Monday, June 2, 2008

Deconstruction Completed

For decades the house across the street from mine had a swimming pool that filled the front patio (now frequently referred to as the courtyard). Surrounded by a high fence, as are most of the houses in my neighborhood, the pool could not be seen. It took five days of pounding with a jack hammer and backloading with a small bulldozer, I called it a "baby dozer"--sort of like a baby dinosaur--to remove the concrete. Then the biggest truck I have ever seen on my street, a two-barreled black tanker pulled up and downloaded dirt into the street. The next day the 'dozer driver began trundling dirt into the yard through the hole that had been made by removing part of the fence. A friend and I watched on Friday and he commented that watching construction was mesmerizing. I found it so. Today they are tamping down the new dirt with a compactor and removing equipment. Peace and quiet will return and perhaps I can blog every day or so again. Writing was not possible last week!

I am glad for the young couple who bought the house two summers ago that they are going forward with their plans. The pool was in disrepair--probably too far gone to repair--and costly to maintain. It had become a "mosquito-breeder" and therefore even more costly to maintain because of the concern about West Nile Virus.

While the pool was being pounded out last week, I found myself thinking about my own memories of that pool. Seven or eight owners have passed through the house during the fifty plus years since it was built. Early on we knew the neighbors because two daughters were classmates in the same school. I remember that we were invited to swim and just to visit and that on one occasion we went over with our new young Keeshond to introduce her to the neighbors. They had a poodle and Frosty and the poodle began chasing around the perimeter of the pool. Frustrated because she wasn't catching the poodle, Frosty cut across the diagonal of the pool. The look on her face as she hit the water was something that I have never seen since and never forgotten. Part shock, part terror and then finally rage. Papa kicked off his shoes and was just about to dive in when we all realized that she was "dog paddling" toward the edge of the pool. Instinct had kicked in and she knew exactly what to do. One furious mass of wet fur was hauled out of the water. On dry land, she proceeded to shake water over all of us to let us know exactly how she felt about being bamboozled. A bath and more shaking followed at home because, of course, we had to get the chlorine out of her fur.

A decade later I was going to graduate school and coming home for the summers. The next neighbors kindly allowed me to use the pool so that I could exercise and keep in shape for my return to Chicago in the Fall.

It was a nice pool and I am glad that I do not have one to contend with in my patio. I figure that at today's prices the cost of removing a swimming pool is probably about the sum that my parents received for the two bedroom, one bath "bungalow" that we lived in in Toledo before we came to California.

Silence. At last. As I have been writing the last truck has pulled away and it is so quiet that it is almost delicious. I will stop clicking and clacking away here and savor it.

No comments: