On to the demolition and dust...for the past 6 1/2 years, we have been planning on remodelling the back of the house. Currently, we have a very small kitchen and several rooms that, while functional (in the milder months), are not overly pleasant or temperate. (The two very small radiators just can't compete with the size or lack of insulation.) So at long last, we have an actual date for the demolition/renovation to begin. But before the contractor can come and start, we have a lot of work to do ourselves. The most important of the projects was to make a second access point to the basement. The basement stairs will be part of the renovation project, and since the laundry and soon the kitchen will be down there it is important to be able to get down there. Constructing the stairs first involved demolishing a small bathroom which was built in the landing of what used to be ther servants' entrance. This demolition was done on the 23rd, so Christmas Eve and Christmas were a little dustier than they might have been. We also had to keep guests from unknowingly using the bathroom that no longer existed...and walking off into space instead. (The first two pictures, taken from above, show the old bathroom as it existed, useless bathtub and all. -- The following pictures show the new stairs, which come up through what had been the wall and bathtub, from below. Note that you can see the part of the exterior door that was at one time the servants' entrance. -- The plan is to finish the space a bit more, but it is now a functional stair to the basement!)
Progress has been made. We now have stairs, and are well on the way to having a temporary kitchen set-up. I'm thankful that we will still have a functioning kitchen, but it will be a constant battle to keep up my spirits while cooking down there. It is an unfinished basement...during winter...when it's dark.... But, I keep telling myself that I will appreciate the new kitchen (and the heat in the kitchen and the counterspace) so much more. We still have a lot to do, but packing boxes for storage and moving kitchen gear downstairs seems pretty easy compared to what has already happened.
And to continue with my Pollyanna state of mind...it's probably a very good thing that we aren't travelling to Vietnam in theses early weeks of January. I'm not sure how we would have accomplished all we needed to...both to get the house ready and to pack. On that note, please continue to pray for the provincial officials to complete the paperwork. At the rate things are moving it seems that bringing K. home before his 2nd birthday at the end of March is looking more and more unlikely.