I’m typing this in my new office, on the second floor of the Dog House.
This picture implies much more order than actually exists up on Vista Drive at the moment; this room has just been unboxed (to the extent that it has, indeed, been so) and so has an artificially low level of visual entropy. N.B. – those books are NOT in any order on the shelves, and only have the loosest of groupings.*
An illustration of this truth: the left bookcase has a Bobble Head Bill Wilson on the second shelf. And his head has bobbled off to some other location.
But much of our lives right now is a mine field. (Hint: don’t go into the garage. Either garage – the new or the old. I’m not going to take a picture of either of those explosions; suffice it to say that when I walk through the garage, I keep my eyes straight ahead. To look to either side is to succumb to despair).
Much of the house at present looks orderly; Ethel’s done a good job. But, again, the order means “items aren’t strewn across the floor in crazy heaps”; however, the fact that something is in a cabinet, or drawer, or on a shelf does NOT imply that it’s in the place that one would expect it to be.
So I spend much of my day going “Honey, where is the….<insert noun>?”
Some of these things will have to move. Right now, on the longest counter in the kitchen, the coffee pot is at the far left, under the coffee cups and other beverage containers; the flatwear is in the Fancy Flatware Double Drawer at the far right end.
This makes plenty of sense to Ethel, because Ethel drinks her coffee black. But I take cream and sweetener. So I have to go to the far left, pull down a cup and pour the coffee, go to the far right to get a spoon, come back to the far left to add sweetener and creamer, stir, then go to the middle to put the spoon in the sink. No wonder my Garmin is showing 20,000+ steps at the end of the day.
The whole kitchen has things where things ought not to be.
And then there’s the fact that so much stuff is still in boxes. Quite often, the answer to “Where is the…?” is “I don’t know. Might be in a box.”
I am grateful that my dresser still has the same clothing assignments per drawer. I’m on the same side of the bed. But I walk into the closet, and I’m on Mars.
That’s inside the house. Outside, the landscapers have broken down the universe, and are now rebuilding it in the image of the landscape plans. Here’s the current state of the front yard:
I said “the image of the landscape plans” but, of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. For instance – the house foundation is surrounded by a beautiful rocked area going out from five to ten feet, bordered with a think plastic border, with preplanned plantings every few feet. But one thing that nobody noticed on the plans is that there was a shrub – which will grow to a great size – directly in front of the side door out of the garage. Thanks to Dan the landscape man who asked me – “Hey, Jim – uh, do you want this here?” – especially since it was his boss who drew up the plan. That takes moral courage.
That open flat area there will be a berm in a few hours. However, the berm – as planned – was suppose to have two aspen flanking a blue spruce. But, as it turns out, Ethel and I bought multi-trunk clumps of aspen instead of single trees, and the clumps that we picked out are too large, so we could either let the berm grow to take up most of the front yard to include all those, or move a clump to the other side of the driveway. (We will now have two groups of aspen in the front yard. Well, can’t ever have too many aspen).
Yesterday, we thought that they’d be laying sod by the end of today; now it looks like tomorrow. And that’s a problem, because the landscape boss is going elk hunting next week. I am so, SO grateful that this house got done this week, as one elk season starts, all construction stops. (I’m pretty sure that somebody will be here working the landscape gig next week, though, because I only paid ’em half up front).
Ethel is downstairs working on the final draw; and it looks like we just went over our planned construction loan, with a few more items still to show up; I’m grateful that we didn’t go much over, though, given how many, many questions came up where we said “Oh, go ahead with the more expensive option”.
The landscaping and fencing was always planned to be out of pocket. But I didn’t expect it to be even half as much as it wound up.
I’m okay with all this expense, really; I know that selling stock now to pay for stuff will NOT result in us eating dog food when we’re 75 years old. But it still feels weird to be shelling out so much cash when I’m bringing none in.
So one of the “Where is…?” questions is about my money 🙂
*the upper shelf on the right bookcase is all conference-approved material, either AA or OA with one Narcotics Anonymous basic text from the 1980s. Then things start getting much looserer – with the exception of the second shelf on the left, which is all Louis L’Amour.