August 2014 – Noisy Neighbor No More

Who’s no longer the noise-making nuisance of a neighbor on our block?

This guy is (2 thumbs on both sides of my head), that’s who. Why you ask? Well, there’s a riddle behind the answer. What takes 12 weeks to birth, fills the world with constant sound while simultaneously draining your savings account? Give up? Nope, not our temporarily adopted dog (more on this later). Nope. Not our oldest son who is the newest addition to the pre-teen club (more on this in a subsequent post), but rather our brand spanking new back porch!

12-14 weeks ago it started with the delivery of our 5th bathroom and most threatening time-out spot for our kids to date. Just kidding, DSS. Gorgeous green exterior and interior. Skylights, Proper venting.  Environmentally-sensitive toilet paper.   The saddest part of the new addition to our driveway was the rejection on my 14-year old car’s sad grill when it realized it was relegated to outdoor living.  Replaced by a crapper.  Ironic given the car, I suppose.

From there we progressed through many stages:

  • Stage 1: The “early bird-gets-the-worm” stage – think rental tractor companies delivering tractors at 6am
  • Stage 2: The “not-to-be-outdone” stage, the cement company topped that with 5:15am delivery of concrete
  • Stage 3: The “apologies and false promises” stage – Us to our neighbors:  “I can’t believe they showed up at that time either, we are so sorry. The good news is this work should only last 4-6 more weeks.”  The neighbors think I left out the 1 in front of those numbers.
  • Stage 4: The “time-to-set-some-rules-for-the-contractors” stage,  come-to-Jesus time with our contractor and his contractors.
  • Stage 5: The “holy-crap-they-are-tearing-apart-everything stage” – the front yard, the driveway, and of course the actual part of the house that was intended to be torn up, the backyard have never looked worse.
  • Stage 6: The “I-wish-we-read-the-contract-more-closely-stage”- what do you mean we aren’t getting sod with this contract?
  • Stage 7: The “I-give-in-stage” – this was the longest stage. No sign of a finished product, the yard has never looked worse, workers are at our home more than we were so why worry about any other parts of our home. Oddly a somewhat freeing stage.  Sadly, not exactly a reason I shouldn’t have mowed my front-yard more often…
  • Stage 8: The “I-freaking-love-it” or “our contractor is an absolute genius” stage. Once the end is near and you see the way this project is turning out you start to really appreciate what has been done. The memory of the pain fades and the contentment of living again without this mess returns. Unfortunately this likely doesn’t happen for our neighbors as fast as it does for us.

So what did we have done? This:  

Basically we ripped off our back porch and built one twice the size with stone, slate flooring, a fireplace and a small outdoor kitchen space. The space is wicked cool. Relaxing, cool, comfortable and inviting.  I plan to spend a great deal of my next many years out there.  Stop by and enjoy it with us. We are proud of it.  If you are in the Charlotte metro area and looking for a rock solid contractor we’d highly recommend Ferrara Buist.  Ask for Vincent as your project managers.  Here are some pictures of the work over time.

Come in the next few weeks and you might even get a glimpse of what life is like in the Sutton household with a dog. You read it right.  We are dog-sitting a sweet 11-year old lab-beagle mix named Mocha.  Sweet, yet super-sheddy.  House animals need some kind of anti-shed treatment.  I’m not kidding, I feel like I have had a hair in the back of my throat since she arrived.  But she is sweet, and Stewart and Charlie do love her so.  Will, like his Dad, is warming up slowly.  Or maybe also like his Dad is trying hard not to commit and end up with a broken heart.

Here’s a selfie Charlie took with Miss Mocha.