or, our fate is ceiled. More work at the Green House: look, we have a ceiling!
And then they (our dear friends Arturo and G) covered up that beautiful insulation with Sheetrock, and it looks like this (below), except with tape and mud over the seams; the ceiling awaits some love from a paint roller. Thanks very much to the efforts of Arturo and Guillermo, we are almost ready for — wait for it — prime time (painting joke there).
That’s on the inside of the house. On the outside, all is well. All our girls came up to visit and hang at the river last weekend, and here they are on the deck with Pa. (He’s the fourth Stooge, wearing his signature T-shirt.) This is the reason we wanted a place of our own — for family fun like this 🙂
However, they weren’t our only visitors. The neighborhood cat, Jax, thinks it’s his house, too. He has no qualms about coming in and sitting on the furniture. It is common neighborhood gossip that he is the father of our kitten. So — in that sense, he’s family.
In the past week or so we added more plants to the outside rock-lined flower beds — my mother gave me a bunch of strawberry plants, some yarrow and chives, and a tomato seedling had snuck into one of the pots. All were planted except the tomato, which needs a little more growing time in the pot if it is to survive in the wild. The only expense in the garden thus far has been the purchase of the eight lavender plants, at a cost of $20 (I couldn’t figure out how to get them for free). Patrick and I worked on creating steps from the road up into the “terraced garden” (euphemism for “rock pile,” so far). We dug and leveled and used discarded 2x4s to build the risers, with slices off a long piece of rebar we found behind the house. So far, it looks good; will post a photo next time.
I was looking at expenses, and we are below $1000 in materials and supplies — well below. Wood for beams, insulation, writing, nails and other hardware supplies, Sheetrock — not terribly expensive. Food for a work crew and eco-friendly paint are a little more costly than I expected. Labor, of course, costs the most, but since we’ve asked two friends to help, we don’t mind paying what they’re worth, and as a labor of love, these two fine gentlemen have gone far beyond what a random contractor would have. They are treating their handiwork as if it was their own home. Safety, fixing existing code violations, ensuring that the ceiling is water-tight and energy-efficient, talking to the roofer who didn’t want to do a certain task for us (so he did it!), etc. Can’t say enough about my two guys!
I must mention gloves here. I am a wearer of gloves — not for doing dishes (I rather like to play in the water), but for any kind of cleaning or other labor, I wear gloves. I also wear them on public transportation because I’m a little fussy about germs, but that’s another post. Anyhoo, as I was digging up rocks around the “terraced garden” (ahem), I dislodged not just one but threescorpions. They are about 2-3 inches long and look pretty nasty. At first they play dead, then they get mad and try to kill you. I scoop them into a jar and we carry them away and toss them into bushes and rocks away from our yard. They look like crawdads — too bad they aren’t edible. Alas, I think their bite is worse than their food value. So that cemented it — our yard is a gloves-on affair. So — I wore holes in my gloves. Here’s my fix:
A good old ironing board, iron-on patches and 5 minutes of my time. I also sewed up the seams a little tighter, where they had been fraying. A $2 pair of cotton gloves will now last me another few months, if not longer. Don’t they look like something a clown would wear? Well, I’ll be your clown, and I won’t have to touch spiders or scorpions. For heavy rock work, I actually wear leather gloves, but these are for my basic gardening.
I am currently packing for an extended stay at our river cottage through mid-August — it’s Mr Husband’s annual vacation and we’re taking the Boy and his friend to hang out in the sun, water and rocks. No scorpions allowed. Fishing, floating, canoeing, and some hikes in the woods are on the agenda. For me, more wall-painting — because that’s fun for me 🙂 But also, lots of reading and puttering and daydreaming. I might even break out the poetry journal and do some writing.
When we get back to civilization (Alameda) again, we kick into high gear for back-to-school prep, plus one daughter is moving out and another moving in, and a foreign exchange student is set to arrive Aug. 22. So off we go. I look forward to a little calm and quiet before the crazy.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward.
Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others.
Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.
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