Remember when I first moved into this apartment, and I was interested in the large and silent house next door? The House Next Door! Sounds like a movie title, or no, maybe a pocket book. Empty or not empty? Did someone live there but never came into any of the rooms on the back? Never turned on any lights in the living dining room or master bedroom?
Well, for nearly a year now, we've known the answer to that question, and have lately been watching The Man turning it inside out in a rapid change of all its lines. Very like what they did to our old house, which is now gorgeous and brand new and absolutely like every other house on earth. This house as well, which had a long, wide glowingly green front lawn, surrounded by huge old rhodies and beds of daffodils and hyacinths and multi-colored tulips -- very Pacific Northwest -- was being tidied, and all its special edges cut off. Then the back yard, which was shorter, without any lawn because of the huge fir trees which keep it almost completely dry, but also pretty much sun-free, opened onto the creek. The first thing they did was to take a load of enormous rocks down there in a flatbed truck which they simply drove in right over and through the bushes on the side of the house, and laid them all in the water just outside the edge of the yard, and filled in between them and the yard with gravel.
It is now a very tidy water's edge, especially as the second step, a tall iron fence, kept the ducks and geese from just waddling in. They still fly in, if they want to, but it does take a lot of extra effort, and the ducks mostly don't bother. The geese do, though, especially this year's crop, which as I may have mentioned before are Hysterical. Really. In its true meaning, too, I don't mean funny. At least one of them is clinically hysterical and she/he infects the others with unending Honking Panic which can continue for half an hour at a time. Very, very annoying. So there is a lot of panic-stricken Escaping and Pursuit involving lots of Flight to the Rooftops and it is all scored with Blind Unreasoning Honking. And from the roof, if you are not a very smart bird, you flap down into the yard, before realizing that now you can't get out to the water without a great deal more flapping and honking to get back up onto the roof, or possibly clear the fence from the ground, which is not easy and really makes you honk, long after you have Escaped and Thwarted their Evil Plans.
Anyway. You see I got a little carried away there. I liked the geese until this year.
But as I was saying, now they have begun working on the house, either preparatory to selling it, which seems by far the most likely, or to moving in themselves, which could also be, since there is only ever one guy out here doing all the work, even though he has access to all kinds of large equipment. Hard to imagine any individual having that kind of spare cash, especially in today's recession. And you would also assume that his family would have moved in already as well, to save on whatever their rent must be wherever they would be living. No, it has to be a revamp company. Perhaps times are tight enough that they can only pay one guy, and also put him up in the house...?
Because this morning, when I got up and put the kettle on for my coffee and was standing at the window looking out at the rain-washed morning, in all its typical colors -- deep dark greens, vivid glowing greens, assorted pale greys, backdrop of blue -- so very recognizable and beautiful! -- I was looking down into the yard next door, at the mini-caterpillar tractor and the mini front-loader and the large pile of railroad ties (hmmm, that's new) lying next to the side of the house where all the holly trees -- sadly overgrown -- had all been dug out and disposed of yesterday. Also a pile of long black piping -- like a new septic tank system or a water feature (which would be a real waste of money, since the house is right on the water already) and all the places where the smaller bushes and clumps of flowering plants had been dug up or skinned off and loaded into the truck and carted away. Anyway, as I stood looking sleepily at all this, and wondering vaguely with my pre-caffienated brain what the overall plan was, I realized that, standing on the opposite deck with a large steaming mug in his hand and staring back at me in startlement, was the worker guy. Took me several seconds to realize that we were looking right at each other and move away. It's just a very, very good (and lucky) thing that I was wearing a robe.