Welcome back to all of you who have followed my blog on everydayhealth.com for the last seven years. This will be the new site, for now and it’s wonderful to have a place to chat and share our lives…once again.
We are currently having our streets and sidewalks torn out; down to the dirt for new sewer lines and new gas lines. It’s not exactly exciting but one of life’s necessities that you certainly miss when you don’t have them. I’ve been fighting bronchitis all summer and I am determined to survive all the digging, dumping and construction noises with my nerves intact. The construction lot is directly across the street from our lovely old Italianate Victorian home so we have been living with beeping, diesel and large burly men with hardhats for most of the summer as they work their way around our little town here on the Columbia River in Oregon.
Testosterone fills the air along with the diesel fumes, dust and enough noise to cause a teen who normally listens to rap music to say, “Huh? I can’t hear you.” We recently added the cacophony of house painters to our repertoire. I know it sounds like madness but with the rain fall here on the Oregon coast, we have to strike while the wood is dry. We now have the bass sounds of truck engines accompanied by the screaming soprano of sanders, hammers and drills. My chronic pain level has risen and all of my joints are screaming as well so, needless to say, it hasn’t been boring.
Three days ago I was lying down with my new adorable Yorkie puppy, George, when someone started pounding on the front door. It takes me a bit of stiff movements to get downstairs and the kid at the door was about to pop the glass out of it. I said, “Stop that, you‘re going to break the glass.” When I opened the door, a very nervous, anxious young painter screamed into my face, “Come on, you have to get out. Your house is on fire!” With a great desire to be left alone I said, “Are you serious?” He assured me he was and kept trying to grab my arm to drag me out. I whacked back at him and while it began to sink into my drowsy brain, I grabbed for my shoes by the door, pushed a hat onto my head to protect me from the sun and searched, very quickly, for the dogs’ leashes. Jake, our schnauzer was barking and I had to drag the pup out of his kennel. I fled out to our deck which is just an impressive way of saying our old garage roof where my potted plants were abiding while the painters were working. I looked for the closest patio chair and plopped down, sore, as usual rear end pain and all. I was surprised to see my hands were shaking. Oh, I forgot to tell you I also grabbed my purse. I now know my priorities in life: my dogs, my purse and a hat to protect me from sun allergies.
The blessed burly men in the street had called the fire department but I thought I had to call them also, not sure why. The nervous young painter dialed my cell phone for me. I tried to call my husband, after dialing 911. He was out washing his new Camaro. The world would have ended if he had waited one more day to clean it from all the road work. His new “baby” has been parked a block away as we have hiked from our cars through “Beirut” for the last couple of weeks, enough stress filled exercise for us old folks. My husband didn’t have his cell phone with him and a neighbor volunteered to fetch him. The long and the short of it was that the painters had set the ancient redwood on our 123 year old house ablaze using heat guns. Indeed, the house was on fire. Smoke poured out as the painters hit the fire with my garden hose while I watched over the fence. Neighbors arrived along with my poor daughter who had the flu, along with my fresh from the bathtub granddaughter, wearing her pajamas. The construction workers had stopped to watch the blaze because every little and big boy loves a fire, don’t they?
Two huge yellow fire trucks found their way into the war zone here and descended with all their bulky jackets and equipment and helmets. They began to chop away at my house, each chop more and more painful to watch. I know…they were trying to save the house and they did. They marched through the house in their wet boots, helmets dripping with water, spreading their masculinity into my small, old-fashioned home. They crawled into the attic, slid under the house and kept chopping wood; which I should explain, was still attached to the house. Three hours later and the fire was out. You can now see our basement from the outside, the painting contractor is still in danger of having a heart attack from the stress of it all and we are striving to breath in a smoky house that smells of burnt wood. Tomorrow we’ll be going to a hotel with our pups while they place ozone machines in the house to kill the odor. There really is little problem upstairs but the downstairs is still a bit fragrant. It has the odor of a barbecue “gone bad.”
I forgot to tell you the firemen found a dead rat in the attic. They left it there. Why? I do not know. We spent $300 this summer trying to catch that rascal. The painter has volunteered to retrieve him. The picture is complete. We have now had fire, flood and pestilence; if one dead rat counts as pestilence.
I am exhausted, in pain and still using an inhaler but we are all basically fine and very thankful. No one died. The house can be fixed because we had the foresight to hire an excellent painter who works with a good carpenter and we will have a bit more nailing than originally planned. Noise? We can take it. “What? What is that you just said? Yes, we are counting our blessings here on the north coast of Oregon. It’s raining now and the tarps are covering the gaps and all will be made right. Now, if only my health could be mended with a saw, a sander and a few nails. We will eventually enjoy a newly paved road and a lovely old Victorian in leaf green, with forest green trim, highlighted by a lovely deep rose with white. I’m looking to the future because it always helps.