Saturday, July 14, 2007

From the Land of Rebar and Dirt...

...our house renovation continues. It is pretty hard to believe that at the end of all of this, we will have a house that is twice its current size. (2-bedroom Bungalow – cozy as is) I feel like such a materialistic, ugly American even writing this. I was a renter all my life until I was in my thirties, but still…having more space for the kids, and having my own office/studio, and a workshop (aka “Man Cave”) for the husband will be, in the parlance of my kids, “hecka nice!”

It has taken almost three months to dig out our basement, and for the past four weeks, there has been a deep pit around the perimeter of our house, which I refer to lovingly as “the moat” even though there are only about two inches of groundwater at the bottom (eek! They say that’s normal around here…) A temporary stairway on the front of the house allows us to come and go, but the back door is a bit dicey. My husband built a ramp (known as the “plank”) which is about a foot wide and nicely bouncy, and traverses this moat (just don’t look down, they tell me). My kids bounce down it many times a day, as they enter what used to be the backyard to access our detached garage (the temporary family room/ home entertainment zone, which will one day be my studio/office/art shed. Yay!) I walk the plank when I have to, but I am not a huge fan of heights – especially when the crevasse houses a neat fence of shiny rebar – for our soon-to-be-poured foundation - just ready to impale anyone unlucky enough to lose their footing. Above is the view of my future studio from the bottom of the moat (nice view of the plank, too)

We have two cats. They have always lived both outside and in, and they are both good climbers. Quinn, the orange tabby, our adorable bad boy (he’s addicted to Q-tips – more on that later) happily comes and goes on the plank, which leads conveniently straight to the swinging “kitty door,” all day and night.

The other, our lovely black and white Prima Donna, Oddy, will not be caught dead walking on the thing and must be fed a special meal in the back yard every evening. Why she won’t walk on something ten inches wide is a complete mystery to me, since she regularly perches like a fat hen on the back fence, which is only one inch wide and twelve feet from the ground. I have also witnessed her jumping from roof-top-to-roof-top many times in her seven years. Go figure. Cats have minds of their own all right.

Our contractor and his crew entertain us regularly with sordid stories of the neighborhood. Of course they are all like members of our family now, and I must be discreet because we live in a pretty small town, (in fact at least two other couples we know are currently doing projects with the same contractor). When you get them going though, they are happy to dish about how that project on the West End never got finished, and why: not only an imminent divorce, but the soon-to-be-ex wife’s unplanned pregnancy with the lover who lived right next door. Add to this that most of the workers grew up here and have known each other since Middle School. So we try to give them a wide berth, and not get nervous when we arrive home during the day and witness the affable old hippy driver of the Bobcat (mini bulldozer) horsing around with the crew boss, chasing him into the dug-out area, as the crew boss laughs uproariously and flings shovels of dirt at him. Just a typical day. And you ask, “Is this why the project us taking so long?” Ah, well…