Monday, September 28, 2009

Still in limbo, still busy


Here's a picture of what the house looks like today. The most recent additions are the roof shingles and all the doors and windows. Inside, plumbing and duct work are being installed, and the electrical rough-in should be done by Friday.

It used to be that when our September vacation was over, that signaled, essentially, the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one. It was a throwback to the school calendar mind-set, I guess. Maybe next year it will feel that way again, but for now, in this limbo state, I don't feel as though I'm on some sort of threshold, except for the very long one before us as we wait for our new home to be finished. Another analogy: it feels like my old Peace Corps job, at the change of presidential administrations. While we waited for the new political appointees to be installed at the top, all initiatives and pending projects came to a standstill. We couldn't do anything until the new folks, charged by the president with new initiatives based on his platform, had a chance to review what was currently in process. I'm in the land of in-between, treading water with work that needs to be done but doesn't represent anything new, just maintenance. I know how to live here but I don't like it very much.

The routine we established in early July continues. Early every morning we make the 25-mile drive up to the property and take up chores that still need to be done while the house is a-building. The clearing is mostly finished, at least until the winter, when the water recedes dramatically from the beach front and we can actually walk there and do some much-needed clearing. What has been cleared must be maintained, which is done with a combination of mowing, weed-whacking, and herbicides. (There is a very aggressive, thorny vine called greenbrier that can only be controlled with chemicals. If you cut it down, it simply pops back up, in multiples of what you cut down. The irony of naming this noxious weed after the luxurious, palace-sized resort in West Virginia is not lost on me.) Steve continues work on the garden shed, now putting shingles on the roof. A big job ahead, this week and next, will be dealing with firewood: we had a couple of very large trees taken down and cut into logs, which we will now split into pieces for the fireplace. Steve will split with the gas-powered log-splitter loaned to us by the guy who cut down the trees, while I stack. And these are only temporary stacks. They'll be moved when the construction project is finally over and we can grade and landscape the land immediately adjacent to the house. When that's done, we can determine the spot that is most convenient to the fireplace, and move it all there. Oh, there's no dearth of things to keep us busy.

So busy, of course, that I am still unable to transcribe my jottings here with any regularity, much to my continuing regret. I am still not complaining about the work. I just wish there were more hours in the day so that I had the two or three I need to do this well. But I don't, so there we are. I'll try to check in again in less time than it took me to get here today.

13 comments:

Jeff said...

Ralph - the house looks fantastic! You'll have many many years to enjoy it - this physical struggle will just be a fraction of a story that you'll be writing for a long long time to come...

Enjoy the Transition - isn't that what it's about?:)

- J.

nan said...

Ditto -- what Jeff said!

Ralph said...

Jeff and Nan: it's been a damn long transition, but yes, that's what it's about, and I'm really, really not complaining. Just regretful that I can't play here more. I really enjoy this interaction and I miss it.

Cuidado said...

The construction has gone along very well and everything looks really fantastic all nestled into the trees like it is. I love trees and lots of them.

Was dying to hear about your vacation. Was it great and did you get beach time?

Ralph said...

Cuidado, vacation was wonderful in its "other-worldly" way. This time last week I was sitting on the beach looking at a dazzling sky, enjoying the most perfect temperatures and breezes, swimming in the ocean, with friends we see once a year at the same time. When I get back to "reality" that rare, annual experience seems like another planet. We really couldn't do it for a much longer span of time than a week, because we overeat, overdrink, overplay--over everything. It's total self-indulgence with laughs galore, and by the end of it, I am utterly spent. But what a way to go.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Your house looks fantastic! How great to live there for all comming years!

It isn´t especially fun to stack fire wood! I have done it enough now I feel, so nowdays I buy fire logs instead :-) So much easier for a lazy man like me :-)

Have a great day now!
Christer.

Ralph said...

Thank you, Christer. We're pretty excited at how the place is shaping up. I can't say that stacking wood is a favorite thing to do for us, either, but with all the good trees that we've had to cut down, we couldn't imagine just having them ground down to dust, or taken away to someone else. We'll have so much of it, we should never have to buy firewood again!

Zoey and Me said...

Pretty house. What type of windows did you choose, I like the size of them. This looks like "Little Red Riding Hood's" grandma's house already. Keep your eyes peeled for the big bad wolf.

Ralph said...

We've been calling it "the cottage," Z&M. They're Pella windows. We like the size, too. Wish we'd thought of putting two of them above the garage, but we'll survive....

Zoey and Me said...

Great choice. Wished we had chosen them for this house here when we were building. We got side tracked into thinking 3 ply for Hurricane strength was the way to go but unfortunately they look ugly to me and I wished we had gone with a Pella window. That was my first choice. The sub contractor talked me out of it.

Ralph said...

$$$$ makes the world go 'round....

Paula said...

What an adventure-of-a-lifetime. I'm catching up on your blog posts and feel like I am vicariously uprooting and transitioning with you. (My recent transition has not been nearly as life-altering.)And you still have time for Lexulous! Beautiful house and I know from your more recent posts that progress has been made.

Ralph said...

Paula, thanks for checking in and picking up the thread. The secret to my playing Lexulous is that during this "adventure" we literally have no life at all if we are not at the property or doing things for it. When I'm "off" I'm completely off, with time for things like Lexulous (but usually not, unfortunately, the mindset required to write anything meaningful).