Yesterday was great. At one point or another during the day, we had on-site the architect, the contractor, the electrician, the plumber, the roofer, and, we found out today, the city inspector. Things definitely seem to be moving along. We found out that the stucco is going to be significantly less expensive than originally estimated, and due to an accident of order-shipment timing, it looks like we're going to get nicer windows than we thought for the same price.

Already this week we learned that the roofer was essentially replacing, rather than repairing, the roof over our living room which was pretty damaged from rains (mostly two winters ago). The plumber had made some other improvements under the house while working on the new drain pipe. All going very well. Today the exterior walls got the first layer. See the pic below. (Or the photo timeline.)


Then this morning happened. We heard the usual sounds as work got underway, then at some point we noticed that some of the noise was from chain-saws next door. Short version: the owner (he doesn't live there) of the house next to us cut down three huge trees, clearing his backyard.

I'll confess we've thought at times that the bigger two of these trees needed to be trimmed back. But we never would've wanted this. These trees had a huge affect on the feel of our backyard. What yesterday felt like a clearing in the trees now feels open and exposed. The trees provided shade to most of our yard for large parts of the day. Now the sun beats down.

And it's not just outside that you can feel it. With more direct sunlight streaming in the window and beating on our dark roof, the inside of our house was noticeably hotter by this afternoon. I can't say empirically how much hotter, but I think 3-5 degrees hotter is not an unreasonable guess, and might be low.

I'm speaking mostly of the affect on our property, but of course the effect on the neighbor's yard and house must be similar.

There are now two places along the fence with that neighbor that offer straight lines of sight to the neighboring backyard and house. Privacy is greatly compromised. I think we can address this problem, at least, but it will mean waiting until the room addition is done and working with our landscaping guy to come up with ideas on how to regain some of this privacy.

It doesn't help that the tree-cutting left trimmings in our yard that we were left to clean up. I'm no good at estimating height, much less tree ages (I should have snuck over to count rings), but I can say that the biggest of these trees was at least as high as a three-story building, and another one was probably two stories high.

The most frustrating part is this: there's nothing to be done. I could complain or argue with the neighbor, but the only thing I could accomplish there is make him unhappy with us. No good could come of that; he's talking about doing more work this summer to 'clean up' the place. Even a cordial communication of a neighborly sort wouldn't be able to accomplish much. Fact is, though I think it was a TERRIBLE idea to cut them all down, the trees were on his property, so he's technically under no obligation to give a whit about my opinion. And finally, of course, even if somehow the owner were to realize what a bad idea it was, it's not like he can put the trees back up again. What's done is done.

I'm hoping we'll feel better about it as some time passes and we figure out what changes we're going to want to make. (The window facing that direction has never had a curtain, and never needed it, but by the end of the day today we tacked up a sheet to keep out the direct sunlight.)

Fortunately, we have good things to focus our energies on. The addition itself is going very well, and, of course, even better, the addition to our family is coming along very well, indeed.