These are the white objects in the house the morning after a great party. Now I am sixty years old.
Re: [freecycledc] OFFER: Drywall buckets with handles — Petworth
Taker: Great. Trying to work out when I could stop by. Where are you located?
Me: [My address]. How many do you want?
Taker: 5 and i could grab them tomorrow during the day if that works for you.
Me: That’s perfect. I’ll put 6 or 7 on the porch in case you want more, or just take the ones you want. I’m just curious what you will use them for.
Taker: I’m renovating my house and always have a need for these. Great storage, etc.
Me: Does your partner know you’re doing this? My husband does renovation too, and I’m the one putting them on Freecycle.
Taker: Ha, yes, she barely tolerates it. Seems like you’re well on your way with all that joint compound.
2 January 2015 (off-line for a few days)
Haiku for today:
That music soothes beasts
Has never been disputed.
The Black Cat heals woes.
It’s Friday night at the Black Cat School of Rock, blessedly just down the hill from our house. A group of mostly regular characters shows up for open-mic night in this one-room school. The playlist is mainly rock, but also some blues, bluegrass, and grocer Tim Newton’s beautiful, sad ballad “Timber and Coal,” lamenting the enduring loss that quick fortunes brought to a West Virginia town.
Someone (the owner?) has baked cookies and served potato chips on a platter on the piano, in proximity to the big tip jar, which is also passed around the room.
(William always marvels at how the performers fearlessly “put it all out there,” saying he could never do that. Maybe one day he will.)
I think that on the way to taking out the trash and recycling, someone is removing storage containers, piece by piece, thinking that I won’t notice. I do.
My photo of the white stool, Berkeley Springs, 28 July 2014
Now that I’m not working at a proper day job, I’m spending more time doing manual work, time-consuming, sometimes smelly or otherwise untoward, usually in some way creative – baking bread, pulling weeds, sorting books; the mind has time to wander more deeply. I’m not looking around horizontally — not looking about to see who else is around, wondering why I’m doing the pointless thing at a desk in a cubicle, knowing that it doesn’t matter to me at all, nor much to anyone else either. Instead the thoughts go vertical.
I’m now in the wake of refinishing a piece of furniture, an old stool once owned by partner William’s grandparents, that has been somewhere for all these years, I think with his mother, Sally, who took it up to our Berkeley Springs house when she did some of the initial furnishing there. It has been sitting in the kitchen or the bathroom there, or traveling between them. I’ve been painting other things here and in Berkeley Springs, and maybe it’s bewitching, because I tend to look around for the next project, so far two chairs on our DC porch (similarly vintage, never upgraded), a canvas ‘rug,’ the kitchen floor. There’s always a little paint left over — or I see where to get more. I have invested in my own paint can, brushes, roller, so that I don’t have to share with William or suffer through his complaints about my improper cleaning. (I’ve improved at that.)
So I have this odd bench with a strange, u-shaped top shelf. For sitting? So that you can set a tall object on the second step, like the vase here? Was it like a potty chair? It has clearly been painted a few times, so surely it needs to be painted again. First you strip the old paint layers. For that, I bought that product I knew existed, helpfully called “paint stripper.” The words on the can suggest that after applying the thick pasty stuff to the surface and waiting a few minutes to an hour, multiple layers of paint, applied even way back when the family had household servants, will just want to jump off the furniture and head out somewhere, job done, leaving bare wood, exposing the tree it once was.
It doesn’t happen that way. The first application probably cleans the old paint a little, and scraping does little to remove it. A second application and second scraping reveal that the white stool was once green. A third application and scraping show some wood.
You see what I mean about the slowness of time and ability to think and ponder. Once you have made such a smelly mess, you cannot stop whenever you feel like it – not like just putting the book down or the knitting aside — because that would mean cleaning it all up and admitting defeat. So you start to observe and wonder, deeper, below the first layers, going vertical instead of horizontal. What is this thing now and what will it be? Who sat here? Who fell off? Why green? Then why white? It’s not pretty, but sturdy; it wobbles not at all. Was this made by a true craftsperson? Do the screws tell its origin? Why do I care about it?
When will all this paint be gone, if ever?
I am married to a person who has decided (on his own, but after ten years of subtle, loving nagging) that he might lose a little of that extra girth around the equator by limiting himself to just one slice of cake per sitting. Although, because of an extremely generous nature probably picked up from his mother, he feels it is only right that he offer a serving to his invisible friend, who stops by frequently.
William just had another one of those events that come around annually, and like most modern folks, said he didn’t really want or need anything in the birthday gift category. You’re the same way, I know.
But I wanted to do something. So in the merger of cheap and creative, the result of looking at the catalogs that come to the house and my love of the Georgia Avenue Thrift Store, we have an outdoor shower in the well to the basement door under the deck.
I bought these little hooks, found the working outlet for the power drill (my birthday present to myself when I turned 40 just the other
day decade), and screwed them into the inside of the deck.
A showerhead on a hose will screw into the hose bib. Only William would have installed a hot water faucet for the outside water source, as you can see here by the red and blue knobs indicators. That’s how he rolls.
Thrift store curtains were pretty cheap, if a little too bright red. I stitched little rings to the top to hang on the hooks, and weights to the bottom edge, so that Shepherd St. neighbors Leslie and Carrie won’t have to see to much of William if a little breeze were to blow the curtains around.
He’s still dubious, thinking I wanted the shower more than he. Well, maybe, but after biking, gardening, sweating on a construction site, or just because you can, an outdoor shower feels very nice.
Inaugural rinse is pending.