but the cat freaks out and nearly explodes into a million pieces, because, you know, cat.
      The architect said things should calm down a little bit with spring. The super cold temps of winter were making the house extraordinarily “verbal.”
      The cat plans to send him a thank you note.

  11. Old houses are so cool. I have had 2 old houses and both wheezed and cracked so much I thought they were haunted. However I have never had as much fun as you. I loved the way you kept finding “reasons” for your homes musings. Of course since ghosts are a figment of Hollywood’s imagination structural changes have to be the reason. Just as a cautionary note if you ever see an inordinate number of flies gathering in one place, Leave, and give the place to your architect.

    • Flies?! No, Benson, you can’t leave me hangin like this. What do the flies mean? Are they drawn to phantom forces, or just dead bodies buried beneath the foundation?
      Now I surely will not sleep.
      I used to like flies.

      • It was simply a reference to The Amityville Horror. It was a book, and later a movie about a house that drove a young man to murder his family. The gathering of flies was a sign that something freaky was going on. Sorry to disturb you. For what it was worth the whole thing was determined a fraud. The house also used to make noises. Instead of a crack a demonic voice would bellow” Get Out”. Again, all a sham. Sweet dreams

        • I cannot watch horror movies. I can’t even read scary books. I have to draw the line at Tim Burton. Sad, isn’t it?
          Thanks for the explanation, Benson. I shall make a wide berth of the story. 🙂

  12. Another stupendously titterlicious post Shelley!

    I shall be forever comforted in the knowledge that the next time my ancient 100 year plus New Forest home sheds another lump of rendering, usually missing some poor passing soul by inches – it’s clearly shouting at us in what I can only guess is the architectural equivalent of a temper tantrum!

    Back in the late eighties we lived in a very creaky farmhouse and got used to most of the daily groans coming from within until one day the roof space started emanating what can only be described as scraping and whooshing noises – my then husband, big brave soul, poked his head up through the attic door, gave a perfunctory whiz round of the torch and declared he could see nothing but would get a builder in just in case …

    Builder arrived and went up to investigate – came down a few minutes later, looked at me and declared ‘Bats in the attic’ – to which my husband replied ‘Yes, I know she has but I love her anyway!’ (such a wag!) – to which the, clearly humourless, builder responded – ‘No, you really do have bats in the attic – and not just any bats, unless I’m mistaken, the rare long eared variety so better get the Bat Society out.’ We thought he was joking but there really was a Bat Society and they paid us a visit, declared that said bats were a protected species and we must not upset them.

    There followed years of our roof slowly crumbling into dust and we could do nothing in case we upset the bats!

    • Firstly, you live in the New Forest? Oh, how I looove that area! I love that ponies walk the streets as care free as city pigeons. Lucky you–unless you’re on the clean up committee.
      Secondly, however did you manage to sell the bats in the belfry abode? Was it a sale to someone within the bat society? I love England.

      • Fortunately for us and rather unfortunately for the bats, we had hurricane force winds which lifted the farmhouse roof off – the bats departed en mass and even the man from the Bat Society couldn’t argue with an act of God! So when we did eventually sell, the property was quite bat free!

        Although, as a post-script – I did rather miss those long eared little critters!

  13. As you probably know from following me and Millie, our house is definitely haunted – or we’re definitely crazy, depending on how you look at it. I would love to have your architect (who also sounds a bit crazy) explain some of the things that have happened here! 😉

    • Well, aside from the fact that you deliver a delightful blog, I’d have to agree that yes, you’re crazy for living in a haunted house. NO WAY! Could not do it.
      And my architect will be happy to explain away (read: wax lyrical) on whatever home curiosities you’d throw at him. But you’ll have to buy him a cup of Joe and wear plastic clothing. He does get excited.

