The tub-shower enclosure in the master bathroom.

[Re]Learning My Limits

The tub-shower enclosure in the master bathroom. The tub-shower enclosure in the master bathroom.

I’m close! So close to completing the finish work on this house that my punch-list lives in my head, not on paper.

In the master bath I only need to etch and seal the concrete floor in the shower, and seal the steel trim on the galvanized wall-panels.

The plumbers still need to put in the shower fixtures and plumb the two sinks. My glass guy needs to install the two half-walls of reedy glass above the sill in the shower area. But my part of that tricky job is almost finished.

In the rest of the house, I need to install the thumb-pulls in the closet doors in the guest bedroom, cover a gap where two panels did not quite meet in the corrugated tin of the back porch ceiling, and nail a doorstop I invented last night in place in the master bedroom. That’s it. (I think.)

Mesquite drawer-pull I crafted for a drawer in the kitchen. Mesquite drawer-pull I crafted for a drawer in the kitchen.

I’m this close thanks to my patient and talented friends Tony and Maggie Niemann, who not only taught me finish carpentry, but who regularly nagged me to set up weekend work days so they could help.

And consulted whenever I got stuck, as I did the other night while installing the drawer-pull in the photo, crafted out of a chunk of mesquite trunk salvaged from my parents’ Tucson yard more than a decade ago. (Richard crafted pegs from that same mesquite to join the corners of the cabinet face frames, a Craftsman touch.)

I figured that once I finished my punch-list here, I’d start on the trim carpentry at Creek House. The walls are painted, the light fixtures and ceiling fans are in, and Westwood Cabinetry is at work on built-ins. Trim work can start anytime now.

Door trim in Terraphilia. Door trim in Terraphilia

I’m planning the same simple Southwest style of trim I’ve done here, using 1X6 pine boards (No. 2, paint-grade), ripped in half lengthwise and painted the same color as the wall. The header piece extends an inch and a half out on each side, like the trim around the bathroom door in the photo to the right.

(That photo dates from late winter, before baseboard, before I invented narrow galvanized steel trim to finish the raw edge of the drywall around the chiseled block walls, and before the lovely curved counter in the bathroom. A lot of work has happened in that time!)

I had thought I would do the trim myself. Until I realized that I was regularly waking in a panic at four am.

Until I realized that I have six weeks and a day to finish Terraphilia, meet a couple of writing deadlines, oversee the work on Creek House, get packed, sort through and sell or give away the contents of Richard’s shop, and move. (Closing for the sale contract on Terraphilia is September 13th, with possession at noon.)

Huh.

The living room half of the front room at Creek House (the kitchen area is behind the camera). The living room half of the front room at Creek House (the kitchen area is behind the camera).

Learning to notice and respect my limits is one of those life lessons I never quite complete. I figure it out–usually the hard way, and then… Perhaps I get too complacent. Maybe it’s arrogance (No! Me do! shouts my inner toddler). Or control issues. (I am a double Virgo.)

Sooner or later, I find myself over my head again, waking at four in the morning reviewing all I have to cram into the next day, next week, next month…. The frantic tide rises. I find myself rushing through my days instead of enjoying the moments.

And then something causes me to stop and reassess. Oh yeah. I don’t have to do everything myself. It’s not all on my shoulders. I can delegate.

That’s where I am now.

Siding in progress at Treehouse (the garage/studio) and Creek House (my new house). Siding in progress at Treehouse (the garage/studio) and Creek House (my new house).

So with some regret, I’m delegating (read “paying for”) the trim carpentry on my new place. I’ve proved I can do it here. I’ve got plenty to do over the coming six weeks.

If I don’t try to do everything myself, if I [re]learn my limits, I might even enjoy that time, wild ride or no.

That sounds good to me.

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