Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Before The Fall, I hadn't spent a ton of time doing what my brother does. Dave started in the construction business while he was still in high school. From drywall finisher to running that business to eventually managing the construction of hospitals. Sure, I did a little drywall work with him (which I hated) and put in a good number of hours helping him build his house (which I liked) but I never did it for a living. 

Still, one thing that the last two years of working with him has given me is an appreciation for the potential of things. Knowing that the bare patch of ground in front of you is going to be someone's home, built by your design and with your own hands, is pretty awesome. I got those feel-good vibes this morning as we walked the area where the expansion is going to be built. 

Mind you, we did it with and armed guard that took the occasional zombie down, but that only slightly marred the experience for us. I don't know where they came from, but there's been a sizable influx of old school zombies pelting New Haven for the last day. 

So, guard in tow, we took a walk. The expansion is going to be big. Dave has been toying with the layout for a long time, and I saw a lot of spray-painted rectangles and squares on the ground where he'd begun marking off where things would go. One major advantage in being able to build a huge section of new housing from scratch is that you can design the thing to every specification you want. For example, the center of the expansion is a large building meant to house the living and office spaces of the council and other folks who run New Haven. It will have its own wall, enough space to hold a few hundred people in an emergency, and will be topped with a watchtower. 

Also, there will be plumbing. I haven't been brave enough to ask Dave how that's going to work, but he assures me there will be running water aplenty. If he's figured out a way to have flush toilets, I'm going to name a kid after him. 

While the majority of the expansion is just in the planning stages, work has actually begun on the new wall. Or at least on the trench that will become the new wall. The soil around here is heavy with clay, and since that's such an abundant resource, Dave has some people digging a series of concentric trenches around where the new wall will be. The material being excavated will be shaped and baked into large bricks, which will eventually be the foundation and structure of the wall. 

So far, just holes in the ground. But holes with potential, damn it!

The work is going to go slowly for a long while. We're saving the fuel for the heavy machinery until we absolutely need it, so it's hand tools for the people working. Lot of folks are putting in an hour here and there in addition to the small crew of dedicated workers under Dave's direction. Slowly, we'll get there. Once we can entice more people to join us, the expansion should begin to grow at a good pace. 

As we walked along I listened to Dave excitedly explaining his ideas to me, and I couldn't help but smile. My brother has always been that way about his work--calculated, efficient, but with undertones of the child he had been. The one who loved building blocks for all the permutations they could be shaped into. 

I smiled with him, and realized that not only would we be building something from nothing, but also something new. Not a repurposed building from before The Fall, or a wall made of old materials. The expansion will be something born of the adversity we face, created by us in an era with no easy solutions. That's a hell of a thing. It makes me proud. Proud for what we've achieved, and for the willingness of our people to manage greater things. 

No comments:

Post a Comment