Sharing Something I Love With My Son

I’ve always thought that the construction of new houses is pretty cool.  Crystal over at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff is putting a series together on their new house, which is currently under construction.  It’s pretty awesome.

Don’t ask me why I like it so much.  I just always have, ever since my parents had their house built in 1989 when I was just 14 years old.  I just liked walking through, watching the progress, and enjoying the transformation from nothing plus a bunch of materials to equal a space for people to live and call home.

Now, I am hoping to share that with my three year old boy.

Our neighborhood is about fifteen years old so there hasn’t been much opportunity to see houses being built on a day to day basis.

Until this year.

When we moved into the neighborhood in 2007, the very first house in was in pretty rough shape.  It was pretty obvious the owners had neglected it and it wasn’t a great presentation of our neighborhood since it was pretty much the first house you saw.

I work a mile, due west, from our neighborhood.  It’s a mile ‘as the crow flies’ but it is really about a two and a half mile drive. Still, a month or so after we moved in, I happened to look out the window and saw a pretty big cloud of smoke.  I figured maybe there was a car fire from a nearby freeway.

Turns out it was a house fire.  The house had somehow caught fire and suffered pretty extensively.  When it was all said and done, a good portion of the roof had burned away, most of the garage was burned out (I’m guessing the fire originated there or caught something there), and the rest of the house suffered extensive smoke and water damage.  It was immediately condemned.

I don’t know if the fire was ruled accidental or what, but I did hear that the family was in the process of being foreclosed upon, so even after they moved out, they lost what was left anyways.

After about nine months, the house was demolished and the ‘hole’ filled back in.

I found out from our homeowners association that a local ‘small-time’ building company purchased the empty lot from the bank, with the intention of putting a cheap house on the property and turning over for a small property.

Turns out, they weren’t allowed to do that.  There are restrictions on what type and what size of house can be built, as well as what materials can be used.  Our neighborhood isn’t prestigious, but it’s a nice looking neighborhood, and as soon as the association caught wind of what was planned, they put the hammer down and made sure that the house that the builder was planning on building wasn’t built.

The building company put the lot back on the market, for over twice what they’d paid for it.  By that point, the real estate market had descended into free fall, so it sat ‘For Sale’ for years.

Finally, the housing market started showing signs of recovery, and it was in early spring of this year when a ‘Sold’ sticker appeared on the sign.

A couple of months ago, I started seeing some activity around the lot indicating that they might be looking to build.  They marked off all the utilities, they did some surveying, and sure enough, a couple of weeks ago they put in some temporary fencing around the perimeter of the property.  Not long after that, they staked out where a new house would go and the new basement was dug soon after.

I decided to make it a thing to take my son to the construction site every day (or as close as we can).  He loves trucks and books about construction, and I know his dream come true would be to have his own personal fleet of earth moving equipment, but I digress.  In any case, he was excited when I brought up the idea.  The first day we just looked at the empty hole.  I explained that they were putting a new house there and that the hole was for the basement, which was the first step.  We walked around the hole, I let him throw a couple pebbles in, and explained that there would be a house here.  He’s excited about it and now he asks to go look at it.

I’m excited to share that with him.  We’ll likely get to see and walk through the site for the framing and rough utility portion.  At a certain point, I expect they’ll lock the place up so that we won’t be able to walk the inside, but we can still peek in through the windows.  In any case, I think it’ll be a fun few months to watch the progress of the new house being constructed.  I can’t wait!

14 thoughts on “Sharing Something I Love With My Son”

    • Well, as I said, it’s not our house so I don’t think I’ll go as far as taking pictures. It will eventually stink when they get to the point where they lock the house up, but I think it’ll be getting into colder weather by then, so that might be OK.

  1. He will love the process. When my son was about 3, we spent a summer watching the street get dug up and pipes replaced. We followed the action down the street with a chair (for me) lunch and his construction helmet. The workers learned his name and he was encouraged to sit on the machinery and eat his lunch each day. He still talks about it at 23!

    • I’ve always gone into houses under construction and never thought twice about it. At a certain point, they’ll throw locks on the doors, in which case you’re obviously done walking through the interior.

  2. These experiences are important for you and your son. This is when you use the time to talk whether about what you see or something else. This builds the relationship. Children learn about what you show them and what you share with them.

    • Very true. I always try to show him what’s been done since last time, and give him a sneak peek of what will be happening next.

  3. Sounds like a ton of fun. It’s always incredible to me how long it takes to start framing, but then how quickly the structure goes up once the framing begins.

    • That will be fun. I can tell he’s somewhat impressed now, mostly because of the big piles of dirt that they dug up, but I think it’ll really be cool when the framing happens. We’ll be out of town a couple of times this month so I’m thinking some of that might occur while we’re out, in which case it’ll be a big ‘wow’ when he sees the progress.

    • Years. That’s a long time to wait. They seem to be moving pretty quickly here, though I’m not impressed with some of the work I’m seeing from those doing the foundation (cracks and such)

      • There’s a house where the land was cleared three years ago. A foundation was put in two years ago. They didn’t start building anything else until the beginning of this summer. The frame went up pretty quickly, but it’s not quite done yet, and i haven’t seen any progress in at least a month.
        On the other hand, there’s this lot that’s been empty (and for sale) for years. Now, it’s been a couple of months since we last walked the dogs that way, but a couple of months ago, it was still an empty piece of land. I walked by two nights ago and it’s a complete house with a landscaped front yard and fenced in back yard.

  4. That sounds like a really fun thing to do with a kid, very informative and interesting too. I love seeing houses during construction or remodelling, it’s amazing how it all comes together. 🙂

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