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A Rude Awakening by Joanne Rendell

Our apartment doesn?t have any proper walls. Okay, okay, it does have four proper walls that encase it. Inside, however, the walls between the rooms are fake. Not only are they paper thin, but a foot below the ceiling they stop. Yes, our walls have gaping holes in them.

These ?cut-outs,? as they are known in the trade, are the price we pay for living in a NY loft with one ? admittedly very large ? window. In order to get a little natural light into our cavernous back bedroom, the cut-outs are essential.

However, what they do for light, the cut-outs also do for sound. All those big holes mean that every breath, every sneeze, every dropped coffee cup (and the whispered ?F**k? that follows), can be heard through the entire household. This, as you can imagine, is not ideal when you have a three-year old in the house. Especially when that three year old?s sleep is the lifeline of his laptop-naptime mama and her writing career.

I?ve learnt to live with the cut-outs, however. When Benny is napping (or sleeping late in the morning) and I am trying to write, I do everything to minimize noise traversing the cut-outs. The answer machine is set on low, the speakers on my laptop off, and the window closed so the wails of passing fire trucks are just a mute ?wah-wahs.? Many a time, I have found myself making important phone calls sitting on the toilet (thankfully, our bathroom has proper walls) and, on one or two occasions, I have conducted meetings in the hallway outside the apartment.

But, something happened today which has made me realize that my noise reducing schemes might have been a little over-the-top. In fact, it revealed them to be completely bloody unnecessary.

The fire alarm went off at six o?clock this morning. Our apartment is in a student dorm so, as Brad and I woke up, squinting our groggy eyes under the alarm?s strobe light and holding our ears against the monotonous, deafening din, we assumed the alarm must have been set off by some partying freshmen. However, through the alarm?s wails, we heard the fire trucks arriving and realized the horrible truth: we were going to drag ourselves out of bed, clamber four flights downstairs, and go stand outside with three hundred pajama-ed students.

As we contemplated this and zipped around finding coats, shoes, hats, and mittens, we finally noticed that Benny ? despite the howling alarm and strobing lights ? hadn?t moved a muscle. He was deeply and soundly and peacefully asleep. It was only when I heaved him into my arms that his long eyelashes finally fluttered open and he said, confused by all the commotion, ?What?sat??

There was no fire, thankfully. And, in the end, lugging ourselves and a tired three year old outside wasn?t so bad. Benny got to see four truckloads of firefighters and, in the back of a warm minivan, we got to hang out with all the other people in the building who have kids.

And, let?s face it, I?m now a wiser laptop-naptime mama. From now on, when Benny?s sleeping, if I want to talk on the phone or listen to banging rap music or blend smoothies or shout ?SH*T? when I accidentally delete an important sentence, I can go right ahead and do it.

For more of Joanne Rendell's mommy blogs - including "Fishing for Poo," "Should Mommy's Wear Thongs?" and "What's that dangly thing between his legs?" then Click Here to visit her at the popular website, Get Crafty. To return to the Role Mommy home page, Click Here.


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Posted in: Blog, Laptop Naptime Mama on 10/31/2006

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