My front yard has become a construction zone and I should really wear a hard hat when going to my car, which as of yesterday, and until further notice, is parked several houses down the street from my house. My driveway is no longer accessible and with that, I lost my garage. Mail delivery is iffy and my overly full recycle bin was finally returned to my garage in the same position that I hauled it out in as I got tired of waiting for it to be emptied. I can hardly blame either the mail truck or the recycle truck for not making their way down my street. It takes a brave soul. This is what happens to homeowners when their old neighborhood gets a below the surface facelift and it’s out with the old pipes and in with the new. That alone, is helping me stay positive about the whole mess of a situation, but when trying to get to my house yesterday and having to quickly change from drive to reverse because a fire truck was backing down the street just feet in front of me, my positivity started to wane.
I asked the fireman, who was headed to my car, what was going on and was everyone OK and am I really going to have to back down the street to the busy road I just turned off of?
“A major gas line was broken a block from here… down there on the corner… sure does take patience to live on this street these days, huh? And no, we’ll move the truck so you can get by.”
Thank you, fireman. Yes, it does and I sure did appreciate the acknowledgement of that.
As I was making my way through the tight squeeze around the fire truck, I realized that “a block from here and down there on the corner” was, of course, my house. Sometimes all you can do is shake your head, be grateful that the firetruck was called and leave candle lighting on my porch for another time. I’m still scared (although they said it was fixed and I couldn’t smell gas). The whole gas line breakage has resulted in a hole the size of a swimming pool in the front corner of my yard. I’m not even sure it could still be called a hole. A trench, perhaps? Whatever it is, there’s a deep end that could certainly support a high dive as it was a few feet deeper than any of the men working in it – my estimates from my kitchen window said 10 feet and once all the workers had left and the coast was clear, I stood on the edge of the pit and without scaling my way down, 10 feet deep seemed about right.
|THIS is the corner of my yard…|
|No worries… there’s a plastic net fence around it for safety. This would be a pretty ugly fall in the dark of night…|
Patience. I’m trying to find it, keep it, put it into action.
The initial work involved replacing the 75 year old gas lines to my house, which meant there was a pretty steady stream of workmen traipsing through my house and into my basement to do the work, have their work checked, and light my hot water heater, followed by a few rounds of shutting the gas off and relighting the heater. They were in my house often enough that I felt like I should at least offer them a cup of coffee or maybe a piece of toast. Only thoughts. The good news is that the work has totally moved away from the inside of my house so the workers are no longer in and out, but the bad news is that my yard seems to be the headquarters and where all of the really big machinery seems to be hanging out.
I know having to back up those big huge machines to the nearest side street so that anyone who lives in this chaos zone can make their way to their houses has got to be frustrating for the workers and has me being a whole lot more thoughtful about how many times I leave my house, knowing that I’ll have to weave my way through the mess to get home. Three weeks ago I was making eye contact, followed by a quick nod and a smile. I figured it was the least I could do to offer my encouragement for no doubt a difficult job. I quit that last Monday when at 7 a.m. my house was shaking so hard from the concrete smashing that was going on in front of my house, that I was sure photos were going to start falling off the walls. That, along with the noise and the dust that has enveloped my house and has left all horizontal surfaces in my house coated so thick that you could write your name on it, has my smile waning a bit. Just as well to keep eye contact out of it. I don’t want to be “that” person who is in continual complaining mode but given what my front yard looks like, I truly feel like I’m taking one for the team here and feel totally justified. Still, best to just keep on moving and keep my facial expressions out of it.
|Most people have friend’s cars parked in front of their house… not me! I’ve got KOMAT’SU parked in front of my house!|
|The pipes have to be stored somewhere while digging the trenches where they’ll eventually be… my side yard seemed to be the best choice…|
|Just random stuff in my yard…|
Throughout this whole process, I do have to think of how much worse it could be. My neighbor has a 9 month-old baby, who probably hasn’t had a decent daytime nap for 3 weeks (the noise is a constant). Then there’s the danger element… if ANY of my kids were of “that” age, it would sure be hard to keep them out of that enticing canyon that seems to be growing in my front yard, let alone any curious pets. For that, I’m grateful, as the flimsy plastic fence hardly acts as a barrier.
|Every time I see this, I want to steal it. I’m not sure why.|
I suppose the clincher to all of this should be that a short 3 months ago, I had my old and very crumbling driveway replaced with a brand sparkling new one, something that I’ve put off since I moved to this house 4 years ago because driveways are not cheap, nor a fun way to spend your money. It was removed to the first joint this morning, as was everyone else’s on my side of the street. I couldn’t watch. I’ve been assured multiple times (because that’s how often I’ve asked) that the section will be replaced with a driveway of the same or better quality. For now, I’m believing them until I see otherwise. It’s keeping me sane and a whole lot calmer than I could be given the situation.
Patience. Inhale. Exhale. (being mindful on the inhale as I live in a cloud of dust right now…). This will end up good and I truly believe that. Besides, who gets to actually see what lives 8 or 9 feet under their street? There’s a whole other world under there! That’s a start…