Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stagnation Nation

I'm writing this because I'm having a lot of feelings about our house and I have to put them somewhere. I think it might make me feel better.

The key feeling is frustration. But maybe something more -- something in the vein of unhappiness. And the source of these feelings is my back yard. Not the yard itself, exactly, because the space has a lot of potential. What is frustrating me is my inability to get the yard project moving.

One thing you learn when you embark on almost any house project is that elements of a house are often deeply intertwined with other elements of a house, and things have to be done in a certain order. Or you open up one project only to find you've opened up a Pandora's box of other projects. You go to buy a garage door and suddenly you realize the material on that door has to match the material on the side door of the garage, and that material, it turns out, has to match the material in the entryway, and now you're suddenly replacing $10,000 in stupid doors. This is the issue with our yard.

Before I get into the succession of changes that we don't seem to have any ability to make and why, let me just show you the thing that drives me the most crazy. Here it is:
This is dirt. It's what I stand in when I stand in my yard.

So, getting rid of dirt is easy, right? The answer is beautiful, creative landscaping. However, landscaping must be done in a certain order. You start with the hard-scaping -- the decks, the pathways, the fountains, whatever -- and then you do the plants. 

For our hard-scaping, we knew we wanted a new deck off the back of the house.  What we have right now is just sort of a cement slab -- though I've always kind of like how it curves. 

So, here's where things get tricky. We had an idea that we would merge these two glass doors. It drives Jim crazy that the tops of the doors don't sit on the same plane. The bottoms don't either, and the reason is that the rooms they lead to have floors at two different heights. Our living room is somewhat sunken. Only by about four inches, and for no particular reason except that the front of the house is an addition that was made in the 60s.

The decision to merge the doors brought us on a bit of an odyssey. We had a contractor to do the job, but he wouldn't do it without plans drawn up by an architect. I talked to friends who were architects, and none of them had any interest in a job this small. I won't bore you with the back-and-forth of finding and losing architects and engineers, but suffice it to say years have passed and the doors are not merged, and the deck is not built.

I actuallky started this post months ago, and though I published it just today, I don't really have more to say about it. Instead, I'll let the pictures from that moment tell the story of my frustration about the yard. Here they are: