Saturday, August 23, 2008

Demo begins

Day one of demolition. They have taken out most all of the duct work and anything else that was salvageable/recyclable metal from the house. They also started taking off the siding from the back so that they could unbolt the framing from the foundation. Monday they'll bring in the jackhammers to do more of that along with more hand demo inside and Tuesday the giant machine will come to really make a mess (and then clean it up!) and start rebuilding.

It's incredibly encouraging after nine months of hardship and heartache to see progress being made, but it still feels like an emotional roller coaster at times... while demo is the beginning of getting our house (and our lives) back, it's also a goodbye to the home that was... and our belongings that were unsalvageable but have sat, through the winter, spring and summer in slow decay in the shell of that home.

Last weekend we went in to remove the front light and take off all the knobs and pulls from the kitchen cabinets.. thinking they could all be reused in someway. Standing on twelve inches of debris, swatting away gnats and flies and trying not to breathe too much of the lasting putrid smell of burnt everything while unceremoniously going at the cabinet pulls with the screw driver I half-joked, "who would ever have dreamed we'd be standing in our kitchen, doing this..." Most of that day, though, we worked in silence. I don't know what M. was thinking about, but my thoughts were bouncing around memories.... memories of walking through the house with our realtor the very first time and being so excited by the kitchen, choosing and hanging the curtains for the windows, memories of the countless gourmet dinners M prepared in that kitchen and the games of scrabble at the counter we'd play after dinner while polishing off a bottle of wine and talking about the challenges of the day, dreaming of the future... memories of entertaining friends, hosting our first thanksgiving with both sets of parents, cooking pancakes for M. on Saturday mornings, singing along with "At Last" playing from the stereo.

I opened one of the cabinets and found the little slip of paper with my handwriting taped to the shelf, "Life with you is a dream". I had left a bunch of such notes all over the house when I was away for six weeks last summer, taped in surprise places for M. to find while I was away. I guess that one never got taken down... and even with all the destruction surrounding it, this little reminder of our "before" was there, fluttering gently from me whipping the door open. It's these little details that are hard to reconcile sometimes.

I will be happy when it's gone.... when we're no longer faced with the reminders, the choices of what to try to salvage and what to just give up on. I am looking forward to a clean slate... and clean fresh wood rising in right angles from the foundation. I am ready for the stench of smoke and fire to go away and for the charred wood to be somewhere else. Our GC says it will go fast- a few days of major demo and the framing will probably be done in a week. After so much inaction, it's both exciting and daunting to contemplate such speedy progress, but I'm ready. Most of all, we just keep our sights on when it's all done and we'll be back home, to a time when we can again set down our roots, unpack the things we were able to save and start anew.

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