sticks and carrots

A confession: I hate building. The closest I’ve been able to come to liking it is mindless neutrality, a meditative, trance-like state that comes from the repetitive motions lulling me out of thought completely.

Until Workshop called to tell me that there was a wagon to be had in Russelsheim, and I dragged trash house back to Mainz, I had built exactly one thing in my entire life. It was a CD shelf, and I guess it turned out ok.

Maybe it’s the learning curve that frustrates me, the feeling of not being able to do something right off the bat, and then not being particularly good at it. Like a child, stuck in an adult mind and body, a sudden feeling of helplessness when I am used to already knowing what to do and how to do it. It is uncomfortable. And that is exactly why it’s good.

At the beginning of the building process I constantly felt like my head was about to combust. People had advice for me, and I didn’t understand half of the words they used to explain their suggestions. Now I know a lot of new words, and I can operate the power tools that used to scare me. Now I know about insulation and siding and bolt sizes and crowbars.

As empowering as all that is, there are still the bad days. The days when you just stepped on a rusty nail (Thursday) and are limping around worrying about tetanus while trying to replace some rotten support beams that are real fucking pains in the asses, the kind of job where you spend all day working and then step back and it doesn’t look like you’ve done anything at all (Friday).

“Are you enjoying building?” Top Hat asked me at the end of the day.

“To be honest, not so much. Building isn’t really my thing.”

He looked shocked. “But this is your future home.”

“Ummm…” I replied. Top Hat is the most optimistic person I know. He often believes what others think is impossible, plunges ahead into madcap plans that even the lunatics call crazy. To me that this is my future home is the only reason I haven’t already gone postal and am still getting up and unpacking the tools every morning. I look forward to setting up the inside, but that remains a hazy, far-off dream.

In the meantime, the trash showers me with further housewarming presents, which gives me a little motivation kick now and again. Last week it was wood stove pipes (another thing to cross off of the “to-buy” list) and two pretty antique engraved metal sheets for protecting the wall from the wood stove from the heat. This week it was an entire dumpster full of kitchen stuff, out of which I fished a box full of purdy things to eat off of and with. And in a hot second there will be dumpstered organic vegan toast. Yum.

0 Comments on “sticks and carrots

  1. It does get better – believe me. I remember lying in the crawl space of a house from my “other” life, taking apart the ductile iron sewer pipe — crying as shit & piss from the pipe joint leaked onto my clothes, my hair. I hated building then too – but after I installed the new sewer pipe it all somehow seemed worh it. And everytime that I turn on the water or flush the WC, I think back on the despair I felt that day way back when, and sigh. We have to do that again – in the church. I’m not looking forward to it… but I’ll be overjoyed when its done. That is what I hope you’ll feel. Joy and accomplishment.

  2. Pingback: the entire wagon renovation story, from start to finish | click clack gorilla

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