The breakdown: in exchange for ripping down our leaky, crumbling, mostly worthless 7.5x26 ft. back porch, we'll be getting a 12x29 ft. glossy, beautiful main floor addition, including main floor laundry (!!!!) and a full main-floor bath (our old one, part of the back porch, was only a .25 bath--the sink didn't work--and not insulated, so using it during the winter months meant one cold tushy), as well as 12x29 ft. of basement space and a 12x15 ft. addition to Judah's bedroom upstairs. In the process, we'll also be gutting and remodeling our kitchen and roofing and siding the entire house. I am excited beyond belief, while still trying to be realistic--we can expect this project to be a huge drain of time, resources, and energy, and fully expect it to drag on well into the fall.
But as Confucius said, The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So my first step last week was clearing out the back porch (formerly a dumping ground of coats, shoes, recyclables, and (most of all) random miscellany. Before I could do that first step, though, I had to clear out the front porch (formerly a dumping ground of random unused furniture and, of course, miscellany) and mop it. Those two steps took all of Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, I did all of the laundry--ALL of it. This includes sheets, blankets, towels, and the many things I've postponed washing because they weren't necessary--the neat sheet the dog sits on in the back seat, etc--because I knew that, on Friday, my washer and dryer were moving up to the front porch, and I had no idea how long it would be before I would be able to use them again. (They're still unhooked.) On Friday, I got the crazy notion that I should clean out the basement. Now, this is where it really got surreal. I can't adequately explain to you what a dumphole our basement had become (Don't know where to put it? Shove it down in the basement! No one ever looks down there!), but suffice it to say that I pulled the lawn tractor and trailer up to the house so I could carry a big load of junk out to the burn pile. I cleaned it out, for real--I even removed the carpet. Somehow, the kids stayed asleep for two hours, and I was able to do more than I ever dreamed possible--enough to make Abe mutter a mild expletive of amazement when he returned home that afternoon. I also ground and browned 5 lbs. or beef for sloppy joes for the workers on Saturday. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was bushed.
As you can imagine, Abe's week was also chaotic, trying to get, well, let's be honest here, I don't know what ready for the big demolition. He worked every bit as hard, and probably harder, than I did, and just want the record to reflect that.
Saturday was...an adventure. Abe's dad, two Tims, a Dave, a Jim, and a Shaun all came to help destroy our porch. It is unfathomable how much joy men get out of demolition. All I can say is that, with the mere mention of the word, Abe's friends were all too eager to come help.
The first blow was struck at about 8:30 or 9 am, and I nearly fell out of bed. I went outside to see what the noise had been, and found our contractor, Shaun, sheepish. Abe apologized for him. :) The porch was gone--I mean, to the dirt--by about noon. After setting out and cleaning up the guys' lunch, I took the kids out to Abe's parents' house so they could get naps--a frustrating and highly unsuccessful endeavor--and returned by about 3:30. Abe worked into the evening. He is a dedicated worker, he is.
So here are some snapshots from the day, if you care to see them. Some are blurry (I couldn't very well re-do shots), so they're not necessarily the best quality, but they should give you an idea!