PureSchmaltz

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Homemade

Tractoring

tractoring

Gulls Following a Farmer on his Tractor, State Historical Society of Iowa (Date Unknown)
" … what else have we got to amuse ourselves with?"

The final few furlongs of Our Grand Refurbish seem to condense all the effort into a few remaining tasks, with each taking on the weight and importance of the sum of all the prior pieces. The final coat of paint goes on in Jovian gravity, heavy and dense. The last screw set seems to pierce stone rather than wood, the driver groans under the strain. Minutes no longer slip by, but crawl. The day seems too small to contain our aspirations for it and for ourselves. Kurt Our Painter puts his head down for a day of dedicated Tractoring, him seeming to possess a hydrostatic transmission with an amazingly low gear, capable of shoving his way through anything. His usual slow-motion Kabuki dance becomes, if anything, even more intense. He appears relentless, but effortlessly so. If the past few days have been short and slow, these next couple will might well turn endless.

A force propels us now, more pulling than pushing.

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Humpty

Humpty
Ohara Koson: Two White Geese (Japanese, Meiji era, beginning of 20th century)
" … stripping out soft brass screw heads and struggling with heavy things."

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings horses and all the kings men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

-Traditional Nursery Rhyme


The Villa Vatta Schmaltz seems to be experiencing a bout of Humpty as The Muse and I try to put The Villa back together again.

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CatchingShadows

CatchingShadows
Ohara Koson: Six Geese and Shadows (1926)
"Slowing down and showing up …"

I seemed somehow primed to anticipate that The Law of Unintended Consequences would tend toward rolling snake eyes, the worst possible outcomes, but Our Grand Refurbish has produced more counter examples than supportive ones. On samples, The Muse's choice of color seemed unremarkable, perhaps bordering on regrettable, being a shade of grey, for cripes sake, but in practice, it became a chameleon color, capable of surprising variations depending upon even small changes in light and shadow. Rather than drab grey walls, The Villa now has vibrant technicolor ones, each corner marking at least a subtle shift in color or texture, each angle shifting the nature of each room. It's all more than a little bit overwhelming, for the rooms seem to be in continual motion. Leave a room and it will have changed by the time you return. Step into a room and some subtle or significant shift might imprint. The place seems to have grown at least one additional dimension.

I'm most impressed with the Villa's new proclivity for CatchingShadows.

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GooseChasing

GooseChasing
Ohara Koson: Two white geese swimming by reeds (1928)
"I'd chase more geese any time it's possible."

Near the end, usually, an opportunity appears to turn tedious ladders into rapidly accelerating chutes, an apparent shortcut appears. Of course, by long tradition, most anyone would grab this opportunity like the lure it most certainly seems, rubber worm and all. Even I, experienced refurbisher now, fell prey to this call. Our carpenter had located the material he needed to refurbish the long window seat and shelves in our soon-to-be showcase library. Those boards were in Portland, 245 miles away, and the supplier couldn't say if FexEx® would even consent to ship the stuff. I volunteered to drive over and back to collect the boards, insisting that they be no longer than five feet so that they'd fit into The Schooner. Joel Our Carpenter missed the confirming call and by the time he'd caught up to it, the outlet had closed for the day. That was Wednesday.

We parted that evening with the understanding that Joel would call me just as soon as he'd confirmed that the order was ready.

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Adopting

Adopting
Robert Delaunay: Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon (1912–13)
" … will we regale them of stories of what was once there but is there no longer?"

The Muse and my relationship with our beloved Villa Vatta Schmaltz does not very much resemble a marriage, marked as it has been by extended absences. Nor does it look very much like a birth family deal. We do not share DNA. Our life here more closely favors Adopting, for we've taken this place into our family and, or so it also seems, this place has been steadily Adopting us. It's a curious relationship in that The Muse and I have been largely focused upon improving this place since we first moved in, and pursuing improvements might be hints that we're criticizing our adopted family member. I think my second wife and I got hitched on the prospect of who we might become together, but the differences between what we were and what we might improve into got us before we could arrive at our destination together. There's something genuinely poisonous about focusing upon achieving future improvements. Nothing turns off the present and no future directly influences anything before it, though the sense that we're not quite there yet can tear asunder even the truer loves. We are always here yet and never quite there yet.

