The Woody Project Blog

March 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan @ 5:31 pm

My Neighbours Hate Me!

Wanna hear a story?

My neighbours hate me. That’s how the story ends. Now lets go back to the beginning.

As I am known to do, I was driving down to Rochester to visit Christina for the weekend. The drive was very nice. The only part of winter we had received to this point was the cold, no snow to speak of. Consequently, the roads were clear and dry.

As I turned onto the Interstate the weather report came on the radio: “Snowstorms of epic proportions”. I chuckled a little bit at the description, made a mental note to watch the weather on my way back on Sunday, and then promptly forgot about it.

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer Sunday for a drive home. The roads were clear, the sun was out, and I had a full tank of gasssss!. I briefly thought about the “epic snowstorms” that had been forecast and then laughed a little.

That was my first mistake. This is where it all started.

As I was coming into Watertown the wind started to pick up. Then small wisps of snow began to blow across the road. Then, less than a kilometer after the wisps started, I was at a dead-stop behind a transport, in complete white-out conditions, with three foot snow banks less than a foot from either side of my car.


I’m not exaggerating.

I was parked for about an hour, and then slowly the transport in front of me began to creep forward. I stayed less than ten feet behind him and most of time I could barely make out his taillights. The transport was plowing the way and without his tracks to follow in I never would have made it through. Every so often the whiteout would let up enough for me to look around and all I could see were cars, transports, police cars, and tow trucks in the ditch, most of them on their side or nose down. I would estimate that I saw about one hundred vehicles stranded this way.

And then it was gone. About ten kilometers after I had first stopped, the storm was gone. Imagine driving through a curtain… one moment you are in a snowstorm of epic proportions and the next minute the sun is out and the roads are clear.


I’m not exaggerating.

It was one of those experiences, that after it’s over you can’t help but wonder if it actually happened or if it was just a vivid day-dream. I learned later that the snow was falling at the rate of nine inches an hour! Within the space of a week, that area received 96 inches of snow. That’s eight feet!

And that’s why my neighbours hate me.

Nope, just kidding. This is only the beginning.

I drove the rest of the way home very quickly. By the time I got home I was physically and mentally exhausted from the experience. My cold was bothering me, it was late, and all I wanted to do was sleep.

I took a shot of NyQuil and then a swig of Dimetapp just to make sure. This was my second mistake.

You know how when you come out of sleep slowly, the real world and the dream world sometimes blend? That is what happened to me. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning I became aware of a buzzing. It was faint and I didn’t know what it was. I laid there and listened to it for a long time. Eventually I became lucid enough to open one eye and check the clock: 5 a.m.

I’ll try to reproduce my thought pattern as accurately as I can:

“I wonder what that noise is?”

“Is it my alarm?”

“Maybe I set the clock wrong and somehow the volume got turned way down”
“That’s what it could be.”

“I should check the alarm clock”

“Maybe not, the noise isn’t loud enough to really bother me.”

“Maybe I’ll just lay here and let it buzz.”

“No, I should probably check, that way I won’t accidentally sleep in.”

“I want a cookie.”

“Nope, it’s not the alarm clock.”

“I’m going to take a little snooze.”


“Hey, that noise is still there.”

“Maybe it’s the CO detector I put in my bedroom last week.”

“Maybe I’m being poisoned by CO.”

“I’m sleepy.”


“Wait a minute… CO makes you sleepy… maybe I should check the CO detector.”

“Let’s just lie here a minute and think about this.”

“I must have bought a really crappy CO detector if the alarm isn’t loud enough to wake me up.”

C’mon feets, get up… nope it’s not the CO detector… maybe it’s the smoke detector… nope it’s not the upstairs smoke detector.
Maybe it’s the washer… nope, not the washer…
Maybe it’s the dryer… nope, not the dryer…
Maybe it’s the radio in the bathroom, nope…
Gee, it seems to be louder near the back of the house.”

Now, you have to realize that I was still half asleep, wearing just my shorts, as I stumbled around the house putting my ear to things.

I made my way downstairs thinking my stereo had turned itself on and was malfunctioning in some way. Nope. But the sound is louder on the first floor. Hmmm. Interesting.

I then started to think it was something serious… my computer equipment… I could picture my server self-destructing… nope, not that.

“That’s funny, the sound gets quieter near the front of the house. Hmmm.”

“Oh crap, the hot water tank is about to explode!”

Nope, not that. Furnace is fine, gas meter isn’t doing anything funny, sump pump is fine.

About this time, after I had eliminated the imminent destruction of anything mechanical or electronic in the house as the source of the noise, I decided I needed a cookie and a drink of juice.

So, I’m leaning against the kitchen counter munching on my cookie when it occurs to me that the sound might be coming from outside.

I open the side door and BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMM, it hits me full in the face at full volume and Woody goes into full-blown panic mode.

The horn on my truck is stuck!

As I was going upstairs three steps at a time (to get clothes on, because at this point I’m in my underwear and the outside temperature is -30 degrees with a windchill of -49 degrees) I can distinctly remember thinking two things: 1) Wow, that insulation I put in this summer really works, I could barely hear the horn; and 2) It is now 5:30, that means it has been going for at least thirty minutes.

If there is an emergency, you want me on your side. I’m can think clearly in stressful situations. Just don’t expect me to hear the phone when you call.

I put on jogging pants and a sweatshirt, flew to the basement for my socket sets (I got both metric and imperial just to be sure) grabbed the truck keys, popped the hood, took a split second to recover as the noise got even louder (if that is possible) and then proceeded to find the right socket to fit the battery cable.

Punch-line Number 1: As I’m searching for the right size socket, I see a police car pull into my driveway. Great! Just lovely! I’m outside in -49 degree weather with minimal clothes on at five in the morning, I can’t hear a damn thing because of the horn, my fingers are frozen, and now there are two police officers walking towards me.


Me: “YES”

Officer: “UH-HUH”

Then I found the socket, loosened the nut and whipped the battery cable off.

Oh, sweet, golden silence!


“A while. Stop yelling.”


“Goodnight, sir.”


I spent the rest of the night (morning?) sitting on the couch trying to calm my heart. By the time I was calm enough to lay down, my fingers were just starting to regain feeling and it was time to get ready for work.

There, now you know why my neighbours hate me.

But there’s more.

Punch-line Number 2: That evening I phone my neighbour Jim. Jim’s a great guy, very laid back, the best neighbour you could ask for.

“So, Jim, did you notice anything unusual last night?”

“Yeah, your f@#%ing horn!”

“Yeah, sorry about that, what time did it start?”

“Three in the f@#%ing morning.”

“Oh, ok, thanks. Sorry about that.”

That means that the horn was blowing continuously for two and a half hours. I found out later that the neighbour behind me called the police about 4 a.m. thinking it was a gas leak or a transformer about to explode. Because it was so cold out that night, the sound carried very far, and echoed off all the houses so it took the police about an hour and a half to locate the source of the noise (probably made easier by the light coming on at my place and the panicky white guy performing vehicle repairs at 5:30 a.m.)

The next day there was an article in the paper that talked about an unusual number of noise complaints the police had been getting that past weekend.

To wrap up a very long story and to answer a question you probably have: No, the horn on the truck no longer works!

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