Tuesday, June 07, 2011

An ominous sound

I came home on Sunday afternoon to an ominous sound.  A noise, sounding like a cross between an off-balance clothes dryer and  a  power lawnmower, threatened to shake the house down.

My attitude toward household appliances combines utter dependence  with fear and loathing.  The basement is usually the venue where ghastly noises originated.  But all the appliances were sitting there looking innocent.  There was no water on the floor. The central air conditioner was softly huffing, but it was a hot day, so it had an alibi.  I looked at the circuit breaker box, but all was calm there.

Was one of the neighbors was mowing their lawn with a clothes dryer?   Then again, maybe the sound would go away--denial works wonders, at least in the short run.  I heard it a few more times, then it stopped, an encouraging  sign.  Whatever it was, maybe I had been hearing its death throes.

That night, as I was preparing for bed, the racket resumed.  It was louder in my clothes closet.  The plumbing works are inside the walls, where they can't be seen, aren't they?  I decided to call the plumber in the morning.

After a night of broken sleep being serenaded by the sinister appliance six or seven times, I thought of the attic fan which supposedly exists, if the previous owner was to be believed. I had never heard the thing operate, and the rooms upstairs are  hotter than the downstairs ones, so I had forgotten about it.   In the 28 years we owned our New Jersey house, I had never gone into the attic, although Mr Charm had.  He described it as a hot, stuffy, low-cieilinged crawl space.

I finally found an attic fan contractor who is coming Friday, either to fix the thing or put it out of its misery.  Meanwhile, the noise is gone.  For now.

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