house building

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Wally’s Door

Posted by on 19 Mar 2017 | Tagged as: critters, Gardens and Life, house building

When we last had critters that were not kept in small glass habitats, I was pretty much either a stay-at-home mom, a student, or a substitute teacher with limited days away from home. I knew, when we were rebuilding, that I would eventually want a critter and secretly plotted to have a home that would be a good place for a dog even if both Tom and I were away from home for significant periods.

Last week, the fence went in. Today, Tom and Grant put in Wally’s door. We (I, actually) chose an “Enduraflap” door from According to Tom, the door was moderately difficult to install, but with Grant’s experience in construction, and Tom’s experience with reading all sorts of schematics, they were done (start to finish) in about three hours. Thanks to our neighbor who helped with cutting the sheet metal (he has a plasma torch) for the “tunnel” that goes through the wall. As soon as we have the bottom of the fence secured by cement blocks and some sort of substrate that is not MUD, Wally will have free reign of the house when Tom and I are gone. The door looks AMAZING both inside and out. This was the last major part of the house that needed doing (other than painting which may happen this summer…). I feel MUCH better about being home now.

Pictures some day when it’s sunny again, and everything is done. I am so happy that Wally will soon have a more dog-friendly environment. We ALL need this!

Grant’s senior project

Posted by on 24 Jun 2016 | Tagged as: children, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

How did I manage to NOT post this in May 2014? It is rather badly overgrown now, but the patio is one of my favorite places to sit and read, or work, this time of year.

Grant had to shift gears mid-year about his senior project. He came up with a really great idea: fix up the front yard that got trashed this last year from neglect and construction.

Fish pond and lilacs, after weeding but before planting new annuals.

Fish pond and lilacs, after weeding but before planting new annuals.

He has “roped in” a couple of friends occasionally to help — Thanks Mady, Gabe, Jake and Tabitha!

Here is the progress he has made so far, pics are a little rough, but I am trying to get caught up on blogging this weekend and no time for a lot of fine-tuning.

I am actually going to post these in a gallery, with no commentary to save myself time and actually get this up (started it yesterday, here 24 hours later sitting down to finish…).

I didn’t finish the post then, either. And now I cannot find where the pictures are that I took… so this will have to be enough for now.

Too quiet (delayed post from June 2014)

Posted by on 15 Feb 2016 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, house building, housefire, Uncategorized

I have been “silent” for many months, working very hard at school and just trying to keep ahead of the work. I love my students, and spend most of my energy on them during the school year. It’s hard to keep that “work-life” balance sometimes. But as things calm down and become more predictable I find small moments when I have both time and energy again.

Here is a musing from quite a while back:

When the house is clean
And the kitchen is tidied
The outside beckons

Too late the weeding
the mowing
the tending
the sowing

Too late the gentle breeze
before the storm

The children are gone
from my arms
from my time

We built and built again
a home

And alone
I work quietly

Wait for a reason
To put joy
on the walls
in the halls
for the

[originally written 23 June 2014, mid-afternoon]

I stopped writing the poem at that point — what did I have in mind? We had only moved “home” about three weeks earlier. I was again temporarily jobless and simultaneously trying to find the “must have” items from the boxes that had come from the apartment, the “cleaners” and the storage locker; while sorting out the items that I wished I could keep but were no longer worth keeping even for sentimental value. I was trying to find and reestablish the garden again after more than a year “away” — so much doesn’t get done when you don’t live on site! I was trying to make some decorating decisions which I quickly gave up — no money even if I had the heart. Tom was working full-time, Grant was working full-time, Matthew lived elsewhere. I was ALL ALONE. No companions of any kind except my grief and longing.

I still deal with the feelings of loss, I still am absolutely, devastatedly, achingly lonely when I am at home with no one around, no one to care for. I have a precious few hours with Tom each week, usually on the weekends; fewer with Grant who very much wants to earn enough and save up enough to leave home. The rest of the time, if I am home, I am alone.

And this loss — the loss of security and home, the loss of heritage in the artifacts that perished outright or turned out too badly damaged to keep — this loss is relatively small compared to the losses we witness daily around the world.

It’s part of the human condition, it hurts, and it does not abate. Yes, there is still joy, and yes, I look forward to each new day and the seasons that are changing. But like many types of grief, this one is now an enduring, permanent feature of my life. I treasure moments with the people I love more now, I think, than I used to — always with a sense of longing as I remember that these moments do not last.

As I finish this post on February 15, 2016, the little waq’waq’ is singing by the fish pond. A casserole is in the oven, Tom’s pumpkin pie is cooling on the counter, his bread in other oven perfuming the air. Grant will be home in a few hours and will sit with us and watch a little TV before I give in to my sleep schedule and leave the two “menfolk” to hang out for a little while longer. Life IS good. There is much to look forward to.

Hanging on to each precious moment with the people I love.

What we’ve been up to…

Posted by on 05 Jul 2015 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Uncategorized, weather

Mostly going through boxes from the fire (two years ago), and boxes from the storage locker (almost a year). Watering — a LOT because of the intensely high, unseasonal heat (90s in the shade — the kind of weather that would be normal for about four days in August). Gardening — Tom has been getting the rest of the veggie garden dug out. Working in the classroom to sort and toss as needed (cannot finish organizing until the floors are done being shampooed).

And putting up a few more items that have been waiting for the right hardware, moment and place.

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Posted by on 25 Dec 2014 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, house building, housework, Uncategorized

Tom and Grant got the shelf OFF my desk and ONTO the wall this evening!

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Posted by on 23 Dec 2014 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, house building, Uncategorized

I am trying, during my two-week (16 days!) break this year to get ahead on a few household tasks as well as spend some time just doing the artsy-craftsy-teachery things I enjoy. The teacher-tasks are waiting until Thursday afternoon, when I will enjoy sitting down while watching football or movies and going through scope and sequence for the rest of the grading period. The artsy-craftsy tasks are mostly waiting until I have my office in better shape.

The house is already cleaner and better organized than it has been since just after we moved in. I keep hoping for that “Open House” but now I think it is going to wait until Spring break… It’s all “baby steps” for now while I try to finish the last organizational and decorating tasks and wait for the funds for additional enhancements.

Here is something Grant helped me put up today:

A gift from Mother (one of two limited-edition ornaments) this year.

A gift from Mother (one of two limited-edition ornaments) this year.

This is a “completed” task (but need to clean the windows properly before taking more pics).

Here is a “before” shot of the desk in my office/studio. At the time of writing, the surface is clear, but the shelving isn’t yet properly mounted. This is one of several tasks I have been needing to attend to for several months, and one that is finally going to get done!

The desk is three feet deep and five feet wide.  The surface in this picture is covered in months of additions waiting for their homes.  Some of them belong on the shelves that are about to be mounted above, others will go in files in the cabinet to the left.  The small set of drawers and the sewing machine under the window have already been moved out, increasing the floor space by over 8 square feet!

The desk is three feet deep and five feet wide. The surface in this picture is covered in months of additions waiting for their homes. Some of them belong on the shelves that are about to be mounted above, others will go in files in the cabinet to the left. The small set of drawers and the sewing machine under the window have already been moved out, increasing the floor space by over 8 square feet!

The house is definitely looking lived-in… now the trick is going to be getting the last remnants of construction and the last bits of demolition debris removed before Spring. Planting time is coming soon and the ground is not yet prepared. I will be putting some bulbs in pots this week, and the rest…

There is always another season, another year, another project. Here’s to seeing what 2015 will bring!


Posted by on 14 Sep 2014 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, house building, housefire, loss, Uncategorized

A year and a half ago this evening, I was planning the pizza party for the class that had “most improved” in behavior and academics; and deciding to have cookies and juice for the other classes, who had been working very hard as well.

Tomorrow will be the 18 month anniversary of the last day of that grading period, the day that I entered in all the data I had and started making comments in the evening so parents would know how their kids were doing in school. That was a Friday. I was so looking forward to the weekend, to the following two weeks (right before spring break). The weather was lovely and we were able to take Lucky out nearly every evening for a walk. I had plans for the garden, for the house, for figuring out where I was going after the break (when my long-term sub position would end).

I liked my home, my cluttered corner where I planned lessons, read books and watched TV. I loved my purple and yellow and green bedroom with the basketry light fixture over the four-poster bed and the walls of books…

I loved the times we spent cooking in the cramped kitchen, eating at the linoleum-topped table, playing games.

I walked the gardens daily. I knew the plants, the animals, the sunrises and sunsets. Predictable, but ever-changing.

On Thursday, it will be a year and a half since all of that was taken from us, the bright Monday afternoon that home was lost and we learned the true meaning of neighborliness and friendship. A year and a half since we ended up in a hotel without a clean change of clothes, or toothpaste or even a hairbrush. A year and a half … that feels sometimes like yesterday and sometimes like a completely different world.

We have been back on the land, in a new house, since the first of June.

I still sometimes feel out of place, not sure where I am.

I don’t yet walk the gardens daily, too many things perished while we were gone.

I don’t yet have a handle on everything that is lost, because there are still boxes to go through. Every box holds memories…

Every memory I have to let go because the papers or fabrics are too damaged (and toxic) to keep hurts. It goes slowly.

And yet, a year and a half of new memories are already built. The picture of Grant and his girlfriend’s senior prom is clipped to my lampshade next to my new corner where I plan lessons, read books and watch TV, and think about maybe tidying up someday…

Once again, Tom cooks in the kitchen, this time a more spacious and workable space, with a separate area for the table where we eat and play games.

This autumn we will plant bulbs, tubers and corms in the back yard, reclaiming the ground that was damaged by construction for a pleasant view that doesn’t need mowing.

This winter, we will sit in front of the fireplace when it rains (or snows), something brand new for us.

And in another nine months, we will have been back almost as long as we were away, and I hope we will finally feel home again.

For now, the memories still invade at inopportune moments, and I have to catch myself and figure on which side of the memory I stand…

This loss hasn’t been the hardest we have faced, but it has been very difficult. Recovering from something like this … never easy. But recover we do, and every day a little more falls into place. Every day, the new memories are stronger and the painful memories are easier to bear.

Bedroom and Office spaces

Posted by on 22 Jun 2014 | Tagged as: Family Matters, good things, house building, Uncategorized

We are getting things put in place. I spent most of the last couple days on either the bedroom/closets or my office. We also tidied up the great room/kitchen a bit more. Here is an update.

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Posted by on 30 May 2014 | Tagged as: celebrations, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Uncategorized


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Occupancy Permitted

Posted by on 27 May 2014 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Uncategorized

We have basically finished the shower, there are some trim pieces to finish in the master bath still, and a shower curtain to install… and some closet fittings to obtain and put in… but otherwise the immediate building needs inside are complete. The yard needs work still (and will, for some time to come!), and there are some accoutrements outside that I need to put up (dragonfly door knocker, plant hanger, family “name plate” that I made for Tom).

But today the county signed off on the “Certificate of Occupancy.” So tonight, for the first time, Tom and I are sitting in front of the fire, NOT urgently trying to install, finish, polish or fix anything.

It feels so very good. We will move this coming weekend, clean the apartment and be done with being “city people” for a good long time, forever I hope!

Here are a few pics.

The first is from last weekend, when Grant and a friend were enjoying watering the front garden. It is taking shape, and I want to post about it, but so far haven’t had light when I had a camera.

Watering before the rain

It did, of course, rain the next day!

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