Saturday, February 28, 2009

Perspective: I'm the only one getting rich here.....

I'm finding that perspective is sometimes hard to come by during this house-building process.....that I sometimes forget that I'm the only one getting rich here.....and that I am certainly grateful to those who contribute on a regular basis.

#1 PERSPECTIVE. theworkshop 308 HAS OTHER PROJECTS AND LIVES BESIDES MINE: But you sure wouldn't know it. This may go down in architectural history as the longest designer/client relationship (a couple of years now) associated with a project, the least lucrative, but occasionally, one of the most diverse. Price-shopping for appliances, renting sanders for Jason's home improvement undertaking, picking up Stella at Miss Jo's and sitting next to her in the back seat, and the never-ending conversations about the world and about house stuff. (That's just in the past week or two.) And then, to log on to their website and see pictures of the great play station centers they have recently designed, built and installed at the James River Assembly Reallife Student Center, and the many other spectacular works-in-progress (and those that have been completed).......and STILL they accommodate my on-going questions and need for undivided attention.

#2 PERSPECTIVE. Keyway Construction Company HAS OTHER PROJECTS AND LIVES BESIDES MINE: But you sure wouldn't know it. The questions usually hit me at about 4:30 a.m. as I enter that final deep sleep before the alarm goes off. I have the decency to wait until mid-morning to call them or to add those items to a running list for the next drop-by visit, but I always get the feeling that mine truly is the ONLY structure they're building. And I always get a whole lot more than what I'm asking.....philosophy, education, stories, hot tips, recipes......you name it. It sure makes it easy to forget that "time is money" and that they could actually be driving nails or writing contracts instead of discussing shower "swirls" or bedside lamps.

#3 PERSPECTIVE. ALL CONTACT IS GOOD CONTACT: That has always been my philosophy while making home visits for the school district to deal with truancy and attendance issues. Sometimes I think it is enough to merely show up at a house and knock on the door to let families know that someone at school really cares and would like to help. (That sounds pretty flowery.....and a little bit lazy....but there's usually MORE...) And that same philosophy holds true with this shipping container house, as I've mentioned before. All of the people who have made a comment, written an email, stopped by to check it out, worked on it, made a delivery, taken a picture are people who have now become a very meaningful part of this process and of my life, and in perspective, who may NOT have been a part if it weren't FOR this process. Phew. And thank you. You are not flowery and you are not lazy.

#4 PERSPECTIVE. FOCUS: I better quit wallering(?) in all of this blah blah blah and start paying attention to the matters that are going to be important when I am actually LIVING in this house. My brother-in-law Jon and my sister Judy are the two people most responsible for my being where I am right this minute.....but that's another blog and another story.....and they keep asking me the questions that I really need to answer. How deep is the well? What is the flow? What goes in that crawl space? How far is the septic from the house? What is your power emergency back-up plan? When something goes wrong, do you know where to find the source of the problem? All of that stuff that you can't see but really need.(In life, as well as in houses.) In Second Place for the number of relevant questions asked, is my friend Sally. What kind are your faucets? What have you chosen for your electrical plates? Have you thought about your outdoor lighting? Are the cabinets built? Yes, I need to focus on the here and now. Yes, I need to focus.


#5 PERSPECTIVE. WALL SOCKET-ROOFTOP-GRAVEL BAR-MAILBOX: The day son Gabe turned one-year-old, and I was a basket case trying to throw a birthday party for him with all of the grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins....moments before the first guest arrived....Gabe calmly and deliberately stuck his tongue in a wall socket.....and suffered a bit of a shock, to say the least. Last week, thirty-some-odd years later, he was on top of the shipping container utilizing that very same interest in electricity and engineering and was installing the wiring for my network, security and entertainment systems. And that was in his spare time after his REAL job as an engineer with Tank Components Incorporated. Further perspective.... son John R. proposed to Nicole, back in October, on the gravel bar that is down in front of the new house, and they will get married a week from today. Yet another perspective, my every-other-week roommate and daughter Morgan has been making regular trips to check out the progress of the building and the parameters of her room.....is a bit anxious (and obsessive/compulsive) about the huge change that will come with living in the country, and observed: "We're probably going to need a mailbox."

This all drives home the fact that I keep getting caught up in details, keep putting myself at the center of each operation, keep assuming that everyone else is as invested as I am in how things are turning out, and keep forgetting that with a budget of $150,000 this is more of an adventure and a mission than a financial windfall.....for everyone except me.....for sure.

Perspective: I'm the only one really getting rich here......and I am genuinely and eternally grateful to ALL of my donors.

2 comments:

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