• Stephanie Hammond

9 days of stress???

We’ve been in our new house for 16 months and over that time the driveway has deteriorated to the extent that it badly needed to be replaced. We share our driveway with our neighbours whose house is behind ours. Replacing the driveway meant that not only would none of us be able to drive on it, the family behind us couldn’t walk on it either. And that meant that they would be housebound for a period of time until the new concrete was firm enough to at least walk on.

I worried about them. At first we thought that the work would be completed while the mother and their two daughters were away on holiday. That meant that it would only be the father who would be inconvenienced. He’s a night worker and he sleeps during the day. So not only would it be difficult for him to get in or out of his house at night, he would have to deal with the noise of the equipment and men working during the day while he slept.

They started on the Wednesday - a whole week before the holiday makers were due home, so I relaxed on their account and just felt concern for the man of the house, especially as they had their radio loudly playing - golden oldies, so I wasn’t disturbed by that.

Although we reminded him to get both cars out, our neighbour only took one out - the one he used to get to and from work. The first day, the day of the concrete being broken up and taken away, he slept at a friend’s house.

The next day the tail end of a cyclone hit, dumping so much rain that no work was carried out that day - or the Friday - the ground needed to dry out. The team would be back either Monday or Wednesday - Tuesday was our national holiday and no work would be carried out.

I tried to be calm and not distressed. Now the concrete wouldn’t be dry enough to walk on when the holiday makers returned home. And the mud that our night worker had to walk through to get in and out was horrendous. Fortunately we had some paving stones and we laid them out in a nicely spaced way so he could walk on them instead.

We heard on the weekend that the team would come on Monday - the sun was out and brought joy with it! Yay!!

Monday the bobcat came back, levelled the driveway and spread the sand base. Someone worked out the fall of the water and installed a gully trap to catch the storm water off the finished driveway. The second car was able to be driven out and now all our cars were on the road.

Tuesday, rest day, no work.

Wednesday the team came and boxed up the edges to get that ready for concreting. Early in the morning, our neighbour slipped out after an hour’s sleep to pick his family up from the airport - a five hour round trip.

By the time they arrived home the boxing was done and a large car trailer was blocking most of the width of the driveway. Suitcases had to be shuffled past and soon the little family were home and in their house, all resting up. There was to be no school the next day for the girls. A rest day for them, grocery shopping for mum.

We were told that the concrete truck would arrive and start pouring at 6.30 am on the Thursday morning. We told all our neighbours who might be affected by the noise and set our alarm for 5.45 to give us time to have breakfast before they arrived. Just as the alarm went off we heard voices outside our bedroom window. The crew had arrived to do their final preparations before the concrete truck arrived. Radio was turned on, instructions called from one end of the driveway to the other, lots of laughter (such a happy crew!) and so the work proceeded.

Before the concrete was all laid, part of the neighbour’s shopping was done and when she finished her shopping, the concrete was dry enough at the rear of our place for her to bring her groceries through our house to her place.

Whew! A stressful week - for me! Not for anyone else, though. The concrete crew worked well together and got the work done in four days! Over nine days, true, but in four days! That’s five days of stressful worrying about how this would affect my neighbours and all for what? NOTHING!! They were excited to see the work getting done at last. Sure they had to wriggle a bit, and got a little dirty, and the cars are still on the road - another 9 days before we can park in the garages.

Everything turns out for the best - always! I know this, But during this short time of just over a week, I forgot!

I’ll probably forget it in the future. Today, I’ll write it in my heart:

Everything always turns out, even if it seems it won’t, always!

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