Saturday, September 17, 2022

HSPs and Noise: Sometimes You Just Can't Get Away!

A few months back, we noticed that the neighbors across the street seemed to be getting a new roof. 

Here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, that's a pretty normal thing during the summer: The roofers come in, rip the old tiles/shingles off, make a few repairs, lay down new paper, put on new roofing and all is well... usually in a matter of 3-4 days.

After a week or so, we noticed that they seemed to be doing a lot of work with that roof. We still didn't pay it a lot of mind because sometimes there are joists with dry rot that need to be replaced.

After a month or so of hammering and machinery, it became painfully (to our ears!) obvious that they were not getting just "a new roof," but an entirely new roofline. The sudden appearance of a large crane truck was the final giveaway...

We started paying a little more attention, and it turned out that they were not just getting a new roof and roofline, but the entire house was being gutted from the inside out, and was essentially being rebuilt, in place. Not remodeled, rebuilt

Side note: In case this sounds a bit odd, our local building codes are such that knocking down an old house and rebuilding is considered "new construction" and requires going through an elaborate permit process, while basically rebuilding a house with the original frame still standing is considered a "remodel" and is a much simpler permit process... even if you are basically spending $500,000 for a "new" house.

So what's my point, here? 

Our bedroom and creative spaces face the street and we wake up to 8:00 power saws, hammering, sudden bangs, sanders and goodness knows what else, day after day after day! What's worse, I think they have some sort of "on-time bonus" going, because sometimes they are also working on weekends. 

I suppose a lot of people might not be bothered because they would be "away at work" during the daytime hours, but both Sarah and I work from home, and we are both HSPs... and the non-stop noise feels exhausting!

Being an HSP and living with unwelcome noise you can't get away from — and which is also perfectly legal, so you can't complain about it — can be extremely stressful. In some ways, it just sucks all the joy out of life... like sitting on the back porch, enjoying our afternoon coffee? Not so much. Tending to the back yard area? Not so much. All we can really do is grin and bear it, and enjoy the few moments of peace and quiet we do get.

So how do you deal with such situations, as an HSP? The best (and possibly only) suggestion I have is to remind yourself that projects like this tend to have an ending, after which things will return to normal.

In the meantime, there are always earplugs and noise-canceling headphones... 

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