Monthly Archives: June 2012

Building projects

Saturday morning, we headed to Valley Lumber to order 21 pieces of wood, stopped by Grande Rental to borrow a nail gun and compressor, and came home to work on a project that we’ve been talking about ever since our garage was built — adding a framed-in space within it. By last night, we had the two 11-foot walls up and had even installed the door. We both went to bed exhausted but satisfied.

Of course Peter did the hard stuff — designing it, doing all the sawing, handling the nail gun four rungs up the ladder, knowing what we needed to check when. I’m a pretty good step-and-fetch-it helper, carrying the boards, standing on one end for weight (yeah, that one I can *really* handle!) handing stuff to him, and writing down measurements and things — but that’s just about it.

We both used muscles not generally employed in our day-to-day life (my cheeks will surely attest to a lot of bending and lifting!) Mostly it was a matter of following the “critical path” (a term I learned when we were building our house 18 years ago) so that everything proceeded in order…  going from cleaning up and marking out the footprint, to cutting the lengths of wood, making sure everything was straight and level, and nailing it all into place.

We’re going to need a couple of days to recuperate, I think.

Tackling that kind of manual labor relays one clear fact; we’re not as young as we were when we built the house! Now that this is done, the next step is insulating the exterior walls, which we may do ourselves over the next several weekends; we’ve already decided we’ll hire out the sheet-rocking of the entire garage plus the shelf-building for inside the space.

But it IS a reminder of why I’ve always liked “projects,” seeing something start from scratch and then watching it progress through completion. It doesn’t matter whether the project is writing a story,  assembling a magazine as editor, finishing up a jewelry-and-junk artwork, or even knitting a baby blanket — these kinds of undertakings are similar in that you take raw materials and with elbow grease and time (and some creative smarts thrown in), those materials are transformed into something new and more substantive than the raw materials were themselves.

Excitement of the day: I almost had a heart-attack when the hose came off the nail gun unexpectedly, and of course, I conked my head a good one on a cross-piece. Every project needs a little high drama, right?!

Here’s to a week of happy building, whatever project you find yourself in….


1 Comment

Filed under Journeys...

Live as if this is all there is….

My friend Susan Austin writes an amazing blog called “Journey Back to Words.”  She shared this today, reblogged from Dr. Bill Wooten, and it’s too lovely a quote to NOT share:

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher


PS. I couldn’t get the original (terrific) photo to post, so I substituted this timeless one we took on the Portugal coast….

Leave a comment

Filed under Journeys..., Matters of the heart, Scrapbook

Pooh Bear’s legacy

The Wednesday before Father’s Day — another poignant day in my personal history. That day in 1991 (it was June 12 that year, so the anniversary was actually yesterday) was when my father suffered a fatal heart attack. “Suffered” isn’t quite the right word for what my dad went through, although it DOES describe our family’s reaction. While mowing Joan’s lawn that morning, he’d just keeled over; the fire department staffers who were working on the hydrant on the corner were there within seconds to revive him, to no avail. He had no bruises from the fall. It’s like his spirit just said, “OK, it’s my time.”

Within eight hours after receiving the phone call at my desk in Seattle, I was back at my parent’s home in Cheyenne, tucking myself into the tiny corner room I once shared with Joan and Mom’s Singer sewing machine.

If I could pick a way to go, it would be like that — quickly. Seems I’ve already lost too many friends and family members to slow deaths.

Although this happened 21 years ago now (and the child we were trying so hard at the time to conceive would be nearing legal age if he or she had been born), my dad lives on.

He gave us many gifts — primarily “roots and wings” as the saying goes — plus attention to detail and a strong work ethic. I’ve written about this before, but some memories don’t fade in importance, and I recall different things each year when this bittersweet holiday rolls around.

He knew the joy of taking a risk now and then; what else could they have done but start their own business, in the late 1940s, when they wanted to stay in Cheyenne? Maybe that’s what prompted our moves, first to Seattle then to eastern Idaho, and our venture into retail with Dark Horse Books.

He loved the camaraderie of his friends; for an occasional and very real treat,  I’d find myself sitting at the table in the Plains Hotel during his coffee klatch, where I remember the men would ask me things like “So when are you getting married?” which always gave me the giggles (since I was all of 11 or 12 when they started to say that)! As I grew up, the conversations became more serious; I was always surprised these Kiwanians or dad’s fellow Knights of Columbus were in tune with my world. They’s ask things like what college was I looking at? Did I know what I wanted to study? What did I like about working on the school newspaper or the yearbook? Was it true I was dating so-and-so?

My father kept in constant touch with his far-flung family — the oldest of six siblings, of them and their spouses, only my Aunt Marge Rambo remains, still lively and definitely the queen of last summer’s Uphoff Family Reunion in Wichita and the Uphoff Girls Only get-together in Denver the year before. I’m thinking a lot about Aunt Marge right now; they all were so close, and I owe her a letter…. my cousins play a special role in my life, too. They’re quite a special and accomplished group — living from Kansas and Colorado to England and Florida. I know Pooh Bear wouldn’t have wanted us to lose touch.

Happy Father’s Day to him in heaven and to all the good dads I’ve been privileged to know.

This photo was taken the last visit Mom and Dad made to Seattle together, February 1991 — one of my favorites.

1 Comment

Filed under Matters of the heart