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Concrete Evidence

Hubby and I added on to our house three times. It only took twenty years.

And we still speak to each other.

This is because we divided up the toolbox into two halves and respected each other’s territories.

I am the guy in charge of “destruction” and he is the guy in charge of “putting it all back together in the shape of a house”.

When we moved two years ago, we put the last details into place for escrow: the floor rails, some window blinds, refinished a little hardwood flooring.

It was as “completed” a project as I’ve ever been involved with. Hubby did most of it himself, the perfectionist engineer “learn as you go” type, and I supervised while keeping the kids from tetanus-inducing scenarios and cooking from the garage when necessary.

It was good times.

I only had one requirement when we shopped for another home.

“I’m never doing that again. Find a house that is DONE.”


It’s not that the time or the money or the skills were sold along with our old house, it’s that the wild enthusiasm of my crazy youth has mellowed into a place that whispers, “Nailed it. I can put the hammer down now.”

“We built a house,” it pleads, “Can we just live in it, for crying out loud?”

“We could,” Hubby reminds me, “if you would stop taking it apart.”

I do have mad skills with a sledgehammer, but I don’t have to keep busting out concrete patios to prove it.

No. I’ve graduated.

What you do next is what our elderly neighbor, Nuke, did.

He was a retired backhoe operator. He watched me wield Thor’s hammer like a boss, lounging over the fence with an iced tea, and when I finished, had a question for me.

“So. How are you getting rid of all that concrete?”

Hubby was going to rent a dumpster.

Instead, Nuke talked him into renting a small backhoe (which, coincidentally, took out the front yard concrete in a fraction of the time my sledgehammer required….welcome to my world).

Nuke carefully dug a giant hole in the middle of our backyard and filled it with all of the broken concrete. He moved all the dirt back into place and -presto!- all gone.

Nuke got to relive his glory days, someone else paid for it, and so far as you or anyone else on the planet knows, this never happened.

Until the next owners want a built in pool.

We know nothing. You know nothing.

Really though, putting a hammer in my hand is dangerous, and the fewer witnesses to my mayhem, the longer my calm as a cucumber reputation will keep.

The day I started taking out our original garage (we turned our garage into house twice…on the same house) I discovered something that some other, far-in-the-distant-past owner had hidden away on the property.

I was tearing apart everything in sight when a huge pile of girly magazines came tumbling out of a hidden recess in the wall.

I believe my exact words were, “Heavens to Betsy!”

I re-hid them in the bottom of the rubbish bin, disgusted on more than one level.

Why don’t people hide gold doubloons or wads of hundred dollar bills for me to find?

Maybe they do, they just remember where they hid it.

That would never be me.

A few years from now, the current owner of our old house will discover my so-safe-I-don’t-even-know-where-I-put-it mad money spot.

Then he’ll use it to put in a fancy new pool.

And you and I will be unavailable for comment.

Published inLiving Larger


  1. Becky

    Ha ha! Funny….except I live in a condo razed to the slab after the 94 earthquake and rebuilt as fast as the cheapest contractor could do it, taking the HOAs insurance money and running! Literally, out of business within months.
    So I know about those hidden chunks of concrete! They call it back-fill. I call it my concrete-lined ‘flower beds’with about 2 inches of soil! Looked real nice until I tried to put a spade in it! Not even a weed could get a root going! 🙂

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