Electricity!

I have been waking early, even before the sun some days, but this morning, I awoke at eight o’clock to the sound of hammering. I wasn’t expecting any workers, but still, I stumbled out of bed to the back porch and looked out the window in case the hammering came from my property. A white truck was parked in the alley behind the garage. Wondering if perhaps the contractor had come here a day or two before he was supposed to be back, I got dressed and went outside.

And oh! There they were: the electric guys. They weren’t scheduled for another ten days and because of a misunderstanding — I thought I’d already accepted their bid, and they thought I hadn’t — I figured it might be even longer before they would be able to do the work. But a cancellation from another woman made room for me. Thank you, woman, whoever you are!

Although the bid allowed for six hours, it took them only a little over three hours. (I emailed the electric folk and asked it that would make any difference in the cost, but I haven’t yet heard from them.)

When I went out to check on the work before they left, I discovered they hadn’t put up an outside outlet. It was the first thing I’d asked for when they came for the estimate, but somehow it got left off the bid. Luckily, they had plenty of time, as well as the part, so that oversight was fixed.

The building doesn’t look as cute and as pristine as it did before all the wiring, but it’s functional, and that is what counts. And although I might not yet have a usable garage, I do have electricity, and that counts, too.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Concrete Reasons

I tried to be clever with the title of this piece, wanting you to think it a metaphor for something vital, but in the end, it says just what it means — concrete.

Yep. Concrete!

The construction workers and the concrete people came today to pour the approach to my garage, as well as finish pouring the basement floor. (They’d done most of the floor a long time ago, but there was a nook that had once been a coal room that didn’t get done the first time, and to prevent a short load fee, they had to wait and do it in conjunction with another short load to equal a full load.)

Little by little, things are getting done. I must admit, I do like people coming to work here. It’s nice to have life, action, activity, even if it’s someone else’s activity rather than my own. (About the only thing I’ve been doing around the place lately is watering my transplants in an effort to keep them alive.) I like that other people are helping me look after my place — it really is a lot of responsibility for one lone woman, especially one who doesn’t know how to do anything; doesn’t, in fact, even know what to look for. (When they were down the basement fixing a leak a while back, they discovered that all the plumbing lines were brittle and would eventually need to be replaced. I think the fellow who pointed it out regrets doing so, because he will be the one who has to crawl in the dark and dank spaces to do the work.)

I’m looking forward to the garage and the back stoop being done — those are safety factors for me. But for the rest of it, yes, it would be nice to have the work finished, but it’s also nice knowing the contractor and his workers will still have reasons — even some concrete reasons — to stop by now and then.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

 

Long Day, Short Post

It was a long day, and because I overused my knee and am tired and sore, this will be short post.

The workers came and worked on my garage — put in the doors and windows, added the trim, and built the frame for the concrete apron.

The garage is starting to look so very nice, but it will be awhile until it’s finished. The overhead door still hasn’t arrived (tomorrow for sure, they say). The electrician was here to give me an estimate on electrifying the building, but they won’t actually be able to do the work for about ten days. And after that, there will be more work — insulating the place, putting up the inside walls (OSB board — whatever that is) and the ceiling.

And then there will be more concrete work — a back stoop as well as a sidewalk from the stoop to the garage.

But still, it’s all coming along nicely.

The workers so kindly cleared away some detritus from the corner of the yard and helped me plant the lilacs that arrived today from the Arbor Day Foundation. Yay! These at least look alive. Another couple of lilacs the foundation sent were simply skinny little twigs with no roots and no sign of life. But I’m treating them as if they are bushes, and who knows, they might surprise me.

Maybe by the time the garage is built, there will be enough stuff planted that it will look like the beginning of a small “estate.”

One can hope!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

 

To Seed or Not to Seed

Every Tuesday, for the past several weeks, has held the promise of more work done on my garage, and tomorrow is no different. The garage door is supposed to be delivered and the electricians are supposed to come to wire the garage as well as the contractor and his helpers to do more work on the trim. Perhaps they will all come as planned. Perhaps it will be just another Tuesday like all the rest.

Meantime, I’m left with the seeds of ideas about what to do with the yard once it is mine. For now, the yard is strewn with materials and piles of lumber scraps as well as the defunct carport, so there’s no use in doing anything such as planting seeds until it is all cleared out. Besides, once the garage is finished and the sidewalk from the back door of the house to the pedestrian door of the garage is built, many loads of dirt will need to be hauled in to even the ground from the house to the garage and all around the garage, especially where the old building used to be.

