Once the foundation had been poured and settled, the platform to realizing our dream was set in stone, or in this case concrete. We had already spent many days and nights admiring that slab, the kids rode their scooters on it and played in the puddles after it rained. For Steph and I it often served as a grand patio where we set up our lawn chairs and looked out at our land and daydreamed. At night we would watch the fireflies dance in the tall grass and crane our necks to stare at the stars. It was blissful and nurturing to our souls. The Grand Patio however was a mere chapter in a thick book of experiences to come. When the day came that our builder David Lemieux arrived on site we shifted our focus from the slab to the progressive frame work that would define our home. It was an exciting time. When the first load of wood arrived we knew we were in business. I was eager to get started and lend a hand but quickly learned that at this stage I was best to stand back and stay out of the way. David and his brother Alex were accustomed to working together and did so efficiently as a pair. My time to help out would come later on. Besides, I still had dozens of 2×10’s to sand and stain with Stephanie.
It didn’t’ take long for that first wall to go up. They assembled it on the floor, 2×6 studded walls with exterior clad insulation was lifted all at once using a portable hoist and hand crank. We were very fortunate to be able to witness this crucial step it was really the first milestone in the birth of our home. One by one the walls were raised until we had four walls we could call the first floor. The blue isoclad exterior insulation framed us in and offered a first look at the layout, with the holes cut out for the windows and doors and a clear blue sky canopy overhead, the sun shining down on us, what we felt was bliss. Steph couldn’t resist playing house and pretending the placement of the furniture, the colors of the walls and walking from one end to the other to “feel” the flow of energy. The boys ran in and out playing various games while Steph and I studied the plans to memory, assuring we wouldn’t miss any important step in between.
With the exception of a day of thunderstorms and downpour, work went ahead as scheduled and before we knew it they were installing the floor joists for the second floor. In the living room David took our enormous 96 stained 2×10’s and created a beautiful beamed ceiling that would catch the eye of our friends and family for years to come. It was one of the exceptional features we loved about our home in progress.
To get to the second floor we had to climb an extended ladder that had been fixed in place temporarily in our future stairwell. When we climbed up for the first time we were blown away by the view. Not only could we see beautiful mixed forest in all directions, we had a magnificent view of Mount Orford and the ski slopes which descended them. There was no snow in July of course, but it didn’t take much imagination to picture skiers carving down the mountain face. The second floor offered a further view of what was to come. Thinking back, I have to say that this particular stage of the construction was the most memorable for me. It was the peak in our optimistic views, our infectious positivity and financial stability. I remember this as the time when we had finally let go of the turbulent past and while heartedly embracing the future. We felt unstoppable and that all could be achieved despite any obstacle that may lay in our path. Like the slab before, we saw the unfinished floor of the second level like a platform of a veranda amongst the trees. The times we weren’t working, you could always find us lounging on the plywood floor taking a coffee, a glass of wine or even a lunch time picnic. It was a massive observation deck which held us up high connecting us to the heavens above. At night, after supper we would watch the sunset and then name the constellations when it got dark and count the shooting stars as they streaked across the night sky.
There wasn’t an ounce of worry or negative preoccupation, it was a blissful state that we were so lucky to have experienced, i’m realizing that many spend a lifetime without. Steph and I would grab the sleeping bags and pillows from our camper and carry them up the ladder to the second floor. We spent countless hours laying there talking about the life we wanted and were sure to achieve. When I find myself grappling with various struggles whether they be related to the construction or not, I try to revisit this period of time in my life to gain clarity through the fog. I will be forever grateful for that experience.