Sunday, October 10, 2004


Things were a hive of activity around the house this summer. We undertook lots of home improvements that were long overdue and now essential to get done before the winter arrives. The noise levels were horrendous and there were days when I just wanted to run away.

My16 year old step son and his friends were in the TV room “ha-ha-ha” and “no-no-no” and “yeah-yeah-yeah” and “woah-woah-woah” and “censored-censored-censored” and “what?-what?-what?”-ing over some video game that I had a strong urge to throw a hand grenade at. The sound effects on this thing were so realistic, that when the first shot went off, I all but dived under my desk to avoid injury. These boys are loud, they don’t require natural light to function and if you stand still for too long next to them, they will eventually stretch out, pick you up, put you in their mouths and eat you ~ because they DON’T STOP EATING!

As if what was going on inside the house was not enough fun, we were installing new decks at both the front and back of the house. A few people told us that these deck builders are amazing. They come in, rip the old one out and in a day, maybe two, put up the new one. The whole deck thing is a fun and new concept to us South Africans. We have things called patios, and verandahs, and “stoeps”.
While working at my desk one day, the entire house started shaking. Seriously! I actually said out loud “what the fuck is going on here?” It was truly that bad. I really thought that my house was having its own private earthquake. I ventured upstairs to discover a handsome, topless, young man pounding away at the concrete paving outside my front door with a jackhammer.
It’s a darn noisy piece of equipment a jackhammer so short of leaping out the front door topless, there was no way I was going to get his attention through calling him. I thought for a while that if the deck company were going to start building the decks, they might call a day ahead and let us know. Clearly this was not the case but from the noise, one had no choice but to sit back and let them build.

We were then interrupted by lots of rainy days and the whole deck building exercise turned in a protracted period of banging, clanging, digging, filling, hammering, shouting and lots of bare backed, tanned six packs, glistening tattoos summer extravaganza.
I found myself glancing round doorways and peering out windows feeling like I was starring in the ads where up tight office women stand and drool over road workers or window cleaners tonguing their cans of soda wishing it was the road worker.

The rain finally stopped long enough for the men to throw themselves into their work, and finally, the deck was born. The hammering stopped, the hip hop blaring out the shitty speaker in the garage stopped, and the game in the TV room stopped!
I stepped out on to the new deck and felt like a real grown up when I saw how beautifully our home had been enhanced. For the first time in three years, all outside areas of my home were accessible to me. The steps were built to accommodate my ability to climb them and the front of the house is accessible by having raised the entrance to the height of the front door. This is a real treat and it is amazing how much pleasure I get from being able to chat to my neighbor at the front door. This is a luxury I have not been able to do in three years.
Thank you to the team of six packs!