So…the owner of the nursing home was working the Chicken BBQ. Right away I ask, “So what the heck are you guys doing over there?”
And as she explains, the annoyance starts to subside.
The new facility will be a rehabilitation center for patients who need temporary housing after a knee replacement or surgery but don’t need to be in a nursing home with sick people.
There will be a dozen single rooms, as well as a double room for couples or siblings.
It will be named “Mary’s* House,” after her mother who lived there.
Another identical facility is being built in a nearby town and will be named “Grace’s* House,” after her grandmother, who started the family business.
I asked her why the chimney and the partial walls remained. (My dad assumed it was some building code that required only a partial demolition in order to rebuild.)
She said they wanted to keep something of their childhood home standing. And even with that, it was hard to demolish the family home.
Now when I see the rubble and the cement mixers and the cranes, I see it a little differently. (It is still frustrating when the kids are talking to me and I can’t hear them over the noise.)
But when I explained to the kids what they were doing over there, Tweedle Dee says, “Well, I bet the new neighbors won’t be so annoyed when they realize that they are doing something good over there.”
For the last few months, as school started and I adjusted to the busy life of a working mom once again, I couldn’t help but feel like that “Hard Hat Area” was a metaphor for my life. I felt like I was in the middle of a construction zone….a Great. Big. Mess.
Learning new material at school, working with new people, scrapping old ideas, managing a new crew of kids…the planning…the building…breaking my back to get the job done.
Now, with a month of school under my belt, things are falling into place. Some questions have been answered – like the reason for keeping the chimney and the walls. Things at school are clicking. I have a grip on our after-school schedule. Homework is getting done, dinner is being served, and we’re finding time to play outside.
The dust is settling – literally and figuratively.
I currently live in a “Hard Hat Area.”
the past two months what seems like eternity, the house that once stood here has been demolished and I have seen more construction destruction equipment come down our quiet street than I have in my entire life.
It started with what I thought was a roof replacement at 6 a.m. one morning this summer. By the afternoon, Tweedle Ian comes into the kitchen, “Uh, mom? They aren’t fixing that roof. They are tearing it off.”
Sure enough…the roof was not replaced and wall by wall, brick by brick….the house came down.
The only thing that remains today is the chimney…and partial walls facing in all four directions.
My house is on the main path of walkers and bikers and I see a lot of people go by in the course of the day. Grandmothers walk their children down to watch the bulldozers and diggers and other big machines I do not know their names of. (Tweedle Ian was never into machines and trucks like many toddlers.)
Several have asked, “What is going on? What are they doing?”
Until last Saturday, my reply was, “Tearing down a house???? I’m not sure.”
All I knew was it was dusty and dirty (To the point I dislike having my windows open.)
It was loud. (6 a.m to 6 p.m. loud – beeping, grinding, digging, pounding, men yelling)
It was inconvenient. (Many times semi-trucks and dumpsters were blocking the intersection and I’d have to back up and go around the block to get home.)
It was an eyesore. (From the plastic orange safety fence to the port-a-potty to the piles of dirt 20 feet high.)
It was invading my space. (Workers’ trucks parked on my curb, blocking my view out the kitchen window as I did the dishes.)
I feel bad for the people who lived directly across the street from this lot. They moved in this past spring with likely no idea this was going to happen.
Fast forward to last Saturday. I stopped at the Chicken BBQ at the park. The BBQ was sponsored by the nursing home near my house. The demolished house is on the nursing home property.
I have a few ties to this nursing home….First of all, a good friend of my dad’s is the recreation direction at the nursing home. She is awesome at her job and recently won “Rec Director of the Year.”
Secondly, one of the owners used to substitute teach at our building and she and I shared a room for a month or so when she did a long-term subbing position. She doesn’t sub anymore, but she works long hours and drives by every day waving at me and the kids when we are outside playing.
Lastly and most importantly, before I bought this house four years ago, my grandma stayed here on different occasions and lived here for the last few weeks of her life. I had driven by my house many times with no idea that our front yards would someday be so close.
Now I drive home every day and turn right to go to my house, instead of left to visit her.
I taught Ian to ride his bike in the parking lot in front of the nursing home. Cute. little, old people sat on the patio smiling and watching him, but not her.
It’s weird to think I am right here where she was.
The day she passed away I wrote a poem, which was later read at her funeral by my oldest cousin.
While I’m not up for sharing the whole thing….I will leave you with the last stanza….and finish this post tomorrow…..
I’m from a day that came much later that we ever dreamed, but still too soon.
I’m from the early hours of a September morning, dark and quiet,
the sun had not come up yet.
It was the beginning of a bright and beautiful day –
a symbol of the warmth that was felt when Grandma met up with Grandpa again
And he helped pin on her wings.
To be continued….