Ode to Regular People Who Endure Construction

We have new neighbours. For months, the house we share one wall with has sat empty as it was going through the selling process. For months we enjoyed knowing that we could be as loud as we wanted and no one would hear a thing. As of last week…that’s changed.

They haven’t moved in yet but in the last few days there has been a whole lot of demolition going on. Walls have been taken down. There’s been hammering, sawing and a LOT of banging. All the wonderful things you can do when you have your own new house.

This has all been a new side of things for me. You see, for 17 years, I lived in a construction zone. It’s how I grew up. I’m used to having the sledge-hammer, or even just a regular hammer, in my hand.

1992 – I think that’s actually a pick axe but you get the point.

All my life the sounds of saw blades on wood, hammering, and heavy machinery equipment were soothing sounds, and tunes of adventure.

1987 – another, yes this is not the first, home addition. Room and second basement room below. This was also one month before my baby sister was born. It was never boring!

Today, I’m on the other side of the wall, a very thin wall. I’ve never been on this side before, so close yet having nothing to do with it. It’s not so fun either.

It’s giving me new perspective for all those people I’ve listened to over the years as they’ve told me how stressful their remodel was on them. All the while I was thinking that it could not possibly be that bad since my own house currently had only a timber frame for it’s front wall and anyone could walk through it into my house. Or that it just isn’t the same as watching rain pour down through the light fixtures, into your living room, because that day a crane had come and used it’s claw to demolish our roof, and despite the tarps we put down, (my dad still had to put up the new trusses, so we could even build a new roof) rain is pouring onto and through what yesterday was the second level, and we’re putting buckets all over the place trying to save the flooring in the middle of the night. It couldn’t be as bad as that, could it?

My family didn’t have a lot of sympathy for those people. We tried to listen but all my parent’s energies were taken up surviving their whole crazy thing while working and raising a family in the midst of it.

Nov 1986 – a digger we hired to aid in the building and finishing of a 12 foot retaining wall my dad built.

It sure is another story being on the other side. The whole house is rattled as someone next door was knocking down a wall. It rattles you. It even rattled our wine glasses high up in a cupboard two rooms over. It gave us headaches and the kids were cranky. It was very draining!

It’s a lot of hard work even when someone else is doing that work!  In fact, I’d say it’s more difficult to endure if you are NOT the one doing the hammering, demolition, or construction. When you’re the one doing it the noises don’t seem to get to you. It’s like a driver in the car who doesn’t feel the bumps as much since she’s holding onto the wheel.

Living on the other side of the wall is giving me a new sympathy for the rest of the people out there who are fortunate enough to have others to do the heavy lifting to finish a project in a semi reasonable amount of time. And while it may not be a rebuild, or take years, it still takes a lot out of you. It is a legitimate life disruption while it’s happening. And it’s stressful!

So, I lift my hammer, in acknowledgement and solidarity, to all of us who get headaches when our neighbours do construction of any kind. May we soon hear pounding no more.