This is profound. Or so it seems to me.
A neighbor came by just now, to see whether we’d had a tornado hit. “Are you OK?”
If you’ve wondered why I’ve posted nothing the last couple of weeks… we’ve been busy. We’ve been busy getting out of the way, more or less, getting everything we own into storage.
Yes, indeed, we are OK, and kind of excited. And it’s been a long time coming.
For various technical reasons, the house project is about a year behind the anticipated starting. But it’s underway now, and there is no turning back. Once they set that big jaw to work on the house, all is committed to the future.
It may seem like a profligate abuse of resources to rip down a standing house to create the site for building a new one. But consider, aside from defects of the old house, how this will proceed. This isn’t called demolition. It’s called Deconstruction, and though it looks like a disaster, it’s surprising how orderly it is. As the walls come down, the big machine picks off the studs and delicately breaks them at places where wiring passes through. Then a brave and agile man comes in and pulls out the wiring. Already, the windows, doors, sinks, toilet, tub, roofing metal, flashing, gutters, metal pipes, all that stuff has been taken out of the house. Wiring will go for reclamation of the metal, as will the gutters and other sortable bits. The sinks, tub and thrones will go to the Rebuilders Center (Remember them, where we found the wonderful arched window for the studio, and the cabinets, and the sink?) along with the doors and windows. A lot of the dimensioned wood will remain here, some for re-use, some for winter heat. What isn’t suitable for either of those purposes will be taken away and chipped up for landscape application or composting. Very little of this house is going to be thrown away. About 15% of it, the wall board [ed. note Sep 7, 2008: I am informed this morning that the gypsum wall board is also recycled], vinyl flooring, carpet, LP engineered wood siding, fiberglass insulation [ed. note Sep 9, 2008: apparently the fiberglass insulation is recycled as well], plastic pipe… that stuff will have to go to landfill. But the other 85% will go on to higher purposes.
One of the aspects of all this that gnawed at both of us a little was the thought that this old, cheaply done, inconvenient, impractical, unappealing house was the major accomplishment of someone’s adult life. We had met them, a couple of times, the old folks who built it here. They came down the road for drive-by look-sees twice in the first years we were here, and noted changes with a critical eye. Now, we thought, it’s good to know they’ve gone on before and won’t drive out here one day to find their house not here at all and another in its place.
Here it is just before deconstruction began. (That’s Bart in the foreground; he’s one of the crew who will build the new house.)
The truth is, I never liked much about the house. Aside from internal inconveniences, it didn’t feel good. It had… hmmm. It had bad vibes. I’m sorry, old Mr. Trainer, but your house felt bad inside.
So, just to make sure about things, and to set the project off with the right outlook, we went in this afternoon (Monty will have a fit, I suppose, but we wore the hard hats he gave us), and smudged out the bad cess in what was left of the house.
I lit off a bundle of sage I’d brought back from a collecting trip through the desert some years ago. Smudging is said to clear the air of unwanted influences. We blew smoke around and into the corners. “Bad things go away,” I said. “Good things come home.” Not knowing exactly what else to say in exorcising bad vibes, that seemed like the right thought. Then I took the smudge stick over to the new studio and smoked in some good thoughts there, too.
It smells nice, as well.
So that seems to be about it for the old house. Since the crew isn’t here on the weekend, we spent the day sorting pieces of lumber and clearing out the old greenhouse which will have to move down the hill into the garden.
Except, as I was picking through things, I noted the pile of wall board set aside by the deconstruction crew. Face up on top was a piece of wall on which I had written a last testimonial by flashlight one night last week: