Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"I been standin' on a rock......" (thanks to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils).....or, spoiled....a one-man-operation....and "how's the house coming?"

Spoiled.......the two guys who hung the sheet rock could have been stars of their own mini-series. One was as hyper as a buzz saw, an admitted video war game addict and probably slept about fifteen minutes a night. The other guy was as steady and deliberate as a priest at the communion rail and was a boxer and boxing coach in his spare time. Together, they were one mean sheet rocking machine and I pity anyone who tried to get in their way while they were hoisting, hollering, slinging, slapping and nailing those suckers in. I thought, "now we're talking......this is the way it's going to happen from now on." More than one person has said, "Once the sheet rock goes up, things really begin to happen." That spoiled me. I just didn't understand that "sheet rock going up" meant the buzz saw boys leaving and a one-man-operation coming in afterwards to put on the tape, the mud, sand the walls and put metal strips on the bottom. I'm not complaining, you understand, I just never seem to ask enough questions and get the vernacular in my head.

A one-man-operation.....I'm beginning to get the picture....this guy must be an artist, must prefer to work alone, and is probably constantly inspired as he gazes out the window at the various waterfowl and creatures of nature gathering at the river while he tapes, muds and sands. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

This sheet rock production seems like it has gone on forever....(and I'll try to get some pictures of it tomorrow or the next day)....but is making me happy every time I visit. The lines of the house look so much more sharp and defined now.....and combined with the whiteness of the walls, your eyes are almost forced to follow those lines to each window and what lies beyond. It's very dramatic and very fulfilling....because the view out of each opening is both dramatic and fulfilling. And I'm pretty sure that's exactly what that one-man-operation is feeling too. That takes time.

"How's the house coming?"....(I got side-tracked and a little carried away, just then.) I was going to say that during this lengthier phase of the operation, I continue to enjoy the people who ask, "how's the house coming?". I really do. I don't anticipate many more "happenings" of this caliber for the rest of my life, and I am constantly amazed at the folks who know about this project, who seem to genuinely care enough to ask, and also seem to know how much this house means to me. It makes me feel very wealthy on every level each time I am asked. Thank you.

I did manage to take a few pictures last week to send to a friend who wondered, "can you see the house now from the river?"...."can you see the house from the road?"....."how long is driveway going to be?"...."what kind of path do you have to the river from the house?"....."how do you get your kayak down to the river?".

The future driveway taken from the non-river side of the house. (You can't see the main road from the house....and you can't see the house from the main road.)
Taken from the not-so-steep, switchback path to the river.
Taken from halfway down the steep path down to the river.
Standin' on a front of the house looking down river.
Standin' on a front of the house looking up river.
Standin' on a rock...... looking up at the house.....contemplating dragging the kayak back up the steep or not-so-steep path to the house.

And, as the Ozark Mountain Daredevils also say, "better get back to the country, look around and find you a home....."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I knew I was having some fun lately......

I knew I was having some fun lately, but I actually had to refer to the invoices to see just how much fun I was having....and with whom. Jason's outstanding photographs (and how about that flikr, eh?) tell the story of what's been going on, but there's a whole lot more, according to the invoices, that doesn't show up in the pictures but that sure has made my life interesting these days.

I've become a "hand" in this project. I'm not terribly smart or fast, nor do I have the ability to "pick things up quickly".....I'm unfamiliar with most of the terminology, nearly all of the tools and have had no life experience to prepare me for a day on this job....but I'm heavily invested, totally interested and will drop most anything to see that this house gets built.

My part usually begins with a visit to the house site where something needs to be done before the next thing can happen.....or with a phone call from Michael or Jason to pick up or deliver materials or paperwork. Some of these excursions have been to Lowe's to get bits of lumber, insulation stuff, hardware.....a shop vacuuming session at the house to clean out the external wall channels in preparation for the insulation.....a trip to Air Gas for a spool of wire....a drive to Brookline to pay the insulation installers....getting a lien waiver signed from the portable toilet folks....a call to the propane man to see about installing and servicing the tank....trips to the bank to take invoices for the next draw on the construction loan....a conversation with a Missouri Conservation representative about options for the ground between the house and the river.....a visit to CV Glass to deliver the checks and lien wavers for the door and windows.....a morning spent spraying "Great Stuff" into the spaces that needed filling and clearing out the house of all that had accumulated (chairs, coolers, water bottles, tools, trash, buckets) before the sheet rock hangers arrive.....several trips up to the church on the hill and back (where I can get cell phone service) to get questions answered for the sheet rock guys....and several (yet to be completed) moments scraping excess insulation off of the underbelly of the containers.

Most of that activity can be gleaned from the growing stack of invoices and from now having the most elegant glass front door to walk through....or from feeling the differences the insulation has made in the temperature and overall comfort inside the containers....or by the cedar backing strips that Michael is beginning to install on the porch walls....or by the holes that have been dug and are now being filled with concrete to anchor the storage/carport container...or by how awesome the sheet rock makes the inside AND the outside look by defining the walls and windows and skylights....or by the plans being made for the cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen.

What cannot be gleaned from looking at the invoices and from appreciating the progress that is being made on a daily basis, is the human factor. Each and every person I have encountered and dealt with from the very beginning of this project has been efficient, honest, talented, reliable, energetic and genuinely interested in the house and proud of their own participation and workmanship. That's pretty amazing.

Maybe I should flip through those invoices again and consider trading my position as the "world's oldest living truant officer" for a career as a full time "hand".

It was about 3:00p.m. on Friday when I stopped by Superior Interiors to pay for the work the sheet rock hangers had done.....(by the way, is "sheet rock" one word, or two?)......and the boss and two young men were getting into their van and just leaving for a float trip on the Current River. He took the check and said he would be out there the next morning (SATURDAY!!) to start taping and putting the mud on the walls.

I knew I was having some fun lately.