Friday, March 1, 2013

The Mundane

Barbra is right.  I can be excited about the mundane things in life.  No one thinks much about a roof on a house but as a builder I can sense when the gutters are full of leaves and need cleaning.  I can see the moss expanding and their roots filling the spillways in the roofing, beginning to curl the shingles.  I know another season and my house will be leaking and there will be buckets everywhere.  That is a real problem, replacing Sheetrock, bagging up soggy insulation.  Replacing a worn out roof is protecting an investment but it was so much more to me.  I literally grew up in this house and admit an emotional attachment.
   Jane and I bought this house, a falling down 900 square foot structure on a large city lot in 1970 for $8,375 dollars.  I was twenty two years old, working at the cannery and going to the University of Oregon at the time. We had been renting a little 2 bedroom house behind a tavern for $85 dollars a month and they were going to tear it down to expand their parking lot so we had to move.  Average rents had gone up to a hundred dollars a month and the idea of paying someone else that much money for a place to sleep was appalling to me!  I would rather live in a shack of my own making than pay that much rent!
   Over the years the house changed.  A foundation was added, half was torn down, 2,000 square feet was added, an apartment, a little studio for my mother was built onto the back.  I have put a new roof on this house three different times.  I dug a water well by hand and the garden has changed as much as the house.  I built the world's Best greenhouse, the steel and stone bridge that crosses the ditch, then added my shop, then created my studio and office.  I built the little pool with my children and watched them being born, growing up and finally leaving this nest.
   I was a cannery worker or school teacher when I built most of this house and did it all from books.
I knew nothing about construction but lost a fear while reading about it and bought one tool at a time as the projects required.  The experience lead me into construction and that became my living for 35 years.  My house lead me to become what I was.  I have everything that I need right here and built it myself, step by step, in stages, changing as I was changing.
   To see that it needed a new roof that I was not capable of installing was painful.  Oh, the money, sure, but something done to the house that I didn't personally do?  That was the painful part.  House and me growing old!  It takes adjustment.


rama said...

Sometime back I was reading an article on 'Gratitude'. I have almost all the wonderful things in my life, yet instead of seeing them as gifts from the Universe, I was nitpicking, about some little things that were not available to me, I made those little things look like huge things that were deliberately made not available to me by the Universe.
Then I forcefully brought myself to track: I started to think of all the good things that have happened and keep happening in my life without any effort on my part, and I felt so happy and fulfilled. I felt that each day was a miracle.
Yes, it might make you feel a little bad that you could not personally do the job, but just think, that this universe has put you in a position where you can employ some one to do the job for you. You have given employment to some one. You and your house have not grown older, you have both become wiser and happier. So, you see you have so many things that has been going well for you. It doesn't need adjustment, it just needs a shift in the way we look at our lives, then all our disappointments just vanish away.
Have a great day Jerry!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I am a big believer in recognizing the good things in life and not just concentrating on the bad. Great post as always sir.

Graciewilde said...

In many ways I can relate to your post. No, I don't work on the house myself - don't have (nor do I want to have) those skills - This vintage 1900 house we bought in 1986 when we had one infant child. It has grown and changed along with our marriage and our family and our selves. I can and often do keep track of things as they relate to the timeline that includes work on the house: the kitchen expansion, the addition of the laundry room, changing out the old windows, replacing the w2w carpet with the original and new hardwood floors, repainting the bedrooms (how many times?), two new roofs, and umpteen changes in the half acre parcel --
Most recently, in an effort to consider retirement, I think about selling this place (we paid $185,00 in 1986 - this is, after all, the greater SF Bay area - and likely could get around $600,000 now) but it's hard to think about losing this old friend.....
Nice post!

Graciewilde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graciewilde said...

She deleted b/c the same comment posted twice. Who knows why? :)

Barbra Joan said...

Jerry, Since we've first met on the machine I've watched and read all your efforts , your trials and your triumphs. And you certainly have heard of mine.. God know you certainly have heard mine. LOL !
I'm glad you have a new roof, cozy and done .. no drips, no buckets.
Your smart enough to take care of business before it gets to be a problem.. That's why I have such admiration and respect for you..
as always B.J.

Clipped Wings said...

I admire you so much, Jerry. You and your house have gone through so much together. Old friend, indeed. Thanks for your comment on my last post. I guess that could be an opening to a much longer story, but for now that's it. Maybe I'll work it in to the 'novel' I'm taking forever to really get going on.