Mama told me one day it was gonna happen
But she never told me when
She told me it would happen when I was much older
Wish it woulda happened then
– Ricky Bell, New Edition, “Is This The End?” (1983)
See what I did there? It’s BOTH a pertinent question and the title of a New Edition song!
On Monday, January 23rd we met with our contractors for the expressed purpose of finding out just when our long national nightmare would finally come to an end. As a reminder, we took ownership of Via Corona on April 19, 2016, we hired the builder a week later and work began in May. We began chronicling the adventure in early June. We ran out of things to talk about months ago, but now “sh*t’s getting real” so to speak. Or, maybe not.
Back in June we were wide-eyed optimists who were dumb enough to actually believe it when we were told the house would be complete and the end of October. Today we are hardened, first world problem veterans with the thousand yard stares to match. It’s now clear that we, as my friends in Southern Illinois would say, just fell off the turnip truck as it relates to this project. To be clear, I’ve never actually seen a turnip truck and have no idea why falling off it confers a sort of dull wit, especially when its second cousin, falling off the wagon seems like a pretty awesome strategy. At least in the short run. Make no mistake, I would willingly jump off of a moving vehicle before eating a turnip, but I digress.
Back to a couple of Mondays ago. With our trusty spreadsheets at the ready, we walked the house stem to stern and talked in detail about the final touches in anticipation of their estimated completion date. After, a brief conference, it came.
“Four to five weeks,” they said.
“Bull$%*&,” we replied in unison, although silently enough so as to be drowned out by a passing turnip truck. (The driver most likely had stopped to use our outhouse. This is a thing we’ve observed. It seems our porta potty serves the same function of most urban public libraries.)
If you’re stuck without a calendar, their due date is March 6. A hair over three weeks until our world is no longer covered in gypsum dust. This is just enough time to decide whose side you’re on, dear reader. Are you all in for Team Shirley Make It or are you ride or die with Team Betty Won’t?
Feel free to base your judgments on current photographic evidence and place your bets on the official end date in the comment section. Winner gets a dozen cookies from me which truly makes us all losers doesn’t it?
Let us begin . . .
Here’s our spreadsheet as it existed on January 23rd. You can see there are a few things marked complete. A few.
Starting on the exterior. We have stucco and trim here that needs paint. Also outdoor lighting, the new mailbox, some tweaks to the siding and shutters and a doorbell for the expected seven trick or treaters we will have in the next decade. True story: A friend who has lived his whole life in Torrance recently said of Via Corona, “I rode my bike down there when I was like 11, realized it was a dead end and thought that was lame. Haven’t been back since.”
We also are in need of stucco on the new addition. Then you’ve got paint, installing the exterior lights, replacing a tiny amount of decking and 86ing the old dishwasher. Have we mentioned that the larger deck is no longer in the works during this phase? Yeah, there’s that. A casualty of mission creep.
Now we’re on the inside. It’s a small thing but, the garage needs drywall. Obviously this previous effort gave new meaning to the word insufficient and no meaning to words like craftsmanship, aptitude and effort. Someday soon this is where the old refrigerator will live amid what Shannon rightly believes is a growing colony of radioactive spiders (seriously, she volunteered to be the one who parks on the street because the garage is, and I quote, “spidery”). The rest of the garage is a project for later. Much, much later. Think 3rd Trump Administration later.
The aforementioned new addition sits in a medium raw state. Here we still need paint, lights, flooring, the all-important TV install, a fireplace redesign that I will never fully understand and some kind of ceiling decor design element thingy that I’m assured will be “sick” (as described by the builder).
A new TV and a totally boss speaker system sit ready to make this room an oasis for the insane amount of quality sitting and napping I’ll be doing very soon (once the non-stop construction sounds dissipate). I truly have a great napping ability. Everyone agrees that I am a terrific napper, so there’s no concern about my napping, believe me. And when I awake from a blissful slumber, this will be my view.
Or this . . . actually, mostly this.
There are exactly 77 other jobs great and small (paint touch ups, pieces of trim, minor electrical, patching holes in drywall) that could be accomplished by one handy person and a Thermos of coffee, but that streetwise Hercules has yet to show up to fight the rising odds.
So, there you have it? Is this the end? Are you my friend? It seems to me we ought to be free . . .
Place your bets in the comment section as to when we will be officially complete and earn yourself the treasure of a lifetime. Who knows? This could be the greatest day of your life, but only if you follow the words of the immortal Navin R. Johnson.
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