One of the drawbacks to living in an old house with wooden floors is the fact that it often sounds like I'm raising a herd of young elephants. Clumsy young elephants.
Our house is built on a pier and beam foundation, which means it is built on a series of concrete pillars allowing a crawl space under the house. This is the norm in Southern homes as it allows air circulation under the floor, an essential in keeping cool in a climate that is hot nine months out of the year. And while this is great for keeping the floor cool, as well as allowing access to plumbing and wiring, etc... it's not so great when you have heavy footed children thumping around the house.
By the sound of it, my kids both weigh approximately six tons a piece.
This is great when I want to know where they are, because I can tell just by listening which child is where. And I can tell precisely how close the teenager is to killing her brother just by how much heavier (and faster) those foot stomps get.
This isn't so great, though, when they're horsing around in the living room while waiting for me to get stuff together for our weekly trip to the library. Or do I mean "elephanting" around?
When the Husbandly One and I were first married, we lived in a house built by my father's uncle in 1925. It was small and had a lot of cool doors with cut glass door knobs and each door had a lock with a skeleton key. Well, except the bathroom door. That one had a little knob on the inside that turned like a deadbolt.
Anyhow, it, too, was built on pier and beam and had beautiful wood floors that we loved. We had no children then, just a very large, enthusiastic Labrador Retriever that we loved very dearly, and his herd of cats. And while Max could be loud when chasing his cats around the house, or when they chased him right back, for the most part, it was pretty quiet.
That entire neighborhood was full of old Craftsman houses on pier and beam foundations with similar wood floors. And the house two doors down from us had a family with two small children.
Let me tell you something. I always knew when the mom gave her kids something with a lot of sugar in it. How, you ask? Because I started hearing what sounded like a herd of small horses thundering through a canyon. Seriously. You could hear every single footstep from two houses away when they'd start running through the house. You'd hear resounding booms when they'd jump off the couch and hit the floor, towel capes flapping behind them, and then there would be the rapid fire clatter when they'd race down the hall, chasing imaginary bad guys, or the bangs when they knocked something heavy over in their enthusiasm. And I'd hear the thuds when they'd finally have their sugar crash and pass out for the rest of the afternoon.
I always thought it was funny. Annoying, but funny. And I'd think, "Wow, why doesn't she just shove them out in the backyard like my mom used to do us?"
That always goes through my mind now when I hear my young elephants thumping through the house on their various adventures. I wonder what my neighbors think my kids are doing, and if they can hear it from two or three houses away.
Once, I came back through the back gate after walking to hear, "Thump, thump, thump, THUD, thump, bang, CRASH!" and then my husband bellowing, "Will you two cut it out?? WAIT TILL YOUR MOTHER GETS HOME!!"
I was laughing before I even got in the house. Everyone froze when I came through the door and all I could say was, "Wow, y'all are LOUD."
I suppose I should resign myself to being an elephant herder for now. I'm sure there will come a time when there won't be feet stomping through my house, and I'll miss it. But for now, I find myself wishing for less elephants and more... ninjas.
Ninjas would be seriously cool. Huh. I think I just got a scathingly brilliant idea!!
I'll get back to you when I'm done!!!