October 24, 2007

The lullaby of chimes and jackhammers

When I lived in New York City, people would assume that I woke up to car horns and garbarge trucks, but that wasn’t the case where I was living. I woke up to birds chirping in the back and unfortunately on windy days, to the sound of chimes. Both are oddities in Manhattan, but we had a tree in the back and this one neighbor had hung chimes from her section of the fire escape. Because this tenant liked her chimes, it meant that all 50+ of her immediate neighbors then had to hear her chimes and was forced to like or hate them too. I hated them, they used to annoy the heck out of me. At times it would sound like an alarm going off late at night.

Now our condo neighbors, which are only 15 feet away from our back window, of course have these gargantuan chimes dangling. The recent Santa Ana winds then had the stupid things chiming and clanking away all night. If those were mine I’d be so embarrassed knowing that they were causing such a racket. It’s one thing if the chimes were inside their home for decoration or outside a house where neighbors were further apart, otherwise you’re just a selfish jerk in my book.

Then as if that wasn’t annoying enough, a persistent jackhammer started to ba ba bang steadily after midnight and for the next couple of hours, thanks to the nearby I-405 highway widening. In the past, I’ve heard the sound of a beeping truck, backing up late at night because of the same construction, but that would at least fade away. This evening though, their work sounded like an Army helicopter was on our roof and playing new age/spa music involving chimes. Worse even, the ear plugs that I keep under my pillow for just such chime/jackhammer emergencies didn’t do anything to mute the sounds.

Study: Redbook writes “Sleep deprivation doesn’t just leave us groggy and grumpy—it also puts us at great risk for obesity, heart problems, depression and motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, more than half of American women get a good night’s sleep only a few times a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2007 Sleep In America Poll. One likely reason [besides jackhammers and chimes going off late at night] 87% of us opt to zone out in front of the tube for an hour before bed rather than turning in early, and watching television stimulates the brain, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. To ensure sound slumber, TiVo your favorite late-night shows for later viewing, and crawl into bed.


  1. We have windchimes, but they're soft and our house is also 50 yards from the next one, so a completely different living situation. Also, they're under the eaves so they don't blow all the time. I can understand what you mean, though.

    Sleep is such a hard thing. I hate having to make time to get it and it never seems like I get enough, but if I take too much, I get feeling bad and I'm cranky because I didn't have enough time to do other things. Yet I suspect that my crappy sleeping habits are causing me to gain weight and feel worse about myself. ARGH! Such a conundrum. I only sleep well on vacations when I really don't have many better things to be doing. :)

  2. I like windchimes, but only out in the country where it seems to fit with all that nature and space and stuff. I'd be annoyed if it were outside my window all day every day.

    Interesting point about watching TV before sleeping. Does this mean I shouldn't watch Grey's tonight?

  3. Does this mean that i cannot offer you a big ass windchime for X'Mas of which i will insist you hang right outside your window?

  4. I think a midnight stroll with a roll of duck tape is in order lol Tape the chimes together. Maybe your neighbor will take the hint. I totally agree sleep is imperative to a good day. Wishing you sweet dreams real soon.


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