Joco Diversions

Her home was turned into a suburban battleground

I have recently been liberated from a dystopian universe. For almost a week I experienced equal parts sensory deprivation and sensory overload.

I was held in a prison where there were windows, yet I couldn’t see. The images outside were so blurred even making out shapes was difficult and the only thing I really knew was when nightfall arrived and morning began.

The sensory overload was just as jarring. I was subject to a cornucopia of sounds that played in my ears like a symphony conducted by a trio of colicky infants. There was shrieking, yelping, baying and whirring noises that were briefly interrupted by silence that was equally unsettling.

It was if the quiet was premediated. A way to tease your ears, to give them just enough relief that when the sounds started again it was even more painful.

I thought I was going to lose my mind. The hold on my sanity was a white-knuckle grip that was losing its tenacity. It seemed no on could help me, not even my husband who I’m almost certain blocked me for a brief time period due to all my anguished texts.

My mental spiral was due to an army of hard-working contractors. Painters, stucco repair gurus, and dry rot specialists had turned the exterior of my home into a suburban battleground. Lest you think I have really lost my mind, because how could having work done on your house be akin to a dystopian universe, let me explain in two words: plastic sheeting.

Thick plastic sheeting was put over every single window to protect them from paint. It seemed as soon as that was done it started to rain and the painters, of course, left. This gave me a house that was rendered windowless. My entire home was devoid of outside light and during the day the sheeting was so opaque I couldn’t even make out the trees in the my yard.

It gave the house an eerie aura. It was like I was trapped in the lair of a serial killer with a really nice sectional sofa and some delightful dinning room wallpaper. Due to the rainy weather, the painters couldn’t come back right away and this meant for days I was living like this.

Adding to the creep factor was that although the painters couldn’t work in the rain, the dry rot guys could and the sound of the saws and the hammering triggered my two dogs into a barking frenzy marathon which really irritated the lord and master of the house – the cat – who then began to meow his freaking brains out. (I thought that perhaps if the dogs were able to see what was causing the noises they might be less vocal so I took them outside to visit with the dry rot guys. I didn’t help. In fact, I think they barked louder as if to say, “We know you now and your hammering is killing our nap vibe.”)

Meanwhile, I have a huge deadline-sensitive project I’m working on that requires the use of my desktop computer and another monitor making it very awkward to move to another location.

It was hell. My only source of solace was sharing my feelings via long, dramatic texts to my husband – hence why I think he temporarily blocked me.

It took a little more than a week for all the work to get done and when the plastic sheeting came off all my windows I felt as if I had been liberated from a dungeon of gloomy despair. I was free.

And bonus: Once again my husband was responding to my text messages.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram, and