Saturday, November 28, 2009

Transition, pt 2

We broke ground in mid-August. It was an exciting weekend for us, watching the excavator, who also happened to be the listing agent we bought the property from. It wasn't unusual, in fact quite normal, for many to hold several part time jobs at once. In an area where winter virtually shut down the economy, one worked hard all summer. With the area cleared of trees, and the stumps moved out of sight, the excavator dug the basement. Having previously contracted with a mason to lay the block and build the chimneys, we had nothing to do but wait. During that time, we finalized arrangements with a local builder to rough the place in, according to our hand-drawn sketches, and weather seal it before the next winter. Our visits began to stabilize at every two weeks, as it seemed enough time to see progress. Having worked many years for a builder, I knew and fully understood that homeowners that hung around a lot, were the surest way of delaying a project. Our timing was perfect. Next time we came up, we saw the basement done, then the decking, then walls and a roof. Wow. By late fall the unique wavy edge siding I selected, was on and ready for stain. The siding was cedar and didn't require additional color, but he 5 year sealant we chose added a depth to the natural grain. It was beautiful. We spent a long weekend protecting our new house from the elements. WE finally were working toward our goal, our first hands-on project. The following visit, we brought the old pot-bellied stove I had saved from my mothers cottage, and hooked it to the chimney where my new wood cook stove would eventually go. With the pot belly and the fireplace going, it was barely warm enough to stay. The interior of the house was all 2x4's, no walls, open to the roof, zero insulation. We stapled up heavy duty plastic to the ceiling and I gingerly climbed into the rafters to gently lay down some insulation to hold in what precious little heat we generated. After hanging plastic on the walls to section off the front area from the rest of the house, the fireplace and stove kept the place at 50 degrees. Warmer than it had been, it was an improvement, and it got us thru that Fall.
In December, the company where Peter worked for 17 years and held a middle management job, announced it was undergoing major changes in upper management. Although his job was not in jeopardy, Pete was not happy with the changes being made and therefore was not getting along with the new managers. It became evident that we would have to up our time table. A lot.
In February, 1995, we started packing, moving non-essentials into a storage locker in the nearest big city, a locker we added to weekly. In late March, we held a huge moving sale to get rid of all the household items we had doubles of or would no longer need. Stuff that came from merging two households. Pete's house was on the market, and we had a firm offer.
In April, he gave notice at work, and I sent letters to my clients, referring them over to another therapist, who had purchased my practice. It was all in motion, no going back. I had sold my lucrative practice, my car, my timeshare, my life.
At the end of April, Pete closed on his house. We had moved the last of everything except absolute essentials to the storage locker a few days earlier. Those few essentials were in the back of the truck now, along with my two cats, who had been sedated for the long drive. From having been to the property early last spring, we anticipated a smooth entry, but it was going to be a very long drive and arranged to stay the night at the motel in town.
The next morning, we excitedly loaded the cats back into the travel cages and headed to our new home. It was a good lesson on how each Spring and each melt-down was different and varied year to year. We had been wearing short sleeves the day before, and now we were faced with so much snow on the road, we couldn't get in... and we had no where to go. It was time to adjust. Part of those last items we packed, were a toboggan and snow shoes. So we loaded the cats in their cages, plus a cooler with food, donned our snow shoes and walked in the 1.2 miles to the house, dragging the toboggan behind us. Exhausting.
In a moment of lucid foresight, we had left two old snow mobiles parked at the house the previous Fall. While I got a fire going to warm up the room, Peter started one of the machines and began shuttling our supplies to the house from the truck. It was a few more days before the snow melted enough to drive in. We were home... four years before planned.

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