Friday, September 2, 2011

Chapter 2-2: Picking Up the Pieces

                The construction started with a meeting with a local architect. Shane had to travel down to city hall, taking time off work for the job he just started. Definitely not a good way to make an excellent impression.

                “Yeah? What can I do for you,” greeted a gruff man sitting behind a utilitarian desk.

                “We had a fire and the fire department ruled the structure unsafe. So I need an entire rebuild.”
                “Whatcha lookin’ for,” the man replied.
                “Excuse me?”
                “You know; big, small, modern, contempo, underground?”
                “Yeah, we got some whack jobs that wanna live below ground. Worried about meteors or somethin’.”
                “Um, no, no underground, thanks.”
                “So, whatcha lookin’ for then?”

                Shane started to feel a little uncomfortable with this man. His body language and appearance did not lend a sense of professionalism or expertise and Shane wasn’t sure that he wanted to use this architect.
                “Never mind. I think I’ll have to think it over a bit,” Shane told him.
                “Look, I knows whatchoo thinkin’. I’m no good at this, can’t trust me to build. Don’t worry bout it. Happens all the time. Look, see all those folders back there? Yeah, my workload. I’m pretty damn good at my job and people know it. I draw up the plans, I execute them. Where else you gonna get that hands on with someone else?”
                Shane contemplated a minute. Obviously, if this man was working inside City Hall, he couldn’t be bad. And his calendar, from what Shane could see on the desk, did look pretty full. And, he really couldn’t afford a hotel or let Tanner sleep outside. What choice did he have?

                “Okay. Let’s get started.”
                “Whoa, whoa. I never said I’d do it. Just that you’d want me.”

                “What do you mean, you won’t do it?”
                “Never said I wouldn’t.  It just ain’t good to make assumptions kid. So, whaddaya want?”
                “A house,” Shane finally exclaimed loudly.

                The man chuckled. “I’m Bob. I’ll draw you some sketches and bring em round. We’ll start work once you decide.”

                The first thing the company did was rent a dumpster and trash every piece of furniture in the now condemned shack. Shane had been raised in that house and, up until now, so had Tanner. Rebecca had started her new life and legacy here and now, what she had worked so hard for, was being gutted and tossed aside.

2 weeks later, the new house was starting to look improved on. There was a foundation, mostly anyway, and the framework had started to go up. Meanwhile, Shane and Tanner were living in a tiny shack behind the house, resting in sleeping bags and using the port-a-potties the construction crew left on site.

Shane felt lucky that he had been smart enough to buy a safe after the recent burglaries around town and had out the more expensive or cherished things in it, such as his mother’s books and the other books she had bought, plus some of his memorabilia from high school. Other than that, they had almost nothing though Tanner had been delighted when they had discovered both Mr. Thistle and his teddy bear had somehow survived.

                Another 2 weeks by. Shane and Tanner were still living in their little shack. Shane went over to the house to see how things were coming along. He could finally make out individual rooms and where windows and doors would go. He headed to work, starting to feel like things were finally coming together enough that he could relax a bit.

                As he was leaving work, he got a beep, indicating his calendar was reminding him of something. Tanner’s birthday was today. “How could I have forgotten,” Shane wondered to himself. He couldn’t believe it. Quickly, he dialed Carrie’s number.

                “Carrie, I have a huge favor,” he said.
                “What do you need,” she asked.
                “Tanner’s birthday is today and I completely forgot about it.”
                “Stop worrying so much. We’ll rent out the park and invite some of his friends from school.”
                “You know I can’t help it. I’m neurotic, remember,” he reminded her, though already starting to feel better with her coming to his aid.

                They headed promptly to the town center to set up for the party. Then as Tanner chatted with his friends, Carrie challenged Shane to a friendly yet brutal game of chess.
                “C,mon, any genius should see that my queen was going to take that,” Carrie taunted as she knocked his knight out of the way, a little too hard, sending it to the ground.
                “Hmm, except now I have you where I want you,” he chuckled as his rook came out of nowhere, capturing her queen.
                ‘Damn, “ she said, laughing. Competitive as she was, she still had the ability to enjoy herself when she was losing.

                Unbeknownst to them, Tanner was off making plans of his own.
                “Summer, let’s say to celebrate my official transition to teenager, we go egg some houses,” he whispered to her.
                “Sure! Go blow out your candles and make a wish so your brother can call the party a success and go home,” she encouraged.

                He blew out his candles and ate cake with his brother and Carrie. Shane could see that he was going to have to keep an eye out on him because, not only was his brother rebellious, he also seemed to be quite charismatic. That seemed to be a dangerous combination!

After the cake, Shane decided to head home. He was exhausted from the long days at work and the stress from trying to get the house built was not helping.

                Tanner, on the other hand, hurriedly was off to create some mischief. He had told his brother that he would be home so he ‘headed home’. He just made a stop along the way. Hopefully, no one was home. “Actually, I hope someone IS home! Try to catch me,” Tanner thought to himself. A few minutes later, he got his wish.

                “What the HELL do you think you are doing,” the man shouted.
                “Take that,” Shane exclaimed, throwing one more egg and darting away. This teenage stuff might actually be quite fun.

                Later that week, as Shane was getting ready to leave for work, he got a phone call from Bob.
                “Hey Bob, how’s it going? The house is looking great.”
                “Yeah, what I’m callin’ ‘bout actually,” Bob replied.
                “When is your crew coming back to finish the work,” Shane asked.
                “Well, once we done installed that plumbing, the account funds were running low,” Bob explained.
                “What??? How can it be running low?”
                “Well, Mr. Avendale, buildin’ a house’s expensive. We can’t do no more work till we get more funds. We’ll keep the plans filed away though.”
                “Yeah, thanks Bob. I’ll follow up with you later.”

                Shane was distracted at work all day. He had already had the shack and port-a-potties taken done and returned to the construction company. Luckily, as Bob had said, the main bathroom was done. That was it though. The windows hadn’t all been put in, neither had the doors. The interior walls were basic studs and plaster. There was no kitchen, no beds, no furnishings other than the bathroom.

Granted, Shane had chosen an extremely nice design for the bathroom. In fact, he had chosen a nice design for the entire house. He hoped it would be finished in his lifetime. He wanted something that would be classic and stay with the house as his children grew up in it, whenever that would be.

He guessed that they would just have to go back to the sleeping bags until he got a promotion at work and could afford to continue on the project.

Chapter 2.1                                                                                                                                             Chapter 2.3


  1. Oh wow this has to of been rough on poor Shane! I wonder if his mom will ever come back?

  2. The house is coming along nicely. Hopefully it will be finished soon. I love the neutral colors in the bathroom!