Ranch Redux: A Ranch Done Wright

And The Walls Come Tumbling Down | October 29, 2010

Well it is finally happening.    After ten months of planning, designing, and packing demolition has begun!   Up until now the remodel project has been surreal.  We thought about the project constantly, wrote big checks to the architect, structural engineer, city, and the school district, but the house remained essentially the same.  Last weekend the surreal and the real had a smack down and reality won.

Friday was the Lancer Day Parade which is a big deal in Carlsbad.  All of the schools have floats in the parade, the police close down the streets, and the kids march through the town.  We went downtown with our friends Leah and Scott and found a window seat at The Pizza Port.  We drank beer and ate beer buddies as the boys ran outside to watch the parade.  We had been waiting impatiently for the Waste Management District to drop off the dumpster all day and this was a little break.  The day before Tim ordered the biggest dumpster Waste Management had.  It finally showed up around 4:30 and barely fit in our yard.  We all were pretty giddy about beginning of our adventure.  Joey named the dumpster Fred.  The neighbors all came over to see Fred and talk about our plans.  The idea was to start taking down the interior walls and kitchen cabinets the next day.  We went to sleep that night snug in our beds while visions of sledgehammers danced in our heads.

Saturday dawned and Joey and I made a couple of last minute storage unit runs while Tim prepared for a big day of demolition.  Tim has a friend named J., a master carpenter, who is helping with much of the project including the demolition.  Tim and J. started by determining which walls were load bearing, and which were curtain walls. They marked the walls that were coming down with a thick black pencil.

Then they began feeding Fred the doors, moldings and soon the living room walls.

The nails screamed as they were being torn from the walls. I asked if it was difficult to tear out the cabinets, but Tim assured me that “anyone with fifteen minutes and a sledge hammer could do it.” I doubt that.

Demolition is fun!  I mean how often can you take a sledgehammer to your walls?  At first the euphoria of starting the project and the sheer joy of wielding a sledgehammer made our Joey very happy.

For a couple of hours he was pulling off drywall and hauling the wheelbarrow with the best of them.   But when Joey and I came back from the Teri Café with lunch for everyone and most of the kitchen was gone Joey began to get really sad.  These walls that protected us during rain, wind, and fire storms were being assaulted.   This is the only house he has ever lived in and we were destroying it.  At first he tried to shrug it off, making  jokes about the termites, but soon the grief overwhelmed him.  He lamented “Things will never be the same.

“That’s true Joey, but they may be better.”  I replied.

“I just want to go home!”

I tried to comfort him, telling him that home is not made up of walls, but a home is the family therein, but he was not having any of that.

I know how Joey feels.  I can remember many times thinking that I wanted to go home even when I was in my own house.  Home is the comfort of stability, a place where you are safe, and here his own parents were threatening that.  Poor little fellow…

Luckily Joey is eleven and eleven year olds are rubber bands when it comes to emotions. We found some old, metal sparklers deep in the cabinet and celebrated our new beginning.  This buoyed his spirits.

By the next day he was getting used to his new surroundings and started finding the silver linings.  The acoustics are much better for practicing the saxophone, no one is nagging him to be careful with the furniture, and he can ride his skateboard in the house.

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We are embarking on an adventure turning a boring little ranch house into a modern style remodel.

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