Friday, August 23, 2013
I recently built this little base for the wee toilet that will go in my secret Spring Fling build. It's two pieces of matboard glued together and covered with some wallpaper from the Beacon Hill. Then I took skinny sticks and painted them a fancy gold color, but they really just look like regular wood. Whatevs. I know that they have fancy paint, and that's all that matters. I loved the toilet on its own, but it did look kind of wonk just sitting there on the floor, so now the wee person has a "lift." Or a foot rest-ish. Something like that.
Building miniature houses and structures is incredibly interesting, but it turns out there is a LOT of work. You get the main walls up and think everything looks awesome, but then you realize how many small details need to be added and, as I've recently come to fully understand, it's all about the trim. The good thing is that I don't have to worry about running water pipes throughout the whole thing (although it can be done). I don't need to worry about wiring outlets or lighting up the whole shebang (although that can also be done). But real houses? Holy. Sh*t.
Auntie and Uncle are building a house from scratch. This is fascinating. Pa built Nerdtopia from scratch, but I was a wee tot, so I don't remember much except for the sound of SCREECHING saws in the garage and the toasty smell of sawdust. It was all very mysterious yet totally boring to me because I was a kid and I wanted to play and be free instead of spending all of my weekends at lumber yards with Grandpa and Pa. Zzzzzz.
I'm not saying that I would enjoy going to a lumber yard as an adult, but at least now I can appreciate the concept behind them. There is so much wood to choose from! So many kinds of tiles! So many bathroom fixtures! And brick colors! And TRIM! Holy. Trim.
I grew up with Auntie and Uncle right across the road. At some point, they moved into town to live near Auntie's aging mother. Eagle and Eagle's wife purchased and moved into the old homestead. Now, Auntie and Uncle are building right next to their old home and directly across the road from my parents' house. For the last 10 years, Uncle and Pa have been steadily tearing down all of the old farm buildings on their properties. I'm still desperately clinging to the hog house, which will no doubt be torn down before the end of the summer. But building something? This is new. This is not as scary or sad or memory-destroying. This is kind of fun.
(Yes, I know I'm ridiculously childish about tearing down buildings that are FALLING APART and ROTTING and probably DANGEROUS and my family is allowed to do whatever they want with their own properties that they pay property taxes on, but I like to stomp my feet and complain out the wazoo about it because I don't want anything from my childhood to change. Just sayin'.)
The land where the house will be built has been changing over the last year or so. It started with a building being torn down. Then there was some Extreme Mowing. Some cleanup. A huge pile of dirt arrived. Some grating of the land happened. Then it just sat there for a while with some flags in it. At some point, a shiny, new, blue 911 address sign popped up (we have new street names and fancy addresses now that 911 has caught up with Old School Country Rural Routes). And just when I was beginning to think the summer might pass us by without any construction, BAM there was concrete and rebar. A foundation.
I know better than to ask my mechanical engineer father to explain certain things to me. He will use large words and maths and go into great detail on things that I don't care about and soon I'm confused and need a Tylenol and maybe a four-day nap. But I did go out on a limb about this new house.
Me: Do you think they would mind if while they're building, you take me over there and show me how houses are built?
After Pa fainted and recovered, he said yes.
What is this? My daughter is interested in something engineer-ish???
Yes, it's true. I want to know what the innards of a house look like. Every home I've lived in has been roughly 1,000 years old, with the exception of my childhood home. I'm used to hard plaster walls now and cracks and dips and building supplies that are illegal/no longer produced. I'd like to see how a real, modern home rises from the foundation upward. I'm even interested in the trim.
Up until now, I've poo pooed hearing about home improvements (just ask Dorothy). Because I'm not a homeowner, I really just don't give a sh*t. I don't care about color palates or the differences in hardwood floors. Bathroom tiles make me want to kill myself. It's true, dear friends who have proudly shown off their homes to me for years, I'm being Super Fake when I ooh and ahh over your window treatments. I'm a total a$$hat. I'm sorry. But at least I have pretended. I've cared "just enough" because you care, and I want you to be happy. But inside, I'm wondering where the alcohol is hiding.
But now that I've started building my own miniatures houses? Now I find it interesting. Now I'm on board. Just don't ever come to my 1900 Farmhouse Villa rental thinking you will find evidence of life-sized interior decorating. There is peeling wallpaper in the kitchen. And the bathroom. You can peel a piece if you like. I know it makes some people incredibly happy to do that. Yes, Dorothy, you have permission.
I've been very sad for the last few years as I've watched so many old buildings be torn down. I'm a nostalgic sucker for these old barns and houses. Recently, someone bought a GIANT farm property down the road from me and bulldozed the entire thing to make room for yet another ugly, boring, treeless clump of houses. I came flying around the corner, saw the hill, and almost burst into tears. That's how much I love these old farms. I will cry even though I've never set foot on the property. I'm ridiculous like that.
So I find it somewhat intriguing that I'm accepting -- even embracing -- the change that's going on across the street from my parents' house. Is it because I'm growing up? Nah. Is it because I like new houses? Nope. Is it only because I'm so fascinated with miniatures? No. It's because I love Auntie and Uncle. And I suppose that love is strong enough to topple the old buildings and invite in a new one. Welcome home.
Those who know me really well are probably surprised that I'm excited about the new house. I gotta be honest, I'm surprised at myself, too. But I really am looking forward to learning new things about home building and getting the down-low on each part from Auntie, Uncle, and Pa. And my folks could not find better new neighbors no matter how hard they tried. I'm excited to look out their front window one day and find a shiny, new home with Blondersons inside of it staring back at me.
Yesterday, I drove into the new homestead lot, rolled down the window, and took a few photos of the foundation for posterity. I was eager to record the memory and experience. Look, something new is happening, and it's not as scary as it once seemed. I suppose perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks.