Friday, October 31, 2008

The Frightening Truth

We began this blog mainly to document our house renovation progress. But lately we've been posting about small daily pleasures, outings, and fond travel reminiscences. The truth is these little snapshots are a highly edited view of our renovating life. So, here, in honour of Hallowe’en, is some of the scary side of life we don’t usually reveal.

The Ugly

Large parts of the house, including the most public rooms--front entry, kitchen, future library look like this:

We have holes between floors:

The Scary

We have or had (please let the past tense apply) bats in the attic:

bat mugshot carved into our 'blue ghost' pumpkin

On bats: We have practiced the recommended bat exclusion techniques. Our painters used over 30 tubes of caulking to seal up any bat sized gaps in the soffits and gables. Our bat colony had a luxury one-way door (read $350.00 for a chicken wire tube) installed by a certified bat exclusion professional to allow them out, but (oh please) not back in. Still, we sleep in a state of low level anxiety—listening with our liminal brains for the tell-tale click of bat sonar.

WARNING, the following is not for the squeamish:
By day we scan all horizontal surfaces eyeing, while our heart rates climb, any suspicious piece of dirt that could in fact be—a bat dropping. We are now expert in identifying bat droppings, which are oblong, just larger than a grain of rice, dark brown to black, and crumble into mica-like fakes when touched (no, not with our bare hands). The mica-like flakes are bits of bug exoskeletons.

Outside in the twilight I love to watch the bats swooping against the darkening sky, knowing all the good they do and hoping for the survival of their threatened race, but inside, I just… can’t… cope. Bats, please be gone. It’s been over a month since the last bat dropping sighting. A very good sign (or absence of sign).

The Beyond our Control

Our neighbours, or rather their full-time construction crew (the neighbours themselves have vamooshed to an apartment while chaos reigns), are in the middle of a year plus-long home addition project and the sound of construction is with us from morning ‘til evening Monday to Friday and sometimes Saturday. Did I mention I work from a home studio? My work may enter a new dark age. An imposing new plywood-clad wall looms where once there was open sky and a view of a craggy apple tree.

the looming new wall next door

The Moral

Okay, this sounds like a litany of complaints, but I’m really not complaining (much). We are extremely fortunate in the grand scheme of things and the renovation is going well, all things considered. However, this list could be viewed as a kind of warning to any future live-in, DIY home renovators. Here's what we've learned:
Your renovations will take more of your life, time, and money than you think. Your stress level will increase and you will miss time spent with friends and family. On the other hand, the planning can be exciting, the work rewarding, the finished product exhilarating. Like the Hallowe’en haul, home renovation is a mixed bag of tricks and treats.

Happy Hallowe’en, all.


Marilyn said...

I love the insider dirt. The bat dirt. I too confess to an occasionally edited life, and also a rabid fear of indoor wild droppings.

Great pumpkins! Happy Halloween, and thanks for the excellent post.

S and N said...

Thanks Marilyn,
Rabid fear indeed!--very well put.
Blogs are an oddly fractured form of self presentation. I think you do a wonderful job of editing yours. Our blog has had a bit of an identity crisis since its inception. Thanks for reading!