  14. Shelley, I especially love your house springing back into shape in the absence of a tonnage of clothes. How do they manage to collect so many wardrobe pieces? In the last couple of winters here, we have had a lot of frostquakes. I had never heard of the term before, and thought it was a joke at first, but it’s a real thing. It causes a horrible banging noise that usually sounds like it’s coming from the roof. One was so bad this year that it also widened a narrow crack in our basement floor, and managed to push two floorboards together in my living room so that there is now a tiny ridge under the carpet. The good news is my house is moving the way it is supposed to, so it doesn’t fall down. But it’s been a freaky time for noises! Thankfully spring is almost here, and I can get some peace and quiet again. 🙂

    • Yes! He was nearly on his chair when he was talking about frostquakes. I had to look them up at home because it was the first time I’d ever heard of them. Absolutely fascinating. I read that some folks think a shot gun has gone off outside or in the basement. Amazing to hear from someone that’s actually experienced it, Sue.
      And I know exactly how my daughter expanded her wardrobe. It all makes perfect sense when I realize I’m missing half of mine.

    • You’re so right. I spend so much time thinking about organic living when it comes to food, I unknowingly skipped right over the fact that there are a bucketload of organic ingredients in the make up of my home. Go figure.
      I shall give it free reign (from 7am to midnight, but then I’d appreciate if the house would hold its breath so we can all get a little shut eye).

  15. my water heater used to talk to me, well more like grumble at me, and i didn’t always want to listen or even acknowledge what it was saying. it wasn’t until it started giving me the silent treatment that i realized something was wrong, that the spark or flame in our friendship had gone out. grumbling isn’t pleasant but ice cold showers in below freezing temps are downright inhospitable.

    there could also be another reason for the noises. with no spoilers check out the new zealand movie “housebound.” it’s smart, funny, and a treat.

    p.s. there might be an [s] missing from, “I’m going to guess that everybody’s abode make[s] noise….”

    • Thank you for the typo note. My editor understands that for every mistake found, she loses up to one joint of one digit. So far, she’s proven to be fairly good at typing with her nose and big toe.
      And thanks for the tip too regarding the movie. I shall hunt it down.
      Love the description of your fiery affair with your water heater, Mac. Wonderfully funny.

      • oh shelley, at first i was relieved to read you didn’t mind me mentioning the typo. i don’t look for them. they just jump out at me. but then my relief was replaced with utter dread reading about your poor editor. i felt like i was in some blogging nightmare or gothic fairytale. but then, as if from a dream, i woke up and realized, that’s why your writing’s always so good. fear and pain are great motivators.

        p.s. housebound in streaming on netflix now.

        p.p.s. is rob under the same understanding as your editor?

        • Yes, well, in the days that I actually did employ an editor (read: teenage daughter made to proofread work in exchange for 3 free iTunes songs) things ran pretty smoothly, although there was an enormous amount of griping about what a crap writer I was. But as all parents hoping to keep their sanity and hope for a future relationship with their offspring, I let it roll off my back. Now that she’s gone off to uni, I’m left with a second string editor. Haggis. I print out my weekly work and hold it in front of him to read. Wherever there is a wet, nosed spot from his leaning in to get a better view of my sentence structure is where I rewrite. He’s not very careful, but he’ll do nearly anything for a spoonful of peanut butter.
          Rob’s work comes in sparkling head to toe from the moment it reaches my desk.
          He gets a weekly spoonful of peanut butter too.

  16. Ha! I love this post. I often wonder if the floors of our apartment will someday crumble under the weight of all the books we’ve accumulated. So far the only noise we hear is the ghost whistle of the wind coming through our poorly-sealed windows–which, I guess, confirms your Architect’s point about the house talking to you!

  17. Fantastic post! Love the architect drawing by Rob.

    We have a fridge that makes a sound that I’ve never heard come out of a refrigerator before. Instead of groaning “chugging” like most I’ve had do, this one POPS! really loud — like a metal pipe being hit against another one. I choose to look at it as a way for my blood to flow evenly.

    • I assume you’ve made a quick peek inside to make sure there isn’t anyone requesting assistance, right? Or to see if the delivery guy isn’t accidentally squished up against the wall from when it was installed?
      I suppose those noises could be considered part pace-maker substitute. I wonder how long it will be before some manufacturer can advertise that their appliances are life-extending and benefit overall health–despite the heart palpitating price of purchasing and maintaining it?

  18. Hahaha! My house is inhabited by banshees who limit themselves to a few cracks and whistles unless there’s a full fledged storm outside and then they begin to wail!

