Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sweet home

Twenty-four hours ahead of schedule, and fifty-five years after its front door first opened, the house next to ours was reduced to a pile of rubble today. In about fifteen minutes, give or take a few.

I knew it was coming; the builder's sign has been planted in the front yard for a few weeks now. And it's the sixth house on our block that's been leveled since we moved into the neighborhood three short years ago. So I was surprised by the emotions that rocked me as I watched the front-end loader churn its massive tracks back and forth, back and forth, methodically striking the house down.

I'm sad that our neighbors are officially gone. Guess some part of my brain was still expecting them to pull back into the driveway and begin unloading grocery bags from the trunk. I wish them well.

I'm disappointed that Carter was at school and missed the whole shebang which, I have to admit, was fascinating.

I'm shocked that Spencer and Katie somehow slept through the entire deafening mess, even as weighty chunks o' house landed just steps away from their bedroom window. This bodes well for us: construction workers, noise and organized chaos will be our daytime neighbors for approximately eight months.

I'm agog at the idea that after those eight months are over, a hulking Mediterranean villa will stand where a humble white-brick dwelling stood just yesterday, simple black shutters framing its windows. Its entire footprint was about 1900 square feet. The new house will boast over 6500 square feet.

I know it's inevitable and I don't blame anyone for making the choice that I'm sure we'll eventually be forced to make, but I just hate to see these sweet houses reduced to piles of rubble. How much history was in those bricks? How many families before ours marked their children's heights on door frames? Now, how will anyone ever know?

After the dust had settled, I awoke the muppers so we could fetch Carter from school. As I was carrying them outside to load them into waiting car seats, four sleepy eyes were blinking away the bright afternoon when they spied the impressive transformation that had been wrought during their naptime.

I stopped and we looked and I explained that the big yellow truck was making room for a new home and new neighbors. My eloquent Katie said, "House gone. Bye-bye." Love her. Even when she makes me cry.

So, one door has closed. And in an unbelievably fortuitous coincidence, another one has opened about 280 miles south of ours.

My baby sister, Mary, officially became a homeowner this evening. I lack the words to say how proud, happy, relieved, moved and thrilled I am for her and her partner in crime, Albert. They've promised to launch their own blog about this 85-year-old house and the work they plan to do to make it their dream home, so I'll let them reveal the details and the backstory in their own sweet time.

I wish I were there, you two. To see the house, yes; I'm sorry about that. But more importantly, to give you both big bear hugs and wish you endless love and happiness in your new home.

xox Amy


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