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Staying in the [Construction] Zone

Welcome, September! My street has been under construction ALL SUMMER LONG. I am eager for the project to be finished so that we will have a lovely sidewalk and bike lane and smooth road surface and upgraded sewer and gas lines (all such wonderful things), and also I am eager for an end to this constant and severe level of noise, house-shaking vibration, dust, fumes, and the uncertainty of where we can park our vehicles each day and whether/how we can enter or exit our street at all. It's been so bad that some of the neighbors, including folks with disabilities or advanced ages, have resorted to evacuating their homes.

This is the "moat" we have to leap to leave or get back home each day.

I always try very hard to make the best of things and roll with the stuff I can't control--like the weather and other issues that have dragged out this construction work past the first day of school. The work has been starting at about 7:00 a.m., seven days a week, prompting me to get up very early to write (before the house starts shaking and rattling hard enough to scramble my heartbeat). And it's been a source of educational entertainment for my daughter and her friends.

But to be honest, it's been rough. In terms of creativity alone, there's good ambient sound, and there's toxic noise. And this stuff doesn't sound anything like a coffee shop.

It's been disruptive to my family's life in many ways. Most importantly, there is no safe or reliable way for us to get our daughter to and from school. Walking to school is more like "climbing" through the various hazards of a construction site, getting covered in mud and having to jaywalk because the crosswalk light is disabled. Trying to navigate a motor vehicle through the mess is even more difficult and probably no safer. Buses cannot access our street at all.

Still, we got our daughter to the first two days of school before she came down with a nasty upper respiratory infection, no doubt exacerbated by all the crud she's been forced to breathe lately. As I type this, she is napping off a fever while I run a HEPA filter air purifier in a house with windows and doors sealed tight against the lovely, mild, late-summer day that has been spoiled, like all others this month, with concrete dust and heavy diesel exhaust.

My lovely, sweet little first grader has been trying to create a peaceful environment in the living room, where I write and she plays, by "tidying up" and building meditative plush toy towers that look like playful totem poles.

I keep reminding myself that it will all be over soon, and construction work on this scale probably won't ever happen again on my street, even if we stay here the rest of our lives. You gotta break some driveways to make a non-motorized route infrastructure or whatever.

And I am proud to say that I put about 9,000 words into my manuscript during August, which is no NaNoWriMo victory, but considering the "zone" I've been writing in this summer, it's not too shabby.

Just like my street, my novel's progress depends not just upon hard work but also perseverance and patience through unforeseen and irremovable obstacles.



  1. Wow! This is what I have to look forward to eventually as we recently passed a millage so we could have local streets repaired. Don't know when the work will be scheduled but will be glad to have decent roads! I don't think ours will be as extensive as yours. Congratulations on the progress you made! Here's to smooth roads in the hopefully near future.

    1. Thanks so much, and I hope the work on your road goes better! (Or that you have a vacation home where you can escape like some of my neighbors... Yeah, that would be nice too!) ;)


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