Progress and Patience

14 Nov

Shadows and light from a few days ago.

And this morning I walked around the house …early. Documenting the progress of this process. Noticing what gave me pleasure and what still presented challenge. Noticing the one hundred and one decisions still to be made. Decisions that perhaps the contractor would have made–or not. Decisions like “exactly at what height do you want the bathroom light to be hung…?”

And why do I need to determine exactly where? Because if it’s too low it will interfere with the medicine cabinet door. And so I measure…height of pedestal sink–36″, add in the height of sink faucet 5″, add in height of medicine cabinet–30″. Add in the light shade that extends down from the mount itself, 6″. Oh. And add in the thickness of the cement board that goes on the floor plus the thickness of the tile. Another inch? So there. All of that and we arrive at about 82″. Wiggle room.

But what I am REALLY struck with during this process is the kindness of people…and in this case, because they are all male, I have to say the kindness of men. We replaced old very drafty windows–not because we can’t live with drafts, but because we cannot abide the thought of heating the outside during our long winters. And the window installer stepped up when we let the contractor go…stepped up and said he would help us out–at least give us information as to what needed to be done, and when. Stepped up and days later mentioned that divine intervention happens in many ways. I love that. And we have painters, father and son, Bruce an Cory, who although initially part of Contractor’s crew, stuck with us. Will see the job through. Lowered their price. Determined to see the job through. Because they said they would, and their word means everything to them.

And then Alvaro. Young Latino. Here for 12 years. Hardest worker I have ever seen. Twelve hour days are nothing to him. He has a wife–a Portuguese wife. Her name is Patricia, too, and the way he says that word, well it makes the English version sound harsh and crude. Pah-treee-seeee-ah, he calls me to come see–to come help with a decision– A graphic artist from Mexico who now hangs tile, sheetrock, a bit of this and that. Anything. Because, as he told me one night as we waited in Lowe’s to get sheet rock loaded, he wants to buy a “brick house” for his family. This is just beyond beyond. And here, his work, …a 1950’s pink ceramic tile bathroom slowly becoming earthy…

DSC01831 I’ve laid a bit of ceramic tile myself…with just a “get-er-done” mentality. So when questions arose yesterday, and I offered my version of a solution, Alvaro just smiled and shook his head “no.” No, we will not do it that way. We will do it the right way. Ha.

We keep adjusting our move-in date. Becoming more realistic as we accept that the progress is only minimally subject to our control. It doesn’t really matter what we think we want…because the project has taken on a life and momentum of its own.

Kitchen with cabinets maybe installed on November 28


Reclaiming of floors to begin November 19. And we will have to stay off of them, then, until the 28th. I would rather have waited and had floors reclaimed at the end…but there is a logical sequence to why things are done when they are. I am learning this as we go. Floors before baseboards and cabinets. That is the sequence we’re told. So. OK.

Only one cloth box opened. And Blue Person emerged first. Leaped out. I don’t remember cutting this denim shape. But met its appearance with joy. So here…a jaunty sprite, surrounded by pieces of a process. Patiently holding space. DSC01833 We knew we were going to have the place painted. We knew the windows needed to be replaced. We knew some things. But we really didn’t know what it would be like. So now we know, as we own our decisions, and we cultivate patience as we wait. Grateful I have to add, for the kindness of helful people.

10 Responses to “Progress and Patience”

  1. nanacathy2 November 14, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Love the sprite, a house sprite perhaps. Patience is a virtue they say, thank goodness for real professionalism and true gentlemen who say what they mean and mean what they say.


  2. deleted November 14, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    you are so wise! And this “home” will truly be more yours and Jennifer’s because of your intimate involvement. Love you – ee


  3. Marti November 14, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Kindness works both ways, you inspired these men who stayed with you to help bring your house into a home. When I saw the last photo, the blue sprite, I thought here is Patricia’s home talisman, dancing a welcome, dancing in good energy. And I found it so fitting that this is the first piece of cloth in your new home. The pieces of cloth surrounding her echo the beautiful tile that you and Alvaro are putting up, As I said in my previous comment, strength, resilience, spirit, all part of the foundation of your home.


  4. beth November 14, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    You sound so calm. The kindness of strangers. It is probably a nice change for these guys to deal with nice people. Love the tile (and work). Each tile looks like a mini-landscape.


  5. Liz November 14, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    So much to love here … the light and shadows, the dancing sprite, the wonderful tile … but above all the kindness of strangers become friends. Stories like this make me hopeful for our world.


  6. Dana November 14, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    You are really doing some extensive work there. I know the blank feeling when someone asks about the placement of something you haven’t even realized you need, or thought would be way down the road, safely unconsidered until you could see the other elements around it. My usual routine is to run around flapping my hands saying “I don’t know” for about fifteen minutes (or several days) until a more sensible voice takes control and I start to measure and add, just like you did with the bathroom light. It still often seems like a shot in the dark though. I am so glad your moment of courage with your contractor has revealed these other workers to you more fully. They are really enriching your experience and your house.


  7. bethstephens2012 November 14, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Treat your workers well and bring them little treats like cookies or homemade baked goods (although where are you camping out during this?). There is a product called Thermo Ply, and its a wall sheathing but it is great for protecting floors-I’ve got several sheets that I just keep around in case I have to move the stove or fridge or something. Anyhow, this is just a big art project and as with all art, first you make a mess, then you clean in up and voila-the art happens!! Love you and love to Jeeenafer too!!


  8. November 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    LOVE the update. With early light, i at first thought the tub wall was some kind of
    quantum physics kind of space mapping….all the white points and i thought how
    Brilliant! Lying in a bath looking at that, what things would appear in one’s mind. But
    later i think they are spacers for the grout???? well..I’d leave them in. I love them.
    and i love the relationships you have established with these artisans…and i know
    you to Them must be satisfying, also… And young Alvaro, i have written his name
    and brick home on a very small piece of paper and put it in the Altar Basket.
    and in a couple months this all will be Memory. Soon. It is WISE to do it all now.
    just am Happy reading along, love to and to Hope


  9. Carol November 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    Sisters dear, you girls are the true treasure. No wonder strangers, soon to become friends, show kindness. Oh, how I wish I had been a part of this journey with you.


  10. deemallon November 21, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    your blue sprite has so much zip. It DOES seem like you are remarkably calm for so living with so much uncertainty… but it is fun, isn’t it? picking out tile, etc.


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