Seven/Eight Weeks Down – More Heat, More Rain, More House

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Wow, did we start the seventh week out super hot, which continued through that Thursday. This whole house thing is becoming a blur, thus the late weekly report. Finishing up the top floor was a priority as roofing was to begin on Friday.

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So up went the rest of the walls, the new dormers were done and the facia installed all around the house’s perimeter.

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Very time consuming work, but worth it as small details like diamonds at the points finished off the look. Our crew, Ivan, Juan and Leo, continue to work very hard. We think they are great.

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We found this tiny toy in the walls with a little wooden car, so he hung from a nail throughout the week as inspiration.

Sadly, the last couple of weeks got away from me to do the updates, but suffice it to say, we were super busy trying to get all the details in place so that we can get into the house sometime after Labor Day as John has been offered a new job with Bellevue School District as a music teacher.

We lost our bathroom finally and completely. It’s a challenge, but we have wonderful neighbors in the Bush’s and others who’ve offered so we’re using their place to shower and wash clothes.

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Keeping the Airstream clean is a challenge with all the dust, and now we have a list running of eight different things that need to be looked at. We have an appointment this coming Friday to deal with all of the issues: a broken air conditioner, two leaks, missing rivets, etc. We’re wondering if our model is up to snuff and lust after the Eddie Bauer model, which seems tougher.

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The main floor got more support from additional beams installed in the basement and the main floor. Most of the framing is complete now.

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Upstairs, our five foot sliding door became an eight foot slider. A happy mistake as the look will be cleaner and the windows very large. Speaking of windows, they get installed this week.

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In the eighth week, there was rain. Lots of it. Biblical, in fact. As our weather patterns change, and the world copes with more severe storms, we only hope that our house will be strong enough to endure. With all of the nails and wood that have gone in to the framing, we think it will. And we were lucky that the roof was completed the day before the storm.

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Last Thursday, the decks got torched down by the roofers and now their work is complete. We are continuing to research rail systems and are banking on cable railing, which, of course, is the more expensive, but less intrusive on the view. We will most likely choose them.

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Sunrises and sunsets continue to inspire. SeaFair is next up on the agenda. Our neighborhood becomes party central, particularly next door when the clowns arrive. We are not going to promote a party this year as we don’t have railings, a bathroom, nor a kitchen. Low key is where it’s at for us. Luckily, we’ve been invited to several neighborhood parties.

At the end of the eighth week, we are getting weary, or at least I am. John is continuing to be diligent on details and measurements, working out kitchen cabinetry and the mud/laundry room.

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Buster is being the amazing dog that he is, greeting and escorting neighbors up and down the property, meeting lots of new dogs, and generally just living through all the chaos like a champ.

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I’m feeling a bit stressed from project managing, but the trip to Portland last weekend really made me feel wonderful as I got to see many former students and get caught up on their successful lives. Caitlin got married to Mark, and hosted a garden reception to celebrate. They have a wonderful place in Northeast Portland. It reminded me of how important those years were to my life and how I wish I could teach again. They are all such wonderfully talented people.

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Yesterday, a neighbor came by with her son to see the house. She is dealing with the same issues from Rheumatoid Arthritis that my mom did for many, many years. One of the conditions is wafer thin skin that can break and bleed at any tiny bump to it. She had bumped it in the morning and it opened up in our house. Suddenly, I was back years ago to the year before my mom passed when she was in such pain, and the daily trips to see her in hospital. This woman is brave, as was my mom, but it gave me the chance to see the house in a new light – we may move, change our lives completely, but memories are indelible, and they will continue to color our lives in unexpected ways. The rest of the day I spent sitting on the sky deck remembering – and hoping that my neighbor feels no embarrassment, and that her life will be long and blessed.

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And now, pre-windows, our house looks like this. I’m sure I will perk up considerably this week knowing that we are on the home stretch to moving in.

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Airstreaming Receives a Terrific Review

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“With no wasted space yet plenty of emotion, the simplicity of Schabarum’s writing is a marvel. Compact sentences brim with an appreciation for character and the lonely expanse of suburban life. The constantly shifting characters become inextricably linked in different ways, until they ultimately separate, finding freedom in loss and letting go.” – Kirkus Reviews

BOOK REVIEW

In Schabarum’s (The Narrows, Miles Deep, 2011, etc.) novel, a mother and daughter are at odds following the loss of their husband and father, and a couple seeks escape after their baby is stillborn. Outside of Kansas City in the late 1960s, the bonds between 16-year-old Linda and her mother, Clare, are wearing thin in the wake of her father’s death. While Clare worked to support the family, her blind father bestowed upon Linda his love of jazz. The loss of her husband creates an even greater financial strain for Clare, and she’s forced to find work for Linda. Linda leaves school to help Martha and Jack, an expectant couple in their late 30s. She’s thrust into their day-to-day routine, helping with chores and housework while Martha is on bed rest. When Jack is away on business, Linda and Clare rush to Martha just in time to help deliver her stillborn baby. Linda’s presence becomes a calming force for Martha and Jack as they rebuild themselves and their relationship after the loss of their child. Jack buys an Airstream trailer and makes plans with Martha to leave their life behind and go “streaming.” Jack loves it: “From a service manager’s point of view [Jack] had an appreciation for how everything was put together: no wasted space, easy to maintain, easy to fix. He marveled at its simplicity.” Meanwhile, Linda and Clare, still ravaged by loss, are both tempted by the freedom of a life apart from one another. With no wasted space yet plenty of emotion, the simplicity of Schabarum’s writing is a marvel. Compact sentences brim with an appreciation for character and the lonely expanse of suburban life. The constantly shifting characters become inextricably linked in different ways, until they ultimately separate, finding freedom in loss and letting go.

A somber exploration of the confines of suburban life and the secrets that can sustain or suffocate.