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A seemingly living, breathing house in Tennessee
As I write this piece, the house suddenly comes to life.I hear blowers coming on in every room and the boiler racheting up the heat in the house. I have just opened the external door at the back to go out to the bird feeder and feed the birds. I also take out the trash as I know the trash van will come tomorrow to clear our minimal trash. The caring senior neighbour takes the trash can down to the road on Tuesdays rather than Wednesday morning incase he forgets. So, rather than walk to the road, I carry the trash out early, pre-empting his exercise.This is his way of helping the kids who live very busy lives.
Then I take the wet waste out to the compost heap at the back. My son and his wife being doctors have always recycled and never just trashed everything. I have put that down to their up bringing in India where my father always recycled and his waste thrown out of our large colonial home was minimal.
Walking out to the compost heap I open the back door and both jobs drop the temp in the house which causes the boiler to kick in. For my overly creative mind I liken the action to a caring parent, who will always have the child’s best interests at heart, no matter the age.
Through the day and the night the boiler works, keeping us inmates warm and safe from the winter chill, which can plummet one day and rise up on another. Our homes in India do not need the exercise of heating and so we do not have boilers, but of late people have begun to require the cool of an airconditioner in the summer.
Another instance of these homes being different from our Indian homes and seemingly ‘alive’ was when Annika decided to boil some Thai rice noodles for Alaina. She put them on the stove and came to sit down and watch us play some brain games on TV. In minutes ofcourse the water evaporated and the noodles were burnt. I got a strong smell of burning and ran and switched off the stove and took the dish to the sink, filled it with water and carried it out to the garage. Leaving it there I came back inside to find that the whole house was full of smoke.
That was fine until the smoke alarms started screaming, and they literally screamed both inside and outside the house.We ran around like two bats out of hell opening the front and back door and hoping the smoke would subside and with it the alarm. No such luck, the alarm kept screaming and it looked like the neighbourhood would arrive to check on us.
Nothing happened, no one came in response from the neighbouring homes and still the alarms blasted. Alaina was terrified and cried loudly, cringing on the sofa, the little guy was blissfully unaware, left halfway in his diaper change on the bed. We called Andrew who told us to switch off the alarm which was in a box in the bedroom. Annika ran to the box and in seconds the screaming alarm was off and silence reigned again. It was a harrowing experience, but the incident made me realise that the house is fixed for all kinds of alarms to trip which was excellent.
It is really a living breathing being in my mind, so different from our concrete and brick homes in India.
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