6:58am–I enter the house after having just dropped my daughter off at the Stamford train station. I am carrying two large iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts, with sweetener in one pocket, straws in another, and the newspaper, which I have picked up from our auxiliary newspaper mailbox, under my arm. It is already 85 degrees and humid. I am winded, because I have had to walk up our 45 degree inclined driveway, because there is a huge cannister in front of our garage that looks like it had been perfectly positioned to catch the detritus left behind by a very localized tornado.
As I enter the house, I notice a small dish sitting on the floor by the hallway closet. After putting down the coffee and the paper, I pick up the dish. It is filled with stones. I don’t know where it came from, or why it is there. I ask Barbara. She doesn’t know its origin either. We decide to leave it where we found it, in case it is some sort of good luck talisman placed there by the demo guys. We really don’t want them to have bad luck today.
8:02am–The demo guys arrive and Barb asks them about the dish of stones. They reply that they found it on top of a window. We surmise that it was left by the previous owners. Perhaps the rocks were their good luck charm. We throw them out. Almost immediately, walls begin to fall down.
But only because we want them to.
8:20am–Barbara, myself and Toby, our dog, stand outside and watch as they exchange cannisters. A truck comes to the foot of our driveway and lowers the new cannister to the ground. It then backs carefully up the incline and approaches the old cannister at just the right angle. It clicks into place and then, amazingly, this arm lifts the whole thing up from one end and pulls it onto the flatbed without spilling anything. This is so cool even Toby barks in appreciation. Or maybe because he doesn’t like big trucks.
So down the hill with the old cannister, which gets lowered to the ground so the new one can get backed up the hill and lowered into place beneath the window through which the guys have been tossing pieces of our house. I note that the new cannister, like yesterday’s, is already partially filled. What’s up with that? Don’t they trust our house to be able to slough off enough stuff to fill a cannister by itself?
10:36am–They’re just banging away in there. The work doesn’t sound as artful as it did yesterday. Yesterday was orchestrated, with all sorts of whirring, smashing, sawing, drilling and shooting. Today, it’s just percussion: bang, bang, bang. I have the same thought I have when I’m in an art gallery or museum and there’s a canvas that’s just covered in black paint: I could do that. That’s how I know it isn’t really art.
11:40am–I was outside and something came flying out the window into the cannister. I’m just going to go on the assumption that it wasn’t a person.
1:22pm–I go to investigate a new kind of sound, loud and metallic, and find a man I have not seen before prying up the floorboards in the dining room. I walk away without asking questions; for all I know, he’s a floorboard thief who happened to be driving by and saw an open door. Meanwhile, I wonder what it will be like to be able to see into the garage from the dining room.
3:47pm–We notice the guys tossing out strips of linoleum and we are puzzled because, to our knowledge, there was no linoleum anywhere in the house. We ask and discover that they’ve been going through layers of kitchen flooring. There were tiles on top of linoleum on top of wood on top of cement possibly going all the way down to the earth’s core. It’s like when archaeologists determine the age of fossils by how many layers deep they find them; here we’re going through eras of kitchen design. It’s looking like, by the time they’re finished, the kitchen will be about eight inches lower.
4:36pm–All’s quiet. They’re done for the day. Our kitchen and dining room have wooden boards for a floor. There is insulation hanging loose from the exposed rafters. Lighting fixtures are suspended as though they are old west lynching victims. And among the tools left behind is a shovel. What could they have used a shovel for, I wonder. Could it be that they removed so many layers of flooring that they actually hit dirt?
To be continued…