[HOUSE & HOLMES] Window Pains

Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

Traffic around Los Angeles keeps getting worse, and with all of that crazy traffic comes a never-ending thruway of noise.

We live on one of those streets that everyone now uses as a shortcut to nowhere. I think Google Maps, Inrix, and Waze have colluded to make our avenue the crossroads of Los Angeles.

Above the din of giant Hemi engines, motorcycles, squealing tires, and bad mufflers, we hear curse words in at least twelve different languages, and occasionally music so extremely pulsatingly loud that it makes the glassware in our cupboard shake.

Do all of those super-quiet Priuses, Teslas, and Volts take some other secret route designed for silent hybrids?

It used to be that the din of the traffic snarl would end after rush hour and we’d only hear a gentle rumble, but now every hour is rush hour. How am I supposed to sleep when it’s like I have a room on the straightaway at the Monaco Grand Prix?

I figured that I should be able to handle this problem without calling my super-contractor friend Dave, but after checking with the city about gating our street—which apparently takes years and is nearly impossible— or laying down a spike strip like the police use in car chases—which is illegal for some reason—

I ran out of ideas.

I called Dave on his SmartPhone and reached him while he was stuck in traffic. I took this as a good sign. Over the sound of cars creeping along at 7 mph on the 405, I told him about my problem.

“Wow, I am glad that’s not my house,” he chuckled.

I tried to laugh along, but a big trash truck was rumbling down our street and the noise was too intense.

“Which windows are we talking about?” asked Dave.

I mentioned the bedroom windows.

“Are they doubled-paned?” he asked.

They certainly are a pain, but I didn’t know what “double-paned” meant.

“There are several layers of glass that are sort of vacuum sealed in a way that blocks the sound,” said Dave, “plus they can make your house more energy efficient.”

In my experience, “energy efficient” are code words contractors use to mean “expensive.” Dave had to take another call from a pretty young chef

who is making Queso Fundido for his weekend pool party, but he gave me the name of his “glass guy” to call.

Sure enough Dave was right. The “double-pane” windows block a lot of the street noise and keeps the bedroom more temperate. The double-pane replacement windows are not cheap, but they are effective.

Now I can now nap in our bedroom without feeling like I’m at a Formula One race. Which once again goes to prove, “If I can’t figure it out —and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.”

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