They’ve been hammering, sawing, hauling, banging away at the house for months. And they will continue to for months to come. I knew this was coming when I moved in a year and a half ago. In fact, my moving in was delayed many months because plans for this gut rehab were in place and thought to be imminent when I first saw the apartment on an impossibly humid July day in 2019.
The first crew are masons. They peck and chisel at the brickwork above and to the periphery of my head for a week or two. The reverberations feel not unlike a dentist’s drill——insistent and ongoing, but dulled by anaesthetic. The walls of the house serve as novocaine to buffer me from the direct pain of their instuments. Also like at the dentist’s, their methodical attack becomes habitual and increasingly bearable as it continues and continues.
Scaffolding is erected, then moved along the southern and northern walls. One morning, I open my front door and face two-by-fours and metal armature blocking my egress. Good thing there’s a back door.
The wreckers come. A port-o-potty appears in the back yard. They haul out beams that likely date to the 1875 original construction. These are stacked along the neighbor’s fence. Will they use them for the new interior? Who knows. They’ve been waiting out there for weeks now.
After the walls and ceilings, they start tearing the roof off bit by bit. I go upstairs and look once they’re done. It’s so strange. All that remains are the brick walls and the sky above. The foreman points up in the air where the new second floor will be.
The hammering and sawing resumes. Now, at the end of every work day, they fasten a giant blue tarp over the open wound they’ve been assaulting. Late some nights the window blows the tarp loose and I hear someone up there trying to secure it. After a big rain, there’s a leak in my bathroom. The landlord asks me to take pictures so he can show them to the crew, and, presumably, shame them into making the tarp more water-tight.
When I stand in the back yard now, I can see the beginnings of the new extra storey. Once finished, it will allow the parents to have a separate room from their five-year-old. But before that, the workers will have to make a new roof, then all that goes below it.
I wonder what it will be like when the little girl and the dog are running back and forth the length of the house again. Will I miss the workers and their violent noise? Then again, they may never finish.
[Wrote about some movies I saw at the Black Harvest Film Festival.]