My builder, Nick, took a week off to go south with his two little girls for spring break. During that week, his father, Mike, and his uncle Jerry worked outside on the porch deck. Jerry is the less-skilled but helpful go-fer for the two carpenters — essentially the me of the team.
The timing of Nick’s vacation was perfect. Nick and Mike had carefully established the outer frame with a laser level. Now Mike and Jerry built some temporary homemade scaffolding — Mike is small —
and they hung all the deck joists.
Meanwhile the sheetrock taping team arrived every day to tape and mud the interior. First the downstairs…
and then the upstairs. This is Jon and Amanda’s bedroom.
The heaters roared night and day to help the joint compound dry. I would walk through late after work and try not to think about the expensive heat escaping through the thin sheets of insulation covering the unfinished front and mudroom doorways. In my ear I could hear my father’s voice, telling me to let the worry go: It’s the cost of doing business.
Next came sanding — drifts of white dust everywhere! — and then priming. The ceilings have been painted white, and all the walls are primed and ready to be painted. The dining room and kitchen…
… Lucy’s room with the doorway to the attic…
… and our bedroom.
The sheetrock team has finished and gone. The girls and I are trying to settle on wall colors this weekend, so the builders (I assume Jerry) can begin painting between other tasks.
Outside, the porch deck is almost finished. Picture me as Gene Kelly, tap-dancing with joy on this deck.
The porch is my big extravagance on this house. I could have eliminated it and saved money. However, not only will the roofline around its waist establish the farmhouse look and soften the fortress-like lines of the house, a wrap-around porch has been a feature of my home dream since my earliest twenties. Other people dream of fancy kitchens. I have dreamed of a wrap-around porch.
I always imagined my children playing and riding tricycles under a porch roof in the rain. That didn’t happen. Someday, maybe it will be my grandchildren.
Yesterday evening when I walked through, I saw that the protective plastic had been removed from some of the downstairs windows. Instantly — once again! — my eyes filled with tears.
I have stared at that view for years, sitting in trucks with Allen, eating lunch on the job in snow or rain with the windshield wipers slapping, or toiling alone, sweating and bug-bitten. After all the hours and years, I almost can’t believe it: my house is nearly here.
I am so lucky.