Feb 13, 2009

Neighbours go free

Best thing about renos is change orders. You know, the classic moments of "why don't we move this here" inspirations that are so hard to do once a place is Done and you live there. In the past 24 hours of the big garage-to-rental-suite project, we've decided on a traditional hot-water tank instead of an on-demand system (too much electric load for our panel), a storage shed tacked onto the side of the garage, a grey-water system for the sinks and shower instead of everything going into our non-functional septic field, and a triangle window in the corner of the shower.

To get that triangle window, plus one pane of the great old door we got from a salvage place, I called Dobson Glass in downtown Duncan. "When do you need it?" asked Luke. "Well, sooner than later, but no big rush," I calmly replied. "Well then, I can do it before I leave tonight. When do you want it?" Kinda like in France, when they'll only speak English to you if you try your highschool French first, things seem to get done faster when you don't push your urgency on people.

Now's when I got clever. "Actually, are you the guy who's my neighbour over here at Koksilah and Bench? I see the truck in the driveway all the time." "Oh, that's my dad," says Earl. One hour later, Roger rolled up the driveway with my two pieces of glass. The triangle required a few more custom trims, giving him the excuse to look inside the garage and see the property he'd always wondered about and never visited. He pointed out the flat spot where the old highway used to run through our property, across the creek that divides us, and up his backyard to behind the school (explaining why we were a good location for the original community library and Methodist church).

We shared a laugh about the stereotypical busybody cityslickers who start complaining and trying to reorganize the countryside the moment they arrive here. I promised not to be one of those. I guess he believed me, because 20 minutes later when we'd finished gabbing and I asked if I could call in to pay up tomorrow, he just waved his hand and said, "Don't worry about it - neighbours!"

I wasn't in my britches, but I was in very very dirty purple jeans (my Incredible Hulk look) and jean jacket and hat that I've been wearing for 3 week straight since this reno started. Wasn't chomping on hay either, but as I wandered off to put the chickens away I felt fully the rural farmer role, and basked in the high compliment he left me with - "neighbour."

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