For the better part of a year, the view from my kitchen has been a porta potty, a dumpster and a messy construction site. While I don’t blame the new neighbors who bought the house across the street and are making substantial improvements, it just happens to be my luck that I am living in a construction zone.
It’s a common phenomenon in Northern California and other areas where there’s no bare land left in the most desirable neighborhoods – those with good schools and close to jobs. Here, it makes sense to buy an older home and either raze it to build a new house, or make significant upgrades to it. So most people experience construction on their streets at one time or another, and many themselves have undertaken remodeling projects. We appreciate that our neighbors’ upgrades are likely to benefit our own property values, and we accept construction as inevitable, especially when long-time owners sell their homes to young families.
Even though neighbors of a home under construction don’t suffer the stress that owners experience with unforeseen difficulties and delays, we endure “construction spillover” that grates on one’s nerves nonetheless. So for example, my quiet cul-de-sac has become chaotic, especially since a home farther down the block recently completed a two-year renovation. Tranquility has been overtaken by trucks, jackhammers, roofing hammers, contractors hollering to each other, table saws in the yard, musica ranchera on the radio, or rock hits on 107.7 “The Bone.”
There has been a steady stream of workers, although very few dogs – I’m thankful there aren’t more subs with pit bulls on this job. While some days are noisy and others less so, the thing that plagues me most is the increased volume of traffic on our street. Although the owners have tried to get workers to park in front of their house, there are simply too many vehicles to fit over there. On many days, it seems that laborers with the oldest, dirtiest trucks like to park directly in front of my home. Inevitably, guys return to their vehicles to eat lunch or make phone calls, and I get to pick up stray napkins and food wrappers after they’re gone for the day. [Read more…]