autumnal pause

          Looking out my window at clouds so low it felt like you could touch them just by raising your hand the way you would to ask a question in class, I was struck by the fact that I could. Not only could I touch the clouds, I could just stand there and look. I could stand there and look, and ask questions. There was no, one nagging thing that it was just about getting too late to do, no other thing that was haunting me with how good it would feel to –finally, at long last – get done and no other thing that was ringing my phone or knocking on my door, so I just stood there, looking out on the sodden world. The clouds had been low all day, and where they dipped down over the forested mountains and into the valleys they deposited rime on the trees like Christmas scenes in a department store window. I could picture a little toy train choo-chooing its way down through the mountain across the way, sending a plume of cheery little-engine-that-could smoke up to blend with the clouds. And with the cold, damp, cottony, almost-frozen stuff of the universe settling in, it occurred to me how much I like winter.

          In summer you can’t stand there and look, wonder and ask; Continue reading

Oh me of little faith

          Another late night with the Captain, as he sat on the phone with Radiant Engineering (this time Pat, thank goodness) for hours as they tried to figure out why the system was just not making heat. I’m actually rather surprised Bruce isn’t divorced yet, he spends so many late nights away from home. He was pretty darn sure when I talked to him this morning that it was a simple matter of the thermostat not being connected correctly, and he was pretty cocky when I showed up, and the heat was on after he had re-wired the thermostat. Then he worked on this and that, tying up loose ends (doubtless with an eye to being able to Continue reading

First Night

          My first night in my house did not pass without incident, I’m sorry to say. Bruce (Alias Captain Nemo, for the maze of copper plumbing and wires in the control room reminiscent of the engine room on a nuclear submarine) worked valiantly until about ten that night, having accomplished a great deal: he filled the solar panels with glycol, put in another pretzel or two into the copper maze, hooked up the computer and mixer which regulate how much boiler water and how much panel water get circulated, wired in a temperature sensor on the north side of the garage, set the toilet, re-plumbed the tub drain (which his assistant had plumbed to the vent by mistake), and, most importantly,  made sure that the pesky boiler was doing its job.  I appreciated his staying so late, but it was already an hour Continue reading

Let There Be Light

      “Let there be light” said Mitch, and there was. I can now flip a switch and get light. I can plug any appliance that needs animating into the wall and the electrons will stream out, obedient and orderly into said appliance and animate away. Most of my walls have sheet rock, and some of them even have paint on them. Some of my kitchen cabinets are installed, and some of the counter tops. Some of the ceiling even has sheet rock on it, thanks to the Herzog brothers and their sidekick Dixon. Some of the eaves have been enclosed, thanks to my friend Jim, and some of my crap has been moved into the house, thanks to my back. Sometime today Bruce the plumber should be arriving to finish up, and Continue reading

The Magic Number

          Ka-ching! Everything I do costs $2000 these days. Cabinets? Well, even after I smallened the kitchen by half, and eradicated all the bells and whistles like cookie-sheet cupboards and broom closets and lazy-susans made of un-obtanium, its gonna be two grand. Of course I chose the most expensive cabinets they’ve got. I looked at the website and thought most of their designs were “eh” at best, but then I saw one sleek, modern number and actually liked it. Of course, it only comes in maple. Of course, it suffers the Continue reading