Rendered Fat Content


Domenico Remps: Cabinet of Curiosities (1690s)
"I should very soon move back to my desk
and stop writing while hunched over this piano bench like I have been for the last few weeks."

For most of The Grand Refurbish, we focused upon single activities. We were either engaged in this or that, but after fifteen full weeks of effort, we've pretty much concluded the big stuff. Kurt Our Painter continues to motor through rooms, now in well-practiced order. He no longer need enter first with an act of discovery. He's learned what to expect and he's not lacking in necessary judgement. One crack's pretty much like every other. He enters and sets to work, fixing cracks and prepping windows and trim while his fillings set. He tapes himself off for a day to run his sander before laying down the same sequence of finishes: primer, first coat, then TopCoat. The closet gets the economy service because nobody ever needs a finely finished closet. The rest of the room he works to immaculate. Then on to the next.

The Planking finished, the leftovers either stored in the basement or carted off as trash.
So much waste and there's really no avoiding it. We've accumulated an impressive pile of leftovers and extractions featuring both fine, furniture-quality boards in very short lengths and a few pieces of original trim deemed too narrow for our design or too damaged to retain. Two old thresholds also rest in there, though one of them, another original with grain matching the grand staircase stair noses, got repurposed into the last of those noses, the one we had to fabricate to interface with the vinyl planking, an operation I questioned as unlikely to work that ended up working beautifully. It's the finest stair riser nose of the bunch, right at the top and most prominent.

Now we're down to unsticking that final pair of double hung windows and resetting the last of the window trim on the six foot tall double hung overlooking the stairs. We had to widen latch cuts on every door 1/16th of an inch. We hauled doors for the best part of an hour to celebrate. A storm threatening or promising, I felt compelled to clean up the yard I'd so long neglected in favor of refinishing doors. Iris that The Muse had thinned needed storing in peat and chopped leaves so that they will be happy overwintering. Maple tree helicopters covered every square inch of the place and I managed to put a pretty decent dent in that crop. I was twice to the Ranch Supply before noon and installed the first stripped and polished door hinges. Joel Our Carpenter was digging through our refuse pile to find that final length of tiny moulding I'd painted for him weeks ago now. Our finished work inventory of doors only holds three as of end of the day yesterday, the rest duly distributed to their respective rooms without once nicking Kurt's masterwork stair railing and balusters, a minor miracle.

By the end of the shift, Kurt and I disassembled the Pop-Up Paint Shoppe, probably for the last time, putting it in its case. The excuse for renting the scaffolding finally resolved itself yesterday, so we could disassemble and return that at any time. The whole operation seems in rapid decompression. Joel Our Carpenter has been excusing himself to flit over to finish other jobs. We still have the living rooms to repaint and their windows to replace, five HUGE almost floor to ceiling monsters which will force fresh trim on us, inside and out, and library shelves, but we've none of the total scourge work we visited upon the upstairs and on the staircase. This project's contained now and finishable with relative baby steps. No grand campaigns left to wage. We've basically resolved the mysteries and we're sweeping up the pieces. We decided to defer work on the master bedroom closet until next Spring. Neither of us could quite yet face the displacement that work would bring. I'm warmly anticipating vacuuming out the HVAC system and hiring professional cleaners to rid us of this incessant dust and to finally finish unpacking. The longest move might one day be done. My books, so long absent, will soon stand proudly on their shelves again. I should very soon move back to my desk and stop writing while hunched over this piano bench like I have been for the last few weeks. If it's not one thing, it's another. It's all Thises&Thatsesses together now.


Friday came in with wet cat feet this week as a string of storms promise respite from our prolonged drought and an end to a wonderful Indian Summer. I came to judge each day by its paint-drying properties. I'd track each day's warming temperatures, hoping for sixty before noon and holding on until almost sunset. Six hours of prime paint drying weather proved sufficient, but now that I've finished painting everything but the cats, I no longer need to keep track of that. I watch this storm moving in with gratitude. It's exhibiting perfect timing. As with so much in this life and on this project, things have tended to happen at convenient times, not too awfully early or disturbingly late. Even delays tended to reframe horizons into better than originally planned. We have not just been pawns to the project but we have largely been pawns to it.

I began my writing week by considering the most infinitesimal of differences, the depth of a coat of paint in
Milage. "That last millionth of an inch makes all of the difference, the rest just preliminary to purpose."

I next extolled the benefits of having some fun with
KidWork, the most popular posting this period. "Until it's fun, it's better left undone. That wisdom might strongly suggest that our first and foremost responsibility might have always been to make what we're doing fun. If it's not fun, why bother?"

I considered the utter impossibility of following the well-intended instructions for properly applying a
TopCoat of paint to a surface and perhaps the greater purpose of such effort. "My goal will be to drive the glance away from these baseboards. They should fade into background, serve as the frame for the larger picture and so become essentially invisible while standing there in plain sight."

I next reflected upon an increasingly common experience of anyone relying upon The Market to provide something in
Shortages. "What we once imagined as our birthright, unlimited supplies of goods provided by a benevolent market, has now become the exception as that same market struggles to keep up with demand."

I considered how it might be that I've learned how to be so continually self-sacrificing in
GrowningUp. "The time spent completing the task lost forever. The result, eternal, or just as well as."

I noticed how much detritus we've accumulated over time in
Leavings, "Every human activity produces leftovers, Leavings."

I ended my writing week concluding that I seem to be
Transitioning. "It was our intentions, our projections, our project in ways that this is not our world, not our decision, not our prospect out here where we actually live and breathe."

This week ended up surprising me. It started in the thick of things and thinned out considerably to leave just some Thises and Thatsesses remaining. Wisdom visited, reminding my how very little can constitute great significance when I can think sideways, that GrowningUp properly involves some KidWork, that TopCoats reveal whatever lies beneath them, that Shortages might help make us better, and that there's always some waste and some subtle transitioning. Things tend to feel the same for lengthy periods, then switch out on us. Thanks for following along with me here!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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