Tuesday the pressure rose, not just coming from my own head anymore, but from the rising pressure in the air, the dark clouds, in the wind threatening rain.
I stared up for a long time, a hammer in the hand at my side, trying to read the sky. Would it rain and force me inside? Would it rain and ruin the new coat of stain? The sky here likes to bluff, and I still can’t accurately read its ticks. All day the sky threatened and teased. Better work faster, winter is coming, and fall. Soon it’ll be raining everyday. The wind jostled walnuts from the branches above. With each gust they hailed down around me, some cracking open on my work table as they fell. Better be ready, in a second you’re going to have to sprint to get all the power tools inside before they are soaked. But it didn’t rain.
When I finally got the rotten right corner beams out and replaced, everything started to move in fast forward. I insulated the rest of the right side, put up the rest of the sanded siding with Red, and put on another coat of protective stain, finishing just as it became too dark to see what I had done.
I had been just before the point of ultimate despair, towel throwing, ready to give up. I had woken up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, churning the darkest bits of pessimism back up to the surface. Building has drowned out time for writing, time for anything at all, except it’s own never-ending abyss of “to-do.” I’ll never finish before winter, I thought, what’s the point. I’ll just stay in bed until spring comes again, think about it again then.
I tried to visualize getting up in the morning and unpacking the tools. The images were heavy and terrible, loaded with dread. I pictured the scene again and again, I would get up, and I would violently rip the last piece of rotten beam out with my bare hands. I would cut the replacement beams to size, and put them in. I replayed the scene, forcing myself to visualize success not failure, until I fell asleep.
When I woke up I didn’t feel better, but I wrote a list: 1. Get birth certificate translated. 2. Replace corner beams.
At the end of the day I bought a Schwarzbier (black beer), took out a big red pencil, and crossed number two off, three times, four times, triumphant.