Then, of course, I will have decisions to make. To plant a ground cover or leave it as dirt is one such decision. I considered a clover yard because it’s a favorite of bees or maybe even a California poppy field, but I have noticed recently how much birds seem to like the bare ground. There must be insects or old seeds or something for them to eat that might not be available to them with a ground cover.

Another decision is what to do with all the old seeds I have — dozens and dozens of packets. I would have thought that seeds wouldn’t go bad — after all, corn has been grown from maize discovered in ancient pueblos — but so far, any of these seeds I have planted have turned out to be moribund. So now I wonder if I should take a risk and sow the seeds in the new earth when it arrives in case they decide to grow, but if they aren’t viable, all I will do is awaken whatever weeds might be in the dirt. I also can’t help thinking that as long as I don’t plant the seeds, there’s always the dream of someday having flowers, but if I plant the seeds, and they are dead, then there won’t be any flowers. And anyway, I’m not sure I want to waste the water on some sort of large-scale planting just yet.

So, to seed or not to seed? Such a conundrum!

But there’s no real need to decide just yet because, so far, Tuesday never seems to come.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

 

Garage Update

It feels as if it has been months since the men were here working on my garage, but it hasn’t even been three weeks. Wow, time sure goes slow when one is having fun — or not!

There have been a couple of things stalling the work — one is that although the lumber yard ordered my door and opener over a month ago, they haven’t had anyone who could deliver it. Something to do with The Bob. People laid off due to falling revenue or out sick or some such.

Another reason is that although the contractor can do the electrical work and in fact had included it in the overall labor cost, the county demands that the work be done by a licensed electrician. I’m not exactly happy about that since it will be adding tremendously to the cost of the garage, but perhaps it won’t be as much of a financial burden as I fear. I can only hope for the best (and hope that the contractor will be able to work out a deal for me.)

There is only one licensed electrician that would agree to do the work and would agree to coordinate with the delivery of the garage door. The last I heard, they will be here Thursday. Or Friday. Or . . .

It’s interesting to me how so much of the work I need done is dependent on other work being done. For example, I need a stoop level with the back door so I can actually use the door as a door. (That extraordinarily deep step up and done is what destroyed my knee, so I can no longer go outside that way, though it’s only me that has a problem. None of the workers have any difficulty going in and out that door, but then, they are all a lot younger and stronger than I am. And anyway, I’m the one who has to live with that hazardous step so it’s my ability or lack thereof that counts.) But that can’t be done until the concrete for the garage apron and the sidewalk from house to garage ready to be poured, and of course, none of that can be done until the garage is finished, and it can’t be finished until I get the door installed and the electricians here.

Nor can I do any landscaping or have them work on the house foundation (fill in some cracks and coat the concrete to protect it) until the garage is done and the old carport removed and . . .

You get the point.

In other words, there is no garage update because there has been no more updating the garage. But soon!

Maybe.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Broken World

The garage door and opener were supposed to be delivered today so the construction guys could come do some more work on my garage, but the lumberyard now says they can’t deliver the door until next week. Apparently, they don’t have a driver due to The Bob. It’s just as well – it’s cloudy and cold with a good chance of rain, though I doubt the rain aspect of today’s weather — there has been so little moisture the last several months and the ground is so desiccated that I think the rain gods have forgotten how to find us.

Still, the wind is picking up, so who knows . . . Of course, if the forecast is at all correct, by the time the door gets here, we’ll be back up in the 90s, and that’s not good weather for building either!

Oddly, I’m not that disappointed about the garage, but I am disappointed not to have the workers here. It would add a bit of excitement to my life and I wouldn’t feel quite so isolated. They might try to get the door here themselves later in the week, but if not, well, there is one thing to look forward to — a picnic at home. The director of the senior center will be visiting each of us for a few minutes this Saturday to check to see how we are doing and to drop off a picnic lunch. It will be good to see her, though maintaining social distancing requirements means no hug. Too bad — I’m feeling touch-starved. Even though all of us seniors won’t be in one place, we will be enjoying a meal together. Even better, it will be a meal I don’t have to fix!

A few friends have been gathering occasionally to play dominoes, and I’ve considered joining them, but I can’t wear a mask for that long, and anyway, although I would like seeing them, I don’t really enjoy playing. Next month, though, regardless of the state of The Bob and the whatever continued requirements there are for us seniors, the Art Guild will be meeting. It will be outside on someone’s patio so we don’t get too close to one another, but oh, such a treat!

