Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mornings on Concrete

The first thing I see, when I wake, is the loom of the table saw, and a jumble of construction materials. The plastic sheeting we took off the bedcovers last night festoons the boxes of tools, clusters of lamps, plastic drawers full of tape, screwdrivers, WD-40, and nails: piles surround us on all sides. There's an invisible sparkle to the dimness, motes of sawdust just waiting for the sun to demonstrate their existence. We're living now in a single room, a makeshift dump of makeshifts, exiled from our exile. The floor guys are doing their stuff. They've prepped the floors, ground and sanded them. They'll start putting on coats of finish later today. In the meantime, we're sleeping in what used to be the garage, but was added on to the house at some point. First thing we did when we got the house was tear the rotting carpet out of here. So we're down to the concrete slab, and we're in a little nest on it. Everything we'd moved into the house is now moved into here. “I'm hoping,” I said last night, as I looked around the cluttered space, “that we've come to the low point of 'Occupy 86th Avenue.'”

But I can step to the sun room, on concrete still dusty despite repeated cleanings, and look up through the skylights to see the new morning, and look out at the back yard – a space considerably smaller than our current bedroom. English Ivy and kiwi writhe upwards out of sight, climbing the evergreen hedge. The enormous kiwi leaves (is it really kiwi? That's what someone said) have turned color, and hang like signal pennants. England expects that every man will do his duty, perhaps, or Engage the enemy more closely.

It's not raining just now: the sky is white and far away.

I'm both happy and overwhelmingly sad: the sense of having outlived all my purposes is strong on me, this morning. I'll go into work for a bit, before anyone shows up, and then come back to take Martha out for breakfast before the workmen arrive. And maybe write a little update blog post there at Tom's, who knows?


Jean said...

Oh my goodness! Not surprising if you feel a bit spiritually pared down to nothing, as well as physically. Take care of yourselves. I expect going through this with the house will increase your affection for it in the longer term - quite a bit longer :-(

Jayne said...

Outlived all your purposes. Impossible, what with moats of sawdust and squatting carpenter's tools, you've yet to reclaim your home! But you shall, you shall! And it will be good. :)

marly youmans said...

"The sense of having outlived all my purposes": that's a good achy mood for a poem, Dale. There are unhappy backs to coax into shape and there are poems ready to stream out of the aether and into your head. (Not to mention a good bit of unpacking to do...)

Zhoen said...

I look forward to a similar ordeal. But then, I've moved many more times, and I will gladly take to my last little plot to live in.

mm said...

Wow. This is big, momentous stuff. No wonder there is a bit of discombobulation, Dale. A blessing on your new home and on your lives there.

Jarrett said...


Should you need a control narrative that you can execute promptly with decisive results, rip out the English Ivy. Admire its tenacity and yet how naturally it yields in the face of your strength and clarity. It's a nasty weed that eats parks, and its smell -- aristocratic with a hint of colonialism -- only becomes joyous in the compost bin, under black tarp, IMHO.