In a New York Minute

One of my favorite songs by Don Henley that title is. It’s happened to us all. One minute life seems to be normal, or at least void of dramatics, and the next, it’s off the charts full of drama. Sometimes the changes are dramatic in our mental state, sometimes physical, sometimes both. Sometimes the changes are instantly seen for the better, sometimes it takes time and sometimes the positive in the changes are never recognized.

There were some big changes here at the Dee compound this week, seen by us as good. The old house is gone. Nothing left but a few items yet to be hauled off for either recycling or unfortunately a landfill. We pondered for a bit the way to get rid of it. Should it be slow and meticulous or swift and decisive. We chose the latter and called in for an air strike. A pair of F-35’s flew up from Truax Field in Madison, we gave them the coordinates for the place and in less than an hour from placing the call, this was all that was left.

Now, wouldn’t that be cool if it were true? It looks like that is what happened, that description came courtesy of my brother after seeing what was left. The truth is much closer to the first scenario is really much closer to the truth. Starting about a month ago, one of our neighbors, along with his brother, went in and removed a lot of the tongue and groove paneling that was in the home. It was rustic, but also beautiful. 8″ wide fir, stained a deep honey color. If I had the time and energy, I would have liked to removed it and taken it to the repurposing store in Calumet, or tried to sell it. None, the less, it was saved and will be used again, which is the good thing. 

The interior was stripped of other things, like the framing lumber from the interior walls. The metal roofing was also salvaged and will be used for roofing on an outbuilding up in the Traprock Valley. As mentioned in a previous entry, the large picture windows put in just 2 years ago have found their way into the new house and the old windows as well as things like the asphalt shingles underneath the metal roof were hauled away. Basically anything that would not burn completely was hauled off to one place or another.

Then late in the work day on Thursday they took the bucket to the one end of the roof and the entire place came down like a house of cards. I feel pretty vindicated, as one of the main reasons why I did not want Nora, Grace and I living in it any longer than we had to was because I did not feel it was the safest of houses because of the lack of framing in the exterior walls. Most folks I mentioned that fact to said the same thing, “Well, it’s held up for over 50 years, so it should be good”. I had a hard time agreeing with that and watching the bucket of the mini-excavator barely put pressure on the ridge and the whole house collapse confirmed my suspicions. 

To be fair to the house, the gable end wall was removed, so that was a definite loss of structure, but I am pretty sure if you did the same thing to a modern-era home, it would not come down like that. Most likely the roof framing would go before all the exterior walls folded. I was in Houghton with Grace when all this happened and we did not get home until after dark, so I did not get a good look at the place until the next morning and this is what I saw. The crew had basically stopped when it came down the afternoon before and then returned on Friday to beat the clock in hauling things that were not slated for burning before the road restrictions went up for the season. They had already temporarily gone up around two weeks ago and then came down when things got cold again. 

They were able to beat the clock and got things hauled off with the help of the dump truck in this pic and a dump trailer. Then it was time to strike a match and let the little that was left to burn down to the crawlspace. There are still a few items to be hauled away and the right hand side of the house did have a slab foundation and that will need to be broken up and pushed into the crawl space before topsoil is added this spring.

There were no mixed emotions for me and surprisingly none from the girls either. Nora put it best by saying that we had not been living in the home for around 5 months and really did not go into much since moving out, so it was already kind of out of mind. I can say that I am glad it is gone and the view of the new home from the road is really nice, as is the view of the road from the new home! Both of which I will have to share with you when all the equipment is not parked around the old home’s site.

The new place is coming along nicely. The electrician finished up with the rough-in early in the week and then the construction crew got busy hanging drywall on the ceilings so that when the spray foam insulating crew showed up on Thursday, things would be ready for them. They met that deadline, the spray foam crew got around 1/3rd of the place done on Thursday, so Friday, the construction crew got some of the drywall on the walls hung and by the end of the day on Friday, we had a few rooms that were completely done with the drywall hanging.

I have not been over there yet today, but I believe the spray foam guys are done spraying and are cleaning up. I have not seen any of the construction crew working outside, so I suspect that they are inside hanging drywall and I also know the furnace is being hooked up. The propane tank was moved and filled today, so when the furnace is ready to go, they can start heating the house. The garage doors should be coming soon and once installed, they will be able to start heating that too. 

In the weather department, early spring has sprung up here. That does not mean we are in the midst of a major meltdown or anything like that. In fact, it is snowing today and it looks like we could have some meaningful snow by the end of the week, into the weekend and early next week. What I mean by “early spring” is that we are starting to get those sunny and warmer days that happen in early spring. They are so welcomed up here, it’s hard to describe. The sun feels so good and lights up the snowpack so beautifully. It makes for some nice afternoon walking conditions, as well as clears the road of snow quite handily where the sun can get to it. 

On Saturday the girls and I took a trip north to Copper Harbor to watch the sled dog teams come in from the second leg of the race. It was a great day for the spectators, but might have been warmer than the dogs would have preferred, although not too warm. To tell the truth, we did not stick around for all the teams to come in. The race’s website said that the teams would start coming in around 11 am and we were there shortly after, but it took until around noon for the first two teams to run into town an pass under the finish line. So, we left after that second team, as a brisk wind had developed off the lake and nipped at our exposed ears and faces.

So while the weather has taken on an early spring mode, we still have plenty of snow on the ground and more on the way. In fact, after the storm early last week, I had to go dig the satellite dish out to get better reception. If the snows later this week through early next week arrive as indicated, then that dig out job will need to be repeated for sure! Funny how we get into March and all of the sudden the pattern becomes favorable for snow up here and across much of the northern Midwest! Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes!

I guess that gets you caught up for this week. I have plans to ride for the first time this season this coming Saturday. Yep, can you believe it, it will be March 11th and I will be taking my first ride! Well, I think I have some legit excuses with the house being built, me working on the shop and cabinets for the office and the usual day to day things. Plus I like to be home when my sweeties get back in the afternoon. So it will be nice to get out Saturday and ride and I’m sure I will have some pics to share.

Good Night from the Keweenaw..