Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Working in a Construction Site

Last week, my house resembled a construction site: an electrician and his assistant were drilling and hammering in the basement and a telephone repair person was fixing the wiring on the outside of my house. Add to this scheduling an exterminator and finding someone to repair my broken dryer, and I felt like I had suddenly become a general contractor. Meanwhile, however, there were translation and editing deadlines to meet.

Part of the trick to keeping my sanity were noise-cancelling headphones. I had bought these a year or so ago when the avenue near our house was being resurfaced and the noise from various construction machinery was rather deafening. They came in handy last week. Without music to drown out the residual noise, these earphones still cut out enough of the mayhem for me to concentrate on the work at hand. At the same time, because they don't work as well without a deliberate sound, I could still faintly hear the electrician or telephone repair person, if they needed something from me.

According to my children, noise-cancelling headphones work much better if you listen to music through them. So when I get some time (maybe after the ATA Conference later this month), I should load some of my CDs onto my computer. I find that it impedes my concentration if I understand the words to whatever music is playing. This means either instrumental only or songs in languages I don't understand. Unfortunately, much of our music is in German, English, Spanish, French or Scandinavian languages (I once lived in Stockholm).

There should be a home-office deduction for music, but since there isn't, I'll stick with our collection of classical, Arabic, Greek and Russian music. That should keep enough ambient noise drowned out to get me through the next two weeks of three rather large editing jobs arriving back to back.

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