Monday, March 21, 2016

Noisy Gutter and Refrigerator

     When we first moved into our current rental unit, the one complaint we had of a neighbor was that he had a loose or improperly installed rain gutter that vibrated with a loud rattling groan every time high winds blew. This neighbor has been very considerate in every other way—friendly, generous—so we never said anything, assuming he just never got around to it or perhaps didn't realize it was buzzing because he lived in a back house whereas the front house with the noisy gutter was a rental unit, often unoccupied.
     But after six years, Deanne and I had had enough. It wasn't that he couldn't afford to have it fixed as he was constantly making additions and improvements to his property, including paint jobs, new awning and window frames, and roof repairs. So one morning when I awoke after an especially noisy night (this had been going on for several days straight due to high winds), I called 9-1-1, explained that it wasn't an emergency, and after describing the problem, asked to tell the officer to see the owner in the back house because the front house had only tenants, and also, no, I didn't want to talk to the officer. The dispatcher said she'd send someone over—no name or phone number at my request.
     About a half-hour later as I was preparing for work and it was still dark, I heard the sound of footsteps, police radio-band chat, and an authoritative-sounding female talking just outside our unit to a tenant next door. The rain gutter was still buzzing away, so I was glad that the officer must be able to empathize with what we lived through for so long.  Heavy footsteps then retreated toward the street along with the police radio-band chat. I was concerned that the officer hadn't talked to the landlord and if and when the tenant told the landlord of the officer's message, he might disregard it.
     Two days later, Deanne said she heard banging on the roof of the front house next door that afternoon and asked Pene to take a look and she said workers were doing something to the rain gutter.
     Two days later the winds picked up and silence—no rain gutter rattle! It's easy to take such blessed silence for granted, but whenever the winds pick up now and the only sounds I hear are natural whooshing, it is a relief, and I'm glad I did what I finally did.
     Speaking of which, our landlord replaced our refrigerator when the last one we had since moving in broke for the second time due to a power surge that also knocked out our stereo receiver, TV, and washing machine. We replaced the former two on our own because they were so old, and the landlord replaced the latter with an upgrade. The refrigerator replacement was equivalent, but we soon discovered every time we opened or closed its door, it squeaked and creaked—very annoying after a time—and could be heard clear across the house from our bedroom. I tried lubricating the hinges but that didn't work. Then I realized the squeaks came not from the hinges but from the right front wheel—one of four upon which the appliance stood or rode when pulled out of or pushed into its slot between the kitchen cabinets and wall. In essence, the weight shifts from opening and closing the door caused the wheel to squeak, as I was able to replicate the sound by shaking the refrigerator with the door closed. So I lubricated that wheel, trying to spray the oil up by where the axle is, but that didn't work well either.
     Weeks later (okay, I'm slow), I realized if I could just jack up the frame with a wood block near the offending wheel, then it would no longer rest on the floor and that should solve the problem. I got a shim-like wood wedge out of Jaren's toy box and shoved and pounded it in right beside the offending wheel. That helped a lot, but not quite. I got another wood shim and pounded that behind the same wheel. Perfect silence from that wheel ever after! Now, no more noisy refrigerator or rain gutter. Hallelujah!

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