there is a house around the corner from us, and down the block, that has been in constant renovation for quite some time now. i'm not posting a picture because it seems rather rude to take pictures of my neighbors' property and then post them on the Interweb. so instead i will just make fun of them with my words. (and some pictures i seized off of Google.)
like most of the houses in this neighborhood, it's smallish, and old. it has a couple of interesting stained-glass windows, and some nice beveled glass, but other than that it's fairly ordinary. except.... it is completely gutted on the inside. it has been this way for a couple of years, at least.
a nice couple lives there--a kind of earth mother woman, with a garden, and a rain barrel, and tomato plants. she has a long braid down her back and looks interesting. the husband is older and often sits on the front porch reading. he always says hello when we walk by in the evenings with the dogs.
but when the lights are turned on in their living room, you can see that it is gutted down to the studs--the ceiling, the walls, everything. they sit in this torn-apart room and watch television.
and then, last year, they decided to build a garage. they weren't done with their living room yet, but there they went, building a garage. it's a gorgeous garage. it is nicer than our house. it has beautiful windows, and it's sided on the outside with cedar lapboard, stained a pretty orange-brown.
it has a second floor, where you could probably live.
but...it isn't done. around the door, and the windows, there's still just that Tyvek housewrap stuff. it looks like it would take about five minutes to put up the rest of the siding, but for some reason they haven't done this. the garage has sat there, 90 percent finished, for about about eight months.
and then, with the living room gutted and the garage not yet done, they decided to build an addition on the back of the house.
at first, they went great guns. framed it all in, installed the windows, wrapped the Tyvek around it.... and there the work has stopped. for months.
i walked past the house again on monday night with the dogs. a balmy beautiful late-autumn night, with a clear sky, a nearly full moon, and air so mild i kept my jacket unbuttoned. the earth mother was in her yard, tending to her garden. the husband was inside the gutted living room, watching Tv under the bare ceiling rafters. they seemed perfectly content.
i wanted to ask the earth mother why they kept starting new projects before they finished their old ones. but she went on into the house, and the moment passed.
is it more interesting to understand? i asked the boys. or is it more interesting to wonder? they sniffed and suffled and breathed in the night air and for once didn't answer me. and on we walked.
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