Monday, August 25, 2008


When we bought our house, our boys were young and we had tremendous vision. We bought an old house with only two bedrooms, knowing that it has expansion possibilities; an over sized, detached, two-car garage with large office space above set in close diagonal proximity to the house. We instantly saw the two structures connected; the garage converted to family room and the office to two more bedrooms.

Twelve years later, our home is exactly as we envisioned…almost…sort of... and then some. When we moved in, one of my few was the old, low, stone basement. Newer homes sported large neat basements that most people finished into recreations space. Ours was chiseled out of ledge and is just tall enough for me to stand, providing limited storage for some things, but would never be the finished “playroom” that so many other homes had. Looking back, that should have been the feature that sold me.

During the planning of our expansion, I was only looking ahead about five years to when my boys would be ages seven and ten and it was just about the time that our expansion was in full swing; not a moment too soon, as Cadence came to be. We nearly doubled our living space and while the footprint of our house was “unusual,” having a north and south wing suited us. The boys bedrooms moved above the new family room and Cadence remained with us above the main house. Lots of space in between buffered noisy boys from my den and my office and even the kitchen was just far enough for peace.

“They are sooo going to sneak out of here when they’re older.” My sweet sister-in-law informed me with a twinkle that indicated she knew about these things. She, of course, was right and there indeed has been sneaking out…and in.

My vision for this new space was a warm and inviting family room with big comfy furniture and a gas fireplace, looking out over our snowy woods in the winter. My husband’s vision contained a bar, a pool table, a dart board and lots of musical equipment. I won, sans fireplace, and I allowed him to put up his dartboard with restrictions.

All was well, until the day the drum set came home. Brad found it at a tag sale; a huge bargain and he and the boys were in Heaven. I considered myself fortunate that it wasn’t an electric guitar and thought I could tolerate the drums, but low and behold, when Brad’s acoustic guitars came out, we discovered that Tyler was quite talented and it wasn’t long before his first electric guitar and amplifier moved in. Trevor of course needed an amplifier for his bass guitar and by the time Tyler’s vocals were recognized and he was made singer of his band, the microphone and PA system with refrigerator-sized speakers were added. The icing on this manly cake was last year’s Christmas present; the Ping Pong/Pool Table.

Needless to say, I avoid the testosterone ridden north wing of the house entirely except to trip over gaming controller wires to count pairs of shoes before bed to see if we have visitors that should have left.

The silver lining, however, is that neither of my boys is ‘the drummer” for a band and it is a given that “band practice” is held where the drum set lives. This, combined with the fact that lower-level play rooms, which I once coveted, morph into band practice rooms, leaves me free and clear…and grateful for limited space and low, stone basements.

“Mom, can we have band practice at our house Monday around 2:00? We can’t have it at Mike’s house and we have a gig coming up and need to practice.” Tyler asks, arguments for his position ready on his lips.

I realize that I have escaped this torture for the past few years and agree, reluctantly. Cadence and I run out to do a few errands and when I return, there are pick-up trucks and jeeps filling my driveway; music equipment carried by man-sized teenagers pouring into my front door. Within minutes the curse words are flying and I remind them that they must control their language and offer to make pizza bagels when they get hungry.

The music begins and I regret having agreed to this. Tyler writes beautiful ballads that he sings with smooth melancholy. This kind of music is nothing like that. It is the kind of singing that they refer to as “screaming,” but is somehow considered a skill, and the vocals roll back and forth between screaming and growling, sounding satanic to my ears. I do believe the proper term for their music is “metal” and it sends me closing windows and running for cover into my office. I fear that our lack of space for practice has been overcome and my family room has entered a new dimension.

They finally break to devourer the pizza bagels and then, still hungry, head to McDonalds.

Perhaps practice is over?

Perhaps I could conceal my distress simply find good reasons to never agree to this again?

Perhaps we should have considered soundproofing and doors for that family room?

Love that boy.

Hate that metal.

Love that boy.

For Christmas, I will ask for noise canceling headphones.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

That better be a gift from the boys! Better get some earplugs, too, they can't hurt!

Suzy said...

Ask your mom about the drum set I bought for one of your brothers.....

On second thought don't...there are soooo many other issues she hasn't forgotten about.

Love you and her.