From the Ground Up

I realize that the last post jumped ahead of where I am chronologically, but it seemed like the right thing to do.
My rules; I break them.

But I need to backtrack to the whole rebuilding drama. I kept a journal that began with the following entry on May 14, 1992:
Our permit is approved! We meet with Gary [our architect] and David [our contractor] to discuss the details and the costs. We should also find out when our start date will be. 

On May 24th, I wrote:
Possible start for demolition: first week of June. Signed the contract. It should take 30 weeks, so if we start in June, we could be finished by the end of December.

This turned out to be overly optimistic.We did break ground on June 3rd, but we did not move in at the end of  December.

Friends and neighbors gathered with us to break ground

We read some poems, shed a tear or two, then I got to take the first bite out of the foundation.

Which is reverse again?
We also got to take a swing at the bricks with a sledge hammer. But James preferred to stay away from all the action.
 By June 5th, the lot looked like an empty canvas.
And the next day, we celebrated James’s 6th birthday, his “magic” birthday: 6 on the 6th.

The construction went quickly. Foundation, retaining walls, framing…

Movin’ on up

By October, things looked like this:

The view from the back

The front of the house has its “eyebrows” on…and we have a front door (but no way to use it yet).

Knock, knock

And on the one year anniversary of the fire, we had a pizza picnic by flashlight on the living room floor. It was dusty and dark, but we were happy to have our first dinner back home.

I noted in my journal that James ate the mushrooms on the pizza. In the dim light, he couldn’t tell.

Mushrooms in the dark…and a dusty hug

I also noted that I expected the next two months to be very hard. And they were, but on this night, we felt as though we were almost home.

And finally, at the end of January, we moved into the new house.

So close…just needed a driveway, more stairs, railings….

 There were still a few things (quite a few) on the “punch list,” and the finishing touches took several months, with tweaks here and there cropping up every couple of days. But we did it: we rebuilt our house and we moved back home.

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…

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