Digging in the dirt (or, The plumbers, the permits and getting in too deep)

Digging in the dirt (or, The plumbers, the permits and getting in too deep)

The building that will house Union was built in 1892. This creates all kinds of problems—and certainly explains the dirt floors in the basement—but I am still in love with the space. It just has a good feeling about it. At least I keep telling myself that it does, because I am in so damn deep now.

How deep? So deep that I am digging the dirt in the basement myself, then hauling it up the stairs, so I can get a concrete floor down there for a prep station and sinks and dry storage and a walk-in fridge.

So deep that I had to actively keep my impatience in check when the contractor bailed, only to take another job up north. (“It’ll take only a couple weeks,” he said. “Don’t worry, we’ll get it done.”) The carpenter who was meant to cover him disappeared, turning up a week and a half later. (Turns out he went sailing—he strolled in, tanned and smiling, just as my cousin, my brother, Bill Mahoney and I were chucking the last load of crap, car seats, wet drywall and more rubble from the basement in the rain.)

So deep that I got a shot of terror when the new (and more expensive) contractors sighed heavily as they walked through the place.

So deep that when I was driving to the farm and saw a help-wanted sign in a nice roadside Tim Hortons, I considered for a brief moment how simple everything would be if I just walked in and applied.

I have a constant, sinking feeling that everything is slipping away—the hemlock floors are ready, but there is nowhere to put them because we are waiting for the plumber and the permits. It’s a puzzle; one piece follows another. It’s a game that gets me up at five every morning. It’s a loud voice that tells me it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.