Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In which I discover life outside The Project


This backyard visitor may be the most exciting thing that happens today. There's still hope, since it's only 8:30 in the morning, but rainy days like this one cause life as we currently know it to screech to a halt.

I think I've either created a false impression that we are constantly busy with The Project, or maybe it's a kind of vicarious fantasy life that my reading friends have conjured for us because of the things I usually write about these days, but allow me to set the record straight: we have no life whatsoever outside The Project as long as it remains a "project" instead of a home. We are in limbo, in purgatory, in-between, and a rainy day like this one makes that abundantly clear. Even after a rain, when the sun is back out and the weather is dry, we still can't do much because where we "do" things is on a construction site where there is only dirt. Dirt becomes ankle-sucking mud after a rain. There is nothing. to. do. I suppose that should make me happy because it gives me a chance to write here, but look: all I'm doing is complaining!

But even as I write those words, I am reminded that we actually are getting a few other things accomplished during these waiting days--things that we had almost given up hope of ever doing. For one, we're having my chair re-upholstered. The current upholstery is showing its 25 years of daily use; the chair needs a face-lift to feel comfortable with whatever sectional sofa we eventually buy for the new great room. Our Deep Creek neighbors came through once again for us, this time with the name of a favorite upholsterer up in Elizabeth City, and we took a picture of ther chair to her last week. We're waiting for an estimate.

Another long-put-off project was the repair of our three antique clocks. Over the years in Virginia they had all stopped working, and because of prices there we despaired of their ever again being more than beautiful but non-functional conversation pieces. (The repair of just the clock pictured in the linked post would have been $300.) Once we got here and started haunting antique stores, we asked the proprietors if they knew of anyone who repaired antique clocks, and always came up empty. So in a spare moment I simply googled "antique clock repair" in eastern North Carolina, and came up with two local shops, one, again in Elizabeth City, and the other on the Outer Banks. I called the E. City guy and he came all the way down here to look at the clocks and give us his estimate. He fixed all three clocks, the one pictured, a companion to that one, and an Emporer grandfather clock, for less than the price of the one clock in Virginia. Repairing the grandfather clock had special meaning because my father had made it from a kit, his first retirement project, back in the 70s. So now we have three lovely clocks ticking away here, keeping (more or less) accurate time. We already know where they will go in the new house.

It's now an hour later than it was when I started here, and guess what? There is something happening today more exciting than the goat visit. We got the estimate on the chair. We're off to Elizabeth City!

15 comments:

Kemp said...

Ralph, The title of the collected letters of Flannery O'Connor is "The Habit of Being." When I'm worrying that I'm not DOING enough, I think about that phrase. It can be a wonderful thing to practice.

Cuidado said...

There is nothing quite like the mud on a construction site.

nan said...

And here I was about to ask you, "what's got your goat?"

Good to see your post, Ralph. From your faithful reader.

Ralph said...

Oooh, Nan--irresistible! Sorry I came up with a happy ending!

Ralph said...

Tell me, Cuidado.

Zoey and Me said...

I hated it when it rained when we were building our house. That mud is impossible to do anything but mess up floors and tile. Makes a mess of our boots too. So we did the same, stayed away from "The Project". Glad to read the goat has found you. Nice neighbors. Ask Kat to ship you down her squirrels and you are Good.to.Go!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that my housewarming gift (a Ky Mountain Goat) arrived alive! Feed him well, make him a nice little straw bed out there in the wooded area and he will protect you forever. No need to send thanks - it was my pleasure.

Ralph said...

Z%M, wish we needed squirrels. We've got more wildlife down here than we can shake a stick at. Wondering how we're going to protect the landscaping from the deer.

Ralph said...

Bev, I should have known, a gift from Kentucky. Thank you!

Ravel said...

Goats don't eat squirrels, unfortunatly. :-)
We"re haiving qui a few ones here, a mom and her 3 little ones. I have fun looking at them but my Pete doesn't really much... Thy have a way of trying many things to eat, make a mess and leave it there...
If we don't have news from you, we'll guess your are stuck in the mud?

Ralph said...

HA! No, Ravel, no news means busy again. The mud is drying quickly in the sunshine that will be with us now for a few days.

I never did mind squirrels but I know many people who don't like them.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

It´s not every day one finds a goat in the back yard :-)

I too have to fix my old chair, there´s almost no fabric left on some places :-)

There´s one thing I have to fix on my old clock too, it doesn´t stop chiming when I wind it up. It chimes for a whole two week period when it starts. I love that sound but perhaps not that much at a time :-)
Have a great Halloween!
Christer.

Ralph said...

Christer, chimes that go on for two weeks?! I think I'd have to move out!

Marchbanks said...

Oh, don't talk to me about the cost of clock repair . . . I've got a cobbled-together (mostly) 1870s Seth Thomas mantel, an 1850-ish ogee Chauncey Jerome that I would SO love to see run again, and a smallish Seth Thomas from about 1900 that I'm keeping for my daughter. And that's not to mention the 1974 Omega chronometer that needs work. It'd probably take a thousand bucks to make everything run again. (I know someone I'd trust to do the work, but as you observe, good clockmakers are hijjus expensive.)

Ralph said...

Marchbanks, since the clocks are that old and you've had them that long, there's obviously no great rush. How about taking them to the guy you trust one at a time just to get the job done? A thousand bucks is a lot of money but at the same time it doesn't sound like that much for the purpose....