    • Jan, I know exactly what you speak of. In fact, at this very moment, the wind outside is making every effort to play wolf to my three little pigs. Living on top of a mountain seems a fairytale idea apart from the month of January, February and March, when everything including people, must be nailed down to keep their position on the earth.
      Seriously, the wind is uproariously loud. If I didn’t have ghosts before, certainly the cacophony of noise will wake the dead now!

  19. Last night as I laid in bed waiting for sleep to take over, I got the idea for a post similar to the one you have here. I still intend to post it. There’s a lot in this world to see, hear, and feel that we don’t pay any attention to. 😉

    • I will definitely look forward to reading it, Glynis. In fact, I’m always surprised that the world’s population seems to be thinking such similar things at nearly the same time. I guess it shows us how there’s an argument for a universal mind we can all tap into.
      Here’s to paying attention, but restful sleep!

  20. I can’t only hope that my house isn’t a living, breathing organism too. I’d be afraid its next step would be to learn speech and then all those secrets I’ve hidden away in the walls and closets would be exposed 😉

    Best line ever? … our teenage sons … are responsible for many of the world’s ‘unresponsive to medication’ headaches. hahahahahaha!!

    • Oh, god, I didn’t even think about that, Joanne! Yes, if these walls could talk–which probably would have been another great contender for a title to the post.
      And as far as those boys go–spoken like one who knows! Glad you got a good giggle out of it.
      Cheers!

      • If the walls could talk, we would definitely be moving into the horror part of the program 😉

        … and I’ve also discovered (if you are lucky) that teenage boys grow up to be men. The same headache-that-defies-medication still kicks in on occasion. The good news is that I no longer have to do their laundry 🙂

  21. Oh my goodness, how this made me laugh – having lived in old houses most of my life it rang so true. Robb’s cartoons as ever just hit the nail on the head and made me laugh even more. It once took me quite a while to track down an odd pattern of noises – turned out to be one of those metal plate clocks that had fallen and got bent at the bottom so the second hand had trouble getting past the half past point, so it was ticking very erratically at that point (and losing time) but it was only noticeable when I was alone in the house with no radio on.

    Another classic Shelley/Robb offering. I do so look forward to them. 🙂

    • It makes my day to hear of it, Laura. Thanks, as always, for the lovely compliment. 🙂
      And hunting down those phantom noises is a task I usually want to assign to someone else–mainly a ghost busting team.
      Brave woman.

      • Due to a quirk of parenting I was brought up in a house completely devoid of superstition. It took until my teens to work out that other people thought Friday the 13th was unlucky, and even then I had no idea why they thought so. So not so much bravery as not having the brains to be afraid. 😉

    • Too true, Anne, although when things finally quiet down, I’ll likely have to fold up shop. Who’s going to want to read about my safe trip up and down the stairs and the fact that I found a coupon for 25 cents off bread in the penny saver? 😛

    • Susannah! Good heavens it’s been donkey’s years since I’ve seen your lovely face. I figured you were buried up to your eyebrows in school work.
      I shall pop on by for a catch-up.
      Hope you’re well. Cheers!

      • Well, yes I certainly have been quite buried in schoolwork. Last semester was harder, though, so I’ve had a little time to relax since Christmas. Helpful especially now with the head denting, as you called it. 🙂

  22. Well, if architects are possessed, it could explain a lot… These sounds (just not of one house but a whole neighbourhood’s worth) could be a chant to summon Unspeakable Things from Somewhere Else… Ha!

    • I never thought about that. You’ve made a really good point. Architects may actually be nonhuman. They might just be the vessel through which the ungodly speak. How bout that for a theory? Too far out there? Scale it back a bit? I bet my architect friend is never going to have coffee with me again. This might not be a horrible end result …

    • If I found myself a local witchdoctor, likely I’d skip going to my GP from now on and strictly alleviate any ailments of mine thru charms. I could work with potions too, but they would have to double as wrinkle cream.

