Monday, 27 April 2015

Staying away

I recently bumped into an architect friend and she asked me how the renovation was going. 'It's great', I said, 'I can't stay away'. I told her how we had found a rental nearby and so after dropping off the kids at school most days, I could stop by the house and see how things were going.

'Mmm,' she said, 'I tell clients to stay away'. She went on to explain how clients only 'get in the way' of building projects and 'slow things down'. Take a huff? That would be putting it mildly. No, no, I'm different. I'm interested in it all - love learning about it and want to understand what's going on. Don't we have a right to be there? Isn't it our money they're spending? I told my indignant self. At the very least shouldn't I stop by and make sure everything is going according to plan? To keep on top of 'issues' as they arise?

I've kept up my habitual visits and, truth be told, as the old house has lost it walls and we've excavated new spaces - it is beginning to take on the new identity that we are working so hard to create. The year of design is taking shape and the more of the new I can see, the more I want to be in the space and be a part of the re-birth.  I even managed to work stopping by the house into my runs. Let's face it, rather than bore friends with reno stories, I might as well chat it over with the other people whose time it is also consuming.

I didn't hang around much - about an hour every couple of days.

And so, it has come to pass that I may have 'gotten in the way'. And my own architect has very tactfully asked me to stay away....(for a bit!).

She wasn't quite that blunt but nevertheless, I'm picking up what she's putting down! Today is the day when we are taking delivery of the HUGE beam (750 kg of steel) that will be retrofitted across the width of the house to give us the nice open space the main floor was so desperately lacking. It's the toughest part of the build and will require particular skill and expertise. The three contractors who quoted on our project were all quizzed at length on their experience with retrofitting large beams. Basically if it goes wrong, the house falls down.

It's also fair to say that we are all a bit nervous about it. The design of the house depends upon it, the integrity of the building depends upon it and, most importantly, the safety of the crew depends upon it being done properly. And my architect knows me so well that, in an email last week, it was the last of these points she used to tell me that it would be best if only those 'involved in the fit' were on site today.

Which is a real bummer because I wanted to get pictures and record this important milestone. However, even I can appreciate that the guys need all their wit and energy to get this bit right. So today I'm staying away and trying to think about other not think about the beam, do not think about the beam.

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