Progress report: the Red Queen and Rainbows

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Pouring the slab, the floor of my tiny-house-to-be this morning. Pouring the slab, the floor of my tiny-house-to-be. (The blue walls in front are the foundation.)

I feel like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass: running and running just to stay in place. As she explains to Alice,

...It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!

I am running as fast as I can, but life is still speeding past me. Perhaps because I'm trying to do too much? Huh. I'm going to consider that. Later.

Construction on my tiny house is one thing speeding along, despite a spate of bad weather in late April. The house is  coming "out of the ground," thanks to my excavator, Tommy Meyers, my concrete guys, A-1 Construction, and my contractor, Dan Thomas of Natural Habitats.

Hand-troweling what will be my finished floor and also the heat-sink to store winter sunshine. Hand-troweling what will be my finished floor.

Today the cement truck beeped its ponderous way backwards up the ramp leading to the top of my foundation (which rises 5.5 feet above the lowest point of the lot) and splurted wet cement onto the rigid foam insulation beneath what will be the floor of my house.

Jimmy and the A-1 crew began spreading, screeding and finally, troweling it into a floor. (The bathroom will be in the left-hand corner of the photo, and the right two-thirds of the slab will be my open living/dining/kitchen area.)

The master bedroom in my architect-designed, sculptor-built house, with interior trim and doors by me, with a lot of help from patient friends. The master bedroom in this architect-designed, sculptor-built house, with interior trim and doors by me and friends.

Finish work on this house isn't speeding along, mostly because I'm squeezing it between spiffing up the yard, writing a new memoir, masterminding the launch of a landscaping-for-wildlife project for Audubon Rockies, hosting this year's first Terraphilia artist resident, Jill Powers, reviving the social media efforts of Women Writing the West,  for which I somehow became Vice-President of Marketing, and sundry other projects.

(I guess that illustrates "trying to do too much.")

Tony, teaching me how to cut a window-opening in a sheet of galvanized steel that's about to morph into paneling for a tub-shower surround. Tony, teaching me how to cut a window-opening in a sheet of galvanized steel for a tub-shower surround.

Still, I have made progress, thanks to the help of patient and generous friends, especially Tony and Maggie Niemann, multi-talented creatives to whom I owe most of my carpentry and finishing knowledge. (Bob Spencer taught me doors.)

Almost all of the door and window trim is up, almost all of the baseboard is in and I've trimmed out a steel counter in the guest bath that Richard built for one of his beautiful basin sinks but never got around to finishing, and also trimmed the backsplashes for the kitchen counters about which ditto. What remains is the master bath, a complicated and challenging project both in terms of time and creativity. (See photo above.)

Guest bathroom counter with its new galvanized edging and the beautiful Richard-carved basin. Guest bathroom counter with its new galvanized edging and the glorious Richard-carved basin.

The memoir, which I call Bless the Birds, is also coming along. I think I've only got four more chapters to write. Of course, those four cover Richard's third and fourth brain surgeries (both in  March of 2011), his 61st birthday summer, our Big Trip, and coming home to those last two transcendent months of his life.

To write compelling and lyrical memoir, I have to relive that time. I read through my journal, blog posts, letters and emails and Richard's snippets of writing, and look at his art, the books he was reading and the photos I took. It's sweet, poignant, illuminating, humbling, painful and freaking hard. Some days I have to procrastinate a lot before I sit down and write. Once I get going though, the story sucks me in. It's hard to stop. When I do, I'm wrung out.

And I have other things to accomplish. Hence the feeling of running as fast as I can and not quite managing to stay in place.

A rainbow arcs over my neighborhood. A rainbow arcs over my neighborhood.

My work days begin before dawn and run until nine or ten at night. Still, they bring me gifts. Like today at lunch, when I snatched half an hour to watch the floor of my new house take shape. Or this evening, when a spring shower yielded the grace of a rainbow.

I take my blessings where I can. Which is, come to think of it, a good way to live.