Monday, August 3, 2015

Another Summer in the Sticks

Given my expertise in construction, it is a miracle that I didn't topple the New Mexico project this summer. Contrary to the odds bookies were making on disaster, the place actually progressed, thanks to the help of many -- George Dobbs, Tom Brightman, Bob Shaeffer, Frank Blackmoon, and many others.

We went from rough sheetrock to a pretty nice set of painted, textured walls, and drop-dead freakin'gorgeous ceilings and concrete counter-top.

The first thing we had to do was get the stuff stored in the house out of the house. We had to put it somewhere special. That meant a big, green shed. That shed now goes by the name Big Green. Pretty clever, huh? We leveled a pad for it, added gravel, and then put it up on piers. That may not sound like much, but it required ordering organization and coordinating that had to happen pretty sequentially. Order; schedule delivery from Tucson; meet guy with backhoe on site after 325 mile drive; get blocks from trading post in Candy Kitchen; haul blocks; set in place; meet delivery driver; set shed in place; drink beer; look at ways to optimize space; move stuff into shed (bikes especially).

Once the stuff was out of the house, we could get down to real mudding and texturing. I also painted the casita -- twice.

Once the painting was done, it was time for a trip to Tucson to see Sean and Kyle off on their respective next chapters -- Sean to Panama and the Peace Corps, Kyle Mexico City en route to Spain where he will teach English. Those stories will be elaborated elsewhere.

Then it was ceiling time. With advice from George in mind, we ordered some tongue and groove fir from Bubany Lumber in Gallup -- 400 boards of the stuff. Scary and lovely. With my new compressor and nail gun, Megan and I hauled, sealed, and installed the entire ceiling in about 4 days.

Once the ceiling was done, Tom Brightman joined us to help put in a concrete counter top, frame out a closet, eat strawberries and put in some cabinets.

He is a genius, a comic, a beast on the bike, and crazy as a one-eyed jack. He hung out of a second story window to vent a fart fan.

Luckily I had the OSHA-approved safety protocols down. I had to save him from himself.

Then it was time for a 4000 mile road trip to see family and to do a bike ride from Seattle to Portland. In spite of very little training I survived.

After the Northwest and a long road trip, it was back to the New Mexico house and work with George to put in a door, clean up, and pack for the trip back to Tucson.

Overall, it was a pretty productive summer, but now it's time to get down to some real work. I have not been on the bike much and am really out of cycling shape. And there are students signing up for classes, fellow teachers planning curriculum. I am on my way this morning to my university office for what will likely be my last year teaching. The events of summer swirl around me as I close the door on June and July and look ahead to fall.

I want to say thank you for the time. I hope I have used it well, that I am worthy of the gifts so many have bestowed on me.

Of course, there was more -- much, much more -- to the summer. There was the beauty of the place and the sky, the times with friends and family, the moments of truth and pain. The story is never complete; it's only a sketch, a work in progress.

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