Swinging Hammers

I’m in the middle of a visit to my family, who live north of Pittsburgh. I worked out of their home office for a while, anticipating a quiet work time that would be productive. Although the latter occurred the former did not.

Their house is in an area once country that’s slowly being developed. Behind their house, a rooster cock-a-doodle-doos from about 6 a.m. through sunset. When the rooster isn’t stealing the show, I can hear goats. If the breeze is blowing the right way, I smell cows.

The noise I noticed the most, however, was that of construction. My parents live in an almost fully developed neighborhood. Right now, they’re having a deck addition put outside their sliding door where a patio formerly stood. Across the cul-de-sac, there’s construction going on. Down the street, a house build is in the beginning stages. Just the other day, I took my dog to walk down and watch the concrete boom pump fill the foundation with concrete. Up the street, another house is further along. The few empty lots remaining are temporarily housing construction equipment that the little boys of the neighborhood adore.

Like I said, there’s been little peace and quiet. Distracting though it might be, it’s also a sound of hope for the housing sector.

People are building. People are adding onto houses. I’ve even seen quite a few properties with For Sale signs in the front yard and a little sign hanging under it that says “Sold.”

The U.S. Census Bureau and HUD reported in April housing starts were improving. Earlier this year, the National Association of Realtors reported a gain in home sales.

Sure, these numbers are small and it’s easy to get caught up in the thinking of the numbers being so small they’re inconsequential gains. I see it differently. When I was young and would piece puzzles together with my grandmother, she would tell me “Every little piece counts.” Every gain, no matter how small or large, is a step in the right direction. As I sit on the front porch serenaded by the sounds of swinging hammers and heavy machinery, I can’t help but think we’re crawling out of the dark hole of the past few years.

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