Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pain Made No Less Because It Is Shared

I just came across this potentially chilling bit of comisseration: The author's circumstances are remarkably similar to ours: a couple living in their row house while renovating, except the amount of actual work to be done (as well as their expertise, it seems) rivals ours by a lot. Mold, termite damage, and an additional storey to have to work on.

The chilling part is that the final blog entry was in November of last year, in the middle of framing the second floor. With all of the stress that I can project into each blog entry, it reads to me something like the final photos of Scott Fisher's Everest expedition before it was buried by a looming storm. He still sounds chipper, but his year-long silence is more than a little ominous...

The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye

This monstrousity is what I'll be throwing myself into later today, while Janine's lungs try to hold her encroaching brochitis to the upper chest area, and I try to keep from falling prey to what has been my pulmonary kryptonite. On your right, you'll see the top and floor plates of the frame I've been trying to make level for far too long now. In the front of the house, the original ceiling joists were removed by a previous owner in the interests of achieving a grand cathedral ceiling (while sacrificing the entire master bedroom). The ceiling was later replaced by Oscar, a renovator who may or may not have been responsible for the unholy firetrap this place was made into -- a famously dangerous breaker box and wiring strung above the drop ceiling like streamers on a Borg ship. I actually met Oscar unexpectedly in a greasy spoon down the street, but didn't ask him whether the crappy overhaul was his doing. I guess the best I could have hoped for was his saying, "Why yes, asshole, it was. And yoooooou bought it!"
Anyway, trying to level out the framing across the entire north wall, between the "new" 2 × 8 board ceiling and the vintage 1890 has been a colossal headache, but I hope finish the job (well enough) today, and maybe start toenailing in some studs. Like Tim Russert always says, "If it's Saturday, it's rabid frustration." Y'know, 'cause Sunday's Meet the Press.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Darker Days

Get this: I'm being flown out today to Lancaster, Ohio once again for approximately 24 hours, whereupon we'll be throwing an appreciation/Christmas banquet for the field crew -- this is all going to be in the restaurant of the hotel they've been staying for the past many months, which has been of suspect quality. And we're bringing the beer, which is going to have to be in oceanic quanitities to justify not actually taking them to a decent eatery. But then, I'm not sure if we have the facilities to keep it all cold, and y'know, this is a Wednesday evening, and everyone has to go out and work again tomorrow. Warm beer, bad food, drunk and unhappy archaeologists. Hotel Attica.

Meanwhile, I'm getting depressed about the house. It's been too cold downstairs to want to work on the living room much, and the slow progress is making me morose about having to live here in our historic bomb shelter, where I expect to open up a closet and see Fortunado shackled there. Barbara Corcoran mentioned that we'd probably need a marriage counselor to get through this whole process, but somehow she didn't recommend personal therapy, and perhaps heavy medication. I'm trying to revv myself up and throw myself back at it, and maybe a night of gruel and surliness is just what I need to get psyched.

Thanks to Caren for the link to this test. I'm apparently 78 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 34% Dork, which makes me a "Modern, Cool Nerd." I don't know if that's good or not -- being a a nerd has never been cool, per se, now it at least seems perceived as almost edgy. I've always believed that being nerdy is a disavowal of societal sheepdom, which makes at least 25% of the population uncomfortable right off the bat. Calling me a "cool" nerd sounds like a backhanded compliment from the nerd community. I'll have to get my membership card renewed.