  23. The damned ice maker in my fridge freaks me out all the time, springing into action of its own accord. Creepy.

    p.s. Rob’s picture of The Architect slayed me. 🙂

    • I have figured out a solution to the ice maker dilemma. Firstly, you must decide you do not want to use anything ice-wise apart from fairly stale and stuck together ice. So you’ll need an ice pick or a screwdriver as your choice of tools. Next: do not touch the ice in the bin until it is filled to the brim. No more clunks into the container, and everyone gets to scream at you because you make their life miserable while trying to keep cool.
      Doesn’t work for everyone. I’m jiggy wi’ it.

  24. Haha! Love the architect picture and the house on legs.

    Our house has the usual ticks and groans, mainly from the heating system – all sort of normal. More unusually we have a kitchen drawer that laughs. Honestly, we do. It’s one of those new-fangled self-closing/soft-closing contraptions. Only it doesn’t close softly. Instead it makes a sort of chortling noise. It’s actually quite a friendly sound – not a sinister ‘I’m plotting your doom’ kind of thing. And the fridge door hinge brays like a donkey. So for first time visitors, our kitchen is an interesting experience. 🙂

    • I love it, Anne. You’ve got a kitchen of curiosities. You could sell tickets to the exhibition. And as an extra bonus, I’ll ship you my dishwasher, which when it reaches a particular stage in its cycle, hiccups. It’s so adorable, I’ve reached the point where I want to run the darn thing all the time simply to hear the sounds that throw me into fits of giggles. Some sounds really are worth keeping.

  25. huh. non-snortingly, but ah wood iffa could. we are not anywhere near parallel, but azz-yoo-no, we are both peripheral to suspected tho’ probably totally unfounded bitzzenfitz of demonic? possessiveness. one attempt at a “philosophical” talk my dad had with me late one night when i was about 13 was about the very same (well, not “the same” but another set of) house cracks. he surmised that one such crack could be that the itty bitty microMicroScopic beings living on a planet in the wooden beam Yooniverss was testing it’s COBALTICatomic Bomb Extraordinaire.
    And again, Rob has outdunn hisselph.

    oh: you would, i’m sure, LOVE the water-hammering in our walls. gettin’ werseNwurss. “it’s the Titanic Calling” i try to cheerily say to Betty, who is consistently KNOT am-yoosd.

    • Poor Betty. Perhaps the ghost of some long gone plumber is trying to get you to jump ship? It’s moments like these, after being kept awake by all the clanging, that you begin to yearn for the old days of having to use the outhouse and hand pump from the outdoor well.
      And boy, does your dad sound like a character. A Cobaltic Atomic Bomb Extraordinaire? I can only imagine his bedtime stories.
      Lucky you!

  26. Hee, hee! So that’s what’s going on in my house. I’m not sure I like the idea of the house being alive. Now every time I go in the door, I feel like I’m being swallowed. Love the drawings — hilarious!

  27. My 104+ year young house orchestrates a symphony of sounds on a regular basis … and being the anal engineer, I had come to the same conclusion(s) as your architect friend; however, on some days when the distant faint sound of music starts … sounds that my ever so pragmatic mind can’t fully explsin … I pause and think … “Well, at least its a happy house.”

    Thanks for another great one!!!

  28. Ha ha I loved this one post the ghosts notwithstanding 🙂
    “Your house is a living, breathing, organic structure” reminded me of my engineering college professor would explain in class with different funny sounds how the structure feels and behaves when under load 🙂

  29. That was masterful! WordPress really dropped the ball on this one (they’re obviously tired of passing all their awards over to you – next thing you know, you’ll be head of the company.)

    Absolutely skillful, fun and brilliantly executed.

    • If I could bottle your words and put them into pill form, they would be the only source of nutrition my head and heart would require for a lifetime of happiness and health. Thank you for your generous praise. It will be remembered always.
      And probably posted around the house in poster sized format.

      • My “haaaaaaaaHAHAHAHAH!” had a disturbing load of air and lack of sound…until it cracked and boomed and woke up my kids (yes, they’re still sleeping…it’s still Spring Break).

        Waking up cranky teens is not a good thing. Thanks a LOT.

        • That’s wonderfully funny – and coincidentally true on my side of the screen. My daughter is home from university for her spring break too, and her usual rising hour has been about 2 pm. I’m totally fine with it, as she’s making up for the last two months of sleep deprivation. Poor things.
          Hope your kids forgive you.
          Mea culpa!

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