Friday, September 6, 2013

Demolition day

I didn't own a car until I was 30 and that surprises a lot of people. I never really wanted one, and living in bigger cities meant that walking, biking and public transit were all viable options for getting around. Once I moved to Saskatoon and found myself waiting for too many late buses at -30 degrees, I had had enough. I broke down and bought a shiny, used Jetta. I still walk and bike a lot, but haven't taken the bus in over a year.

And as a writer I'm missing out by forgoing the bus.

I just took part in a webinar about story telling and the host was talking about the need to always be listening to what's going on around you, and how public transit is one of the places you can stumble across great stories. I can definitely attest to this.

The #14 Carlington bus was how I commuted to my job when I lived in Ottawa. One day on my way home I sat near a scruffy looking man of indeterminate age. He told me where he lived, but not with an address. He said he often enjoyed a good sleep in the Canadian Diabetes Foundation's big, red donation bins. It was cosy, he said, because of all the clothes inside.

People always laugh when I tell this story. I like to think that it's funny because it can't possibly be true. Just the logistics of hoisting yourself up to the opening and catapulting yourself inside as the drawer slams sounds exhausting, potentially painful, and not very graceful. Not to mention the constant threat of someone making a donation of pots and pans when you're far away in dreamland.

Regardless of whether the donation bin bedroom is true or not, I'm always aware of how fortunate Josh and I are to be able to build our dream home in a great, walkable location. I had always thought building a home would be nice to try "some day" but never thought we'd get the chance to do it at our age. As I share our stories about building I'll be touching on ups and downs, excitement and disappointments, successes and failures. I won't be including the downsides as a complaint, but rather as an attempt to show a realistic perspective - it's not all going to be sunshine and rainbows.

However, through the whole process we won't forget how fortunate we are to be doing this at all.

Our demolition happened last week, and in the spirit of what I've just written, I'll break it down to pros and cons.

The pros
  • The demo company came the day they said they'd come, and the house was demo'd by 8 a.m. The inside had been stripped by Habitat for Humanity months earlier, so the walls, old windows and roof was all that lay within the concrete foundation. We're off to the races now, and we had a good start out of the gates!
The cons
  • The demo crew were so efficient that I missed the whole thing! I had planned to take a video, but as I walked down the street at 8 a.m., I quickly realized that old cliché - you snooze you lose. The house had already been flattened and they were about to start hauling it away.
  • There was a beautiful apple tree in the backyard that didn't survive. I didn't realize that the machinery needed for the demo required a wide berth to move around and cart out the debris. The crew cleared the lot, including the sweet little tree, the evening before. RIP apple tree. On the plus side - we have a blank canvas for the backyard now, and can always plant another one next spring.

The photo on the left shows our lot on the afternoon of demolition day - they even finished clearing away the foundation. The photo on the right was taken this point we were a day away from pouring the foundation. So yes, the foundation should be being poured as I write this, but I haven't been over to look yet.

That's all the news for now. I'll add photos of the foundation/basement as it comes along. In the meantime, think twice before throwing a bag of hammers in a donation bin...


Pam said...

Hey Juba,
Don't you have to get that foundation in before it snows, like, tomorrow? I am so excited to follow your adventure. Keep the stories coming.

Sephie said...

wow!! i'm so excited for you guys.. steve and i keep talking about buying land.. but i don't think it'll be happening for a long time so i'll be living vicariously through you guys!!!! :D

Jules said...

Hey ladies! So good to hear from you! It snowed in October last year Pam - so you have a very good point! It just means that Josh is holding all the trades accountable and making sure they show up when they say they will! He's far more assertive than I am. Fingers crossed the framing will be done before the snow flies...maybe we should take bets on it? ;)
Syl - is there land available in Kanata? Or would you build somewhere else? I'm happy to have you live vicariously through us - you'll have to come visit once we're all done!