Meantime, there is today. I’ve done my stint on the elliptical, am finished writing this blog post, can’t take a walk since I overdid it yesterday, don’t have any urgent yard work to do. I guess I’ll make a cup of tea and escape into The Wheel of Time where some people have the power to heal and some have the power to break the world.

I just realized — that’s what this whole Bob thing feels like: a broken world. Hopefully, by the time I finish reading the saga and that fictional world is put right, our real world will also be put right.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Topping It All

Today’s building show wasn’t quite as dramatic as it was the first couple of days, though the work seemed even more intense. When the framing was being done, the walls going up, the rafters set, every hour saw a huge difference — from a concrete slab to an actual building in progress.

Even though it was just as exciting to watch the building going on today, the changes came more slowly since the various steps seemed a lot more intricate. Trimming the overhang to make way for eventual gutters. Creating the fascia. Applying the tarpaper for the roof.

Shingling.

Even starting in on the siding.

Tomorrow, a couple of the workers will be back to finish the roof and the siding, and then, oh, woe is me. No more excitement until next Monday or Tuesday when the next phase begins, though I’m not sure what that will be. Doors and window maybe? Electricity?

Too bad about The Bob, otherwise I’d want a huge garage christening party when it’s all done. Maybe I’ll do it anyway, even if it’s just with the folks who have been doing the work. After all, by this time, they’re family, right?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Moving Right Along!

Last night when I happened to glance out the window to the backyard, I was taken aback to see a huge wall looming in the middle of the yard. It kind of scared me, though I don’t know why except that it seemed so massive. Today, after they cut the door and window out of that wall, it seems to have shrunk to a more manageable size, and now that the walls are finished and the roof is going up, it’s beginning to look like a building.

It’s amazing to me how much they’ve gotten done in just a couple of days.

It also amazes me how agile and strong they are, with such a great sense of balance. I wonder what it would be like to be able to build a garage or fix leaky pipes, or concrete a foundation or put up a fence — all things they have done for me while I could only watch in awe.

Judging by how much lumber and such is still piled up out there, I sense that even though they are moving right along, there is still a long way to go.

Lucky me! More days of excitement coming my way . . .

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Wonderful Surprise!

Look!

The workers came to start framing the garage today. Such a treat, having the garage that much closer to being workable, and especially, having something different in my life.

As much of a hermit as I am, it’s still been hard to be so isolated, especially when life has been the same, day after day after day.

But today, things were not the same. Nor are they the same tonight. While three of the men worked on the garage, one worked in the basement, concreting the floor beneath the water heater and fixing a leaking pipe. I was all set to be without water tonight so that the concrete could cure, which I could have handled — sort of like an indoor camping trip — but they managed to seal off the hot water pipes. So I have water! Cold water, but it’s still water.

They’re supposed to be back tomorrow to do more work, which will be great. Not just because of additional progress on the building project, and not just for the entertainment value, but to start using up the materials that have been littering my yard for months. It wasn’t so bad in the winter when I didn’t go out anyway, but now that I have a few plants to take care of, I do have to go out, and it’s rather unsafe trying to meander around equipment and stumbling across uneven ground.

I’m looking forward to having my yard back. Meantime, tomorrow should be another wonderful day filled with joy.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Holding Pattern

My garage is here. As you can see, it needs to be put together, but who knows when that will be. One of the construction workers is sick and they have to wait for the test results, though I have a hard time believing he has The Bob. What are the odds of one of the five people I have seen in the past two weeks being the only person in the county to have it?

Still, they can’t go by the odds, so we’re all waiting for test results.

When they were going to be here building the garage, they were also going to fix my toilet (the wax ring needs to be replaced) and while the water was turned off, they were going to fix the crumbling plaster wall behind the commode, but that probably won’t happen. They will try to get here fix the toilet, and we’ll try to figure out the safest way to do that (me, being “elderly,” staying away from them, and then disinfecting the bathroom afterward). They would wait if they could, but if the floor rots from all the moisture, they’d have to fix it, and their agenda is full enough.

On the other hand, if I don’t have a toilet, I won’t need toilet paper. (Joke.)

Like almost everyone else, I am in a holding pattern, though I have to admit, it has more to do with a wonky knee than any stay-at-home order. Luckily, the knee has healed enough so I can walk around the house without support from my hiking poles. (The poor things are still in shock from that ignoble use.)

I’m used to waiting, though, so it’s not as if living in a holding pattern is anything new.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.