tearing down the shed

July 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

It is a quiet morning. The sky is overcast bringing welcome relief from the heat wave. The air is almost perfectly still. The vaguest wisps of air movement gently push the leaves outside the window. Up the street I can see the gusts are stronger, but here, around the house, it is relatively calm.

We are in the middle of our mid-summer construction push. Our house has been in a continuous state of renovation since we took out our first building permit was issued in 2011. Husband and I are now both working full time as carpenters, pursuing accreditation for our red seal certification. I am 60, he is 56. Yes. That is what we are doing. He has a masters degree in music composition. I have a bachelors degree in fine arts, a masters degree in technology studies in education, and a doctorate in education. And now we are both carpenters working furiously to stabilize our housing situation.

We bought this house in 2009. At the time we knew that it was going to need extensive repairs and renovation. We put a new basement underneath it 2011 – 2013. During this time we were still pursuing careers in music and academia so we were seriously under funded for the work we were attempting. An innocent error (missed student loan payments) during the months that our house was up on cribs in the middle of the winter resulted in a significant interest increase when it was time to re-finance to finish the renovation. This pushed us from A-side lending rates to B-side.

At the same time, a miscalculation by the architect led us to relocate our mechanical room out of the basement and move it upstairs to the main floor of the house. This meant the main electrical panel was now also re-located. When it came time to close the permit for the basement renovation, the electrical inspector forced us to take out another building permit and electrical permit to re-wire the upstairs. This meant that our house was technically still under construction and we had to continue with a temporary mortgage based on B-side lending rates.

We had always planned on renovating the upstairs, so we used this time to develop plans for phase 2 of our renovation. We have been working evenings and weekends to get ready to pull the revised permit that will allow us to implement these new plans. We have been living in a partially gutted house for over a year now. Our front porch roof has been up on shoring for two years.

Today we are demolishing the old construction shed that was built for the basement renovation. It was an eyesore and a magnet for clutter. It made it almost impossible to get anything done because fasteners, tools, and equipment were so hard to reach. We have been working to disgorge the contents of that shed and either properly stow the contents so they are accessible, or get rid of them. With the shed gone we can start work on building the tree barrier fences required by the City before we can pull the permit.

Through these years Husband and I have become damn good carpenters. I have also applied my graduate level skills to project management. It is proving a boon to keeping us organized and focused on what would otherwise be an overwhelming prospect of endless amorphous convoluted tasks.

It looks like it is is a very good day to take down a shed and move ahead with the rest of our lives. At some point, we will look back and heave a sigh of relief that this phase of our lives is over. Like I do already when I think about my life as  a graduate student.


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