Posts Tagged ‘House building’

Life and great expectations….and a poem.

May 5, 2009

pict01771My husband Fred has been in NYC for 5 days and I have felt his absence sharply.  He travels too much for his company at times, but we have adjusted because it’s not ALL the time.  I know of one fellow who is off around the world every month.   I would go crazy because Fred and I have been married for so long now, and we are closer than most couples.  Perhaps because we married in middle age and came from bad marriages before, but we are close.   It’s funny, when he leaves on a trip, I have all these plans that I THINK I want to do, around the house, with friends, but after the second day, I am looking for his presence.  I am listening for sounds in this house of him…this house he rebuilt, originally a rather small 1880’s farmhouse in what was once, a very long time ago….a rural area 3 miles south of Atlanta.  Every room now, and there are 12 of them…has his handprint, in the rebuilding of walls, ceilings, addition of a whole wing and a new and large kitchen.  Of course, most of it is not finished…there are baseboards missing, and drywall still to be finished, trim work, but he did it all. This house is a monument to his incredible creativity and ability.   And I don’t care if it is ‘ ever finished. It’s a work in progress and as long as we have something to finish, we entertain ourselves with plans and wishlists.

I don’t sleep well without his lump in the bed next to me.  It’s been 5 days of interrupted sleep.  The disruption of the familiar.  I don’t cook or eat in health when he’s gone:  another disruption.

We talk on the phone, but he’s on the showroom floor all the time.  They love him, and he’s been doing some of the same jobs….heading the crews all over the country for years.  At least he’s eating well, and expensively, because the clients eat constantly, throw dinners for him and the other clients.  He doesn’t sleep well, because my lump isn’t in the bed next to him.

He comes home tonight and I have to clean up my act.  The house is fine, it’s the food I have been eating for 5 days.  Ice cream cones, salami sandwiches, brie, and pink lemonade.

Not a great diet.  It’s usually lots of fruit and cereal for breakfast,  eggs from our chickens, and roast chicken (not from our hens),  lots of veggies for dinner.  Sometimes, fresh loaves of homemade bread.

We are planning on building another house, this time in the NC mountains.  His parents died a few years ago, and left us 12 acres up in the mountains. They came from Miami and never saw it but once.

It’s totally dark up there, no street lights…no electricity at all.  The nearest neighbor is about 1/2 mile away, and we will have to run electric poles up the mountain.  It’s scary up there too, because there are lots of deer, ticks and sometimes what the locals call ‘puma’.  But every Fourth of July, we pack up the dogs and kid and go up there and camp for a few days.  This year will be special because we finally got the survey done and we know exactly the boundaries of our acreage.  Or we at least have the paperwork.  And it’s a lot of fun and argument to plan a house up there.  The mountain we are on is beautiful except we have to go very high and cut down a lot of trees to even get sun.  I have to have light.

There is an old house on our property we have been taking some of the wider planks from for years.  It’s falling down, but the construction is fascinating.  It’s all tongue and groove, inside and out, and there is enough wood to build another house.  We have found that the widest planks, all heart pine, about 14-16 inches makes great tables, boxes, etc.  You don’t do any stain, because  this wood just needs a coat of poly and these incredible colors emerge out of the wood.

We will go up there this July, for the blackberries are ripe then, and we come home with everything we haven’t eaten.  It’s rough camping when we go, latrine, washing in a very cold stream (unless I heat pots of water on a fire…and line up the family for baths) tracking deer, playing the fiddle in the middle of the falling darkness around a campfire, hearing the errie and scary screams of these mythological puma, calling the dogs back from running the deer,  picking off ticks, and eating….cooking and eating seem endless in the mountains.  Perhaps it’s the fresh air, but after setting up camp, there is little to do except that.  This year we go up with chain saws and clear something for a house.

And about that house…I want a small house, one story, or perhaps a barn, with lofts, but we will be rather elderly when we finally actualize this house.  I want something that doesn’t have tons of windows to wash and something with an open plan. I want  woodstoves and quiet.  I will get plenty of that because there aren’t neighbors near by, but the one that is raises collies.  So we will have, hopefully, a pick of my favorite breed.

Along with the ticks.

Lady Nyo


“You’re all I have”

Heard in the dark

Heart almost stopping

In an inattentive breast.

I dare not look at him

Too bald a sentiment

And too true to bear

A light, comforting answer.

What would occasion such words,

Such a piteous sentiment?

When one has lived

Within another’s hours, days, years,

The fabric of this making

Can be forgotten.

The warp and weave, the very thread

That appears as if out of air

(and it does)

becomes substantial,

it covers and clothes more than the body

and the life blood of sentiment,


Becomes the river within, unending,

Even transcending the pulse of life.

“You’re all I have,”

A whispered refrain

That echoes in the heart

And burrows deep.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

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