That said, we love this place as if it were family.

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Spurt

Spurt
Reflection in freshly-installed front window in The Villa Vatta Schmaltz
"I'm inhabiting what was then just aspiration …"

Wasn't it just yesterday morning that I complained about The Grand Refurbish moving forward in slow motion? By noon, I found myself struggling to keep up with a pace I had not anticipated reappearing. This experience served as another reminder that time, contrary to popular misconceptions, does not move in any consistently regular fashion. It moves by Spurt and stall, by fits and starts. Clocks apparently more or less accurately track an average rate of time's expansion, a smoothed representation of a much more chaotic phenomenon. Clocks inexorably misrepresent actual experience and easily influence anticipation. When time seems to move slowly, which it sometimes does, it seems as though it might forever thereafter continue so moving, never any faster. When time whizzes by, as it also sometimes seems to, who takes the time to consider that the apparent velocity of time probably amounts to an illusion? You could be sitting right beside me and we could be experiencing time completely differently without ever noticing how our individual experiences differed.

It should be no surprise that Our Grand Refurbish still carries a surprise or two inside her.

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Disarray

Disarray
Robert Delaunay: Champs de Mars: La Tour Rouge (1911)
"We might never finish, but we're real close to done …"

I can tell that The Grand Refurbish nears completion because the house seems in ever greater Disarray. I'd imagined that as we finished rooms and even started re-inhabiting them, that the clutter might recede. Certainly, the second floor now holds only traces of the messes that dominated there for weeks and weeks, but as the effort has concentrated on the final two rooms, the materiel necessary to affect the remaining changes have been crammed into an even smaller space. I'm forever tripping over something and have taken to avoiding the workrooms unless its before or after the work day. The painter needs his space as does the carpenter, and I can do whatever I need to do in there off hours, though most of what I do in there amounts to tripping over something or tidying up, even though I know for certain that the surest way to increase the net sense of disarray involves somebody tidying up for somebody else, especially if its done without first seeking advice, counsel, or permission. The living room and library are currently in such disarray that they disturb me. I feel moved to nap through the balance of this effort. Wake me when the clutter's gone. I have no stomach for it.

Last week, The Muse cleaned up a mess I'd made by creating one of her own.

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Taping

Taping
Robert Delaunay: Paysage au disque (1906–07)
" … a final fit of preparation before the legacy begins."

I noticed as I was finishing applying the first coat of paint on our newly installed living room window's exterior, that I had spent more time preparing to paint the window than I had spent painting the window. This tends to be the case with most home improvement activities, yet I don't usually focus very much attention on the preparation, more often perceiving it as a distraction from the real operation rather than the lion's share of it. Like many, I suspect, I don't have much stomach for prep work. It often seems tedious. It produces little lasting effect, its chief benefit being what it lends to the final result, but it leaves few if any footprints. It's enduring value falls under The Dog That Didn't Bark category and gets lost in rounding.

Yesterday, i was Taping the window trim I was intending to paint, this to reduce the likelihood that I'd slop the paint color where I didn't want it.

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NotNoing

NotNoingLeger
Fernand Léger: Contrast of Forms (Contraste de formes) (1913)
"
I'm uncertain if anyone can ever outgrow that stance."

I want to speak this morning about an increasingly common situation, a form of deliberate misapprehension wherein people seek, often with considerable passion, information they might otherwise reasonably suspect isn't true, either due to its source or its form. This information often seems overly convenient, perfectly satisfying an expectation long accustomed to disappointment. It might come from a source long-acknowledged as unreliable or partisan, someone with the reputation of saying anything that might rile someone. The effect of such a transmission, deliberate misapprehension in and self-destruction out, seems perfectly represented in the vaccine deniers proudly standing up for their superior understanding and patriotism. Their position doesn't quite seem stupid, but more intentional than that. It mostly appears belligerent but without clear purpose. The self-satisfied expressions these possessors of negative knowledge display leaves me feeling 'sore afraid.'

This position seems the sole of Homemade.

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