Monday, May 18, 2009

So close, yet so far

A couple of Sundays ago, Christy and I were working on Indexing projects for the LDS Church.  It's where you look at scanned copies of records in their original handwriting and try to decipher what is on them.   I began working on U.S. Census records, but with my mother as our family genealogist, she encouraged us to begin working on U.K. Land Tax records.

I figured, big deal, this will be easy.  America was principally founded by people from the British Isles, our English language comes from them (but we do drive on opposite sides of the road), so how different--or difficult--could these records be?

Ha!  Much-o difference-o.  Definitely different.  Made me think about how on my Mexican cruise I kept seeing American stores or franchises, yet the Mexican way of life was totally different.  So interesting to me that things can be so similar in a multiplicity of ways, but thinking and ways of life can be so different.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This is the house that Jack built

My view looking directly south from my window.  That canyon on the left, where the mountains dip, is Spanish Fork Canyon.

Some of the twin homes built a few years before our townhouse.  Also look at the flimsy trees just planted in February on our street.  Does anyone know what kind they are?

Living on the second floor of a townhouse in a new subdivision definitely has its perks.  I have an awesome view to the south of the mountains surrounding Spanish Fork Canyon.  I can check how the construction on 400 South is coming along, and before that began I could check the rush hour traffic each day.  It's quiet.  No one really drives down here, and at night you can here crickets and frogs.  Little kids running up and down the street screaming in delight (or anger) can be heard on a regular basis, especially with the increase in warmer weather.  And, something really quite new to me, is the makings of a house.  Or townhouses, to be exact.

While growing up in Bountiful, we had some neighbors move into an empty lot next to us after it had been empty for most of my young childhood.  I still remember the day they came to bulldoze it down.  As kids, we would run around in the alfalfa and long grass, climb and pick peaches from the last of the peach orchard remains, and catch praying mantises and pill bugs.  As the youngest of the Newman clan, I was the only one still fascinated with running around these empty lots.  I remember just wandering around, looking to see if I could find anything of interest to pick up and look at for the day, when I heard a loud rumbling coming down the street.  A bulldozer!  Is it coming to dig up this dirt right here?!  In my mind I knew I was being dramatic, but childhood is so much more fun that way.  However, it really was coming right for that plot of open land.  Run away!  Run for your life!  This was getting exciting, and I didn't want to die by the swoop of a bulldozer!   To this day I'm sure that the guy operating the machine was laughing at a little seven or eight year old girl running out of the lot up to her house, only to sit on the lawn and watch the dirt-digging event unfold.

Well, our neighbors built their home, but unfortunately I never really took note of how they did it.  Part of that could have been due to the fact that our house is on higher ground, and the large cement retaining wall hid much or what was happening.  However, my big chance has come again, and I get to watch them build the townhouses from the start to finish right from my very window--pretty impressive front row seats, I might add.

Each morning, if I'm not already up, I am alerted to the beginning of the day by the sounds of something being hit by something else, or the sound of diesel engines running, or the back of forth of workers in mixed English and Espanol.  Today, as it was my day off, while I was working from my computer and fixing lunch, I would look out the window to watch the mix and pour the cement.  Quite fascinating how many times they go over the stuff to try and smooth it out as much as possible.  And, I am impressed by the aiming and estimation of where and how much cement to pour--you really don't want to make a mistake with that stuff coming down the chute pretty quickly.

Before that I saw them dig the foundations, set up the wooden frames to pour the foundations, take them off, spray them with some black stuff that looks like waterproofing stuff, fill up the foundations (these have no basements), make sure the important pipes are wall marked before they poured the cement, and now the pouring of the cement.  No wonder homes cost so much.   This has been taking weeks to just get this far, and a lot of people are involved.