When I was a kid, I loved getting scrapes, because scrapes meant scabs – and scabs meant hours of fun. My mother would admonish me not to pick at them, but I couldn’t help it. I would wait as long as I could, until I was sure the scab could be lifted in one translucent piece without tearing the skin at the margins.
It’s probably a good thing I enjoyed this process, because my elementary school years were spent pretty banged up – scrapes on my shins and knees and elbows from rollerskating, bicycling, tree-climbing, and soccer.
A scab forms while new tissue grows beneath it. The new tissue is a scar, sometimes a permanent one. While a scab is important to the healing process, you can’t keep it forever.
Sometimes, you just have to rip off that scab. And if you’re very very lucky, it involves a crane.
The last damaged portion of the house – the roof and truss system – came off this week in spectacular fashion. The workers cut the roof in 10 or 15-foot sections, then lifted off the sections – shingles, decking, trusses, everything – and put them in the front yard. One of the sections was so charred and fragile that it crumbled and fell into the house. No one was hurt, but it punched a hole in the kitchen subfloor.
For the first time since June, the house was full of light. As I walked through the skeletons of rooms, the sunshine washed over every surface, melting any residual bad feelings associated with the house. It was, finally, a New Thing. Not a shell, not something blackened and damaged, but a clean slate. New skin. A scar. A scar that smells of fresh lumber.
We are approaching the halfway point. Yesterday marked 11 weeks since the fire, and we probably have 12 weeks of reconstruction to go. Knock on wood, the contractor seems to be moving right on schedule. Seminole Trusses had the new trusses in place on the same day as the old ones were removed.
I wondered if it would bother me to see the house torn apart from the outside, in a way that was visible to passing cars and pedestrians. After the fire, people would stop and stare at the house, and it made me self-conscious. I could feel their pity all the way from the sidewalk, and I didn’t want it. However, seeing the roof come off was actually quite cathartic and refreshing. It was more like opening the sunroof on the first nice day of spring. On a much larger scale.
We could not be happier with the work being done by our contractor, Brian Will at New South Homes. Despite a trip to the emergency room after crushing his finger yesterday, he remains cheerful and patient with us and the insurance company.