When both cats darted into their favorite hiding places at eight a.m. sharp on Wednesday morning, I had to see what fresh new hell was making so much noise. Well, of course! Familiar machines excavating and guys with shovels digging.
Because my ability to cope with this invasion–”You are destroying my calm,” says the warrior in the film, Serenity–depends on my getting involved with it, I become the intrepid reporter, snatching pen and tablet as I dash outside with my camera.
Photos are always first. Click! The machine right next to my fence and a guy with a shovel stabbing the earth. (“Just so you know . . . your fence is on my property, but I don’t mind,” the contractor had told me not so long ago. My reply: Mona Lisa smile.
Later I phoned my handyman and asked him to help me measure the distance of the fence from my house to see if “Just so you know . . . ” had gotten it right. Sure enough, the gate and part of that section do, indeed, stray across the property line in that corner. Hmm. So are they now disassembling it? Will they put up something else in its place?
Click! The machine making it’s way through the narrow passage to my stairs. Is “shovel guy” going to guide him? Not my concern. When you’re twice as old as the contractor, it’s comforting to know you have enough insurance to have him build you a new house.
I go through two gates to get to my car, instead of walking straight out on my path stones to the street–new behavior since his construction began in December, because that area has been mostly a parking space for his machines since then. Remember the photo last week of the broken path stone?
Car started, I have a few minutes to interview “whoever happens to be in charge today” and walk towards the property line. Sure enough, this tall guy joins me there on neutral turf and begins commiserating. A sucker for someone else taking the time to “get” what I alone have endured for the past thirty-three weeks straight, I tell him how it’s been for me.
“I have not had my life (writing) for thirty-three weeks, the noise and vibrations are hell, and I’m so raw I told a guy yesterday to roll his window down, then handed him a note I’d written about blocking my car and having his car towed.”
Yes, I tried writing in cafes, the library, my car, the parks . . . . None of that worked for me. I think it’s wonderful that it does for others. Good for them. Perhaps they are not quite as traumatized as I am. Maybe they aren’t as old. Maybe they have slim new laptops on batteries that actually hold a charge longer than an hour. Admittedly, I do not exemplify the modern writer.
My tools are old. I am old. My needs are different. I remember the one time I met with two other writers to critique our pages in a busy coffee house–how they kept looking around, perhaps looking for that guy who is ” . . .now earning six figures” from his thrillers. I recalled their inability to focus, their huge smiles when someone recognized what we were doing–”Yes! We’re writers!” Bless their little hearts.
But I digress. “Tall guy in charge” was kind enough not only to appreciate the effects of this project on me, ” . . . how difficult this must have been for you,” but he also told me what they were doing today: “final grades and drainage.”
One of my main concerns about this project has been the water drainage onto my property–a 1958 construction on rocks–by a modern-day construction with a steel and concrete foundation and a roof drip-line on my side of the property boundary.
“They’re creating a swell so the water drains south (between those houses and mine), around the back (of the new ones) and out.” Certainly sounds good. And reminds me, not a little, of that song in the musical, Chicago, the one Richard Gere sang while tap dancing. Something about “Give ‘em the ole razzmatazz . . . .”
“Around the back of his second house or of his little shed behind that one?”
Tall guy scratches his head.
“I mean, where will the water go?” Having observed that lot when it was vacant these past thirty-three years, I know that drainage down here is not the same as on the street that runs north and south, which happens to be, oh, maybe three feet higher than our dirt? That is, the street is higher than our lots on that side where drainage happens, but not in the front, where it doesn’t.
He says, “We’re following the approved plan . . . drainage pond . . . “
“Pond?” I’m thinking, Where, exactly will a pond go when he’s covered every inch of his dirt with either houses or concrete?
“Not a pond, exactly . . . We’re following the approved plan.”
Well alrighty then. “Ah . . . thanks so much for taking the time to explain it to me.” Like everything else, we’ll just have to wait and see “what it is.” Meanwhile, I’ve got a seven-year tenant moving out to go back to school, and I learned yesterday that her gas floor furnace is kaput.
Till next time, I’ll be Skating Thru the latest dust kicked up by the cosmos, listening hard for guidance about where on this planet I might belong. How about you? Got big changes in your life? Are you dancing with it a little?
Previous articles in “Living next to construction” series:
- Practicing yoga with construction noise
- Dancing with my devil: winter construction
- Footers & foundation in winter construction
- Snowfall doesn’t stop the winter construction
- Effects of construction noise
- Gifts of Construction: Gift #1
- Gifts of Construction: Gift #2
- Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
- Living next to construction, weeks 1-19
- 19 reasons to leave when construction begins next door
- National holidays don’t apply to contractors
- Living next to construction: and the beat goes on and on and on …
- Living next to construction: sometimes you just have to let go