Hells Bells (#285)

I’m having a hard time working from home. That may seem odd, since I’m a writer used to working at home.

Let me clarify: I am used to working at home ALONE.

My husband is technically an essential worker because his company does top secret work for the government. I stopped asking what he does because there are polygraphs involved and we need our health insurance. Andy’s supposed to be going into work. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, company employees kept testing positive for COVID-19, which meant the company closed down and sanitized every infected employees’ building(s). During this process, the company sent all the employees that normally work in the infected building to other buildings. Not surprisingly, employees in THOSE buildings then became infected and those buildings had to be shut down.

It was an endless, ludicrous game of Whack-a-mole until all the buildings wound up shut. The company had no choice but to attempt remote work.

I dunno why they waited so long. Andy’s workday appeared to back-to-back meetings. Which he put on speakerphone because his ear pods irritated him after an hour or two.

It was hard for me to work with Andy’s interdepartmental squabbles cutting through my noise-canceling headphones.

It was hard for both Andy and me to work through Baby D playing Minecraft with friends: “Zombie jockey! NO WAY! I’m down and it’s nighttime! AHHHHHH!”

Andy gave me his best pathetic dog eyes until I offered him my noise-cancelling headphones.

He was delighted. Every time he walked by, he grinned and gave me thumbs ups. His noise output declined.

“You still having a lot of meetings?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah. A bunch every day.”

“You say anything at these meetings?”


“I don’t hear you say anything.”

“Well, the less I say, the quicker the meeting ends. And also, Baby D is really loud. You probably just don’t hear me.”

Baby D WAS really loud. I went outside whenever it wasn’t raining.

Yesterday, there was an asshole squirrel on the power line above our backyard, taunting the dog. The angry barking and incessant chittering sent me indoors. Andy, happily wearing MY headphones, grinned and waved at me on his way to the bathroom.

After the bathroom door locked, AC/DC began blaring through the house:

I’m gonna get you, Satan get you
Hell’s bells
Yeah, hell’s bells
You got me ringing hell’s bells…


I followed the noise to Andy’s laptop…which had disconnected from the bluetooth headphones when he walked into the bathroom.

Andy skidded back into the living room with an “Oh, um, yeah, I guess I got too far away.”

“Uh-huh. Is today’s meeting with AC/DC?” I yelled.

Before Andy could answer, Baby D howled, loud enough to cut through Brian Johnson’s sandpaper vocals: “What the FRICK?! The birds picked me up and dropped me!! AHHHHHH!”

I went back outside to barking dog. Where it was quiet.

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Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

18 thoughts on “Hells Bells (#285)”

  1. Fortunately my husband is much quieter. He uses headphones to what his scifi movies. It’s best outside but here it’s still too cold to spend a lot of time out there.

  2. Oh I hear ‘ya. My husband is working from home having commandeered the kitchen table, in the middle of everything, as his office. And the man do talk. A lot. So funny you’d mention Hell’s Bells. Been thinking about that all week.

    1. Yeah, my husband is using the largest room in the house: the living room. It has no doors. Neither does my office.

      Baby D is in his room. It has a door. But in a house under 1200 square feet, we can still hear everything.

  3. Working alone from home is a good thing. If it’s quiet. I’ve worked from home for a while, and on the occasion when I’m the only person at home doesn’t mean it’s quiet all the time. Sometimes the window washers come down my apartment building and wash the windows. Other times the children downstairs scream and shout at the top of their lungs. Close to noon you can hear a housewife cooking lunches. There’s someone who also does the vaccuuming every day too.

    Andy sounds quite…dedicated working from home. I have to agree, the less you say in the meetings and the less you argue, the quicker they go.

    1. Yes, the neighbors can be terrible. So far I’ve got one teenager who blasts music and practices Tik Tok routines in a nearby backyard. And of course there’s midlife crisis cop next door, revving his 60s muscle car engines. But at least the three little girls who had screaming contests moved away?

      Do you put in earbuds or wear headphones to ignore your neighbors, or are you able to tune them out?

      1. You do have very colourful neighbours I don’t wear earbuds or headphones to tune the neighbours out. Just get on with it and hope they aren’t too loud when a meeting comes around.

        I think out of all the noisy neighbours, for me the screaming children are the least annoying. Rather put up with that in the day than the vacuuming sounds at 10pm

  4. I also use those fingerless gloves to work in the winter, haha. Mine are dark red. But I still get chilblains anyway… it’s my curse!

    Not many noises here to be bothered about, but Baby A. has turned my computer off twice while I was working in the past few weeks 🙂 Maybe it’s his way of saying “pay me some attention!”

    1. Andy got me those gloves because the house is so cold in the winter and I’m stubborn about putting on the heat, especially when the day inevitably warms up. I love them, but now I’ve lost one! I guess it’s okay since it’s going to be 80 degrees for the next few days!

      I actually taught Baby D to say, “I need some attention!” when he was little, which was preferable to yanking on my arm and stuff.

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