Sunday, September 28, 2008

The House, As Usual

The weather, having giving us a break for so long, is being nasty again. It's raining today, it rained yesterday, and rain is predicted until Wednesday, when we get a one-day break followed by another three or four days of rain. We're trying to get some of our drywall delivered during the short break in the rain so that we can get started on the basement.

Affordable siding options still elude us, but we are hot on the trail. Other than that it's just all the little things that need to be done to get us into the new house and out of this one.

I'm learning much more than I want to about carpentry; we can't afford to have anyone square up the exterior doors or hang the interior doors, so I get elected. I also have to put up missing straps and nailers for the drywall and modify and install a door frame that was never finished.

When we finally get to move into the house, it won't really be finished. I expect we'll have a liveable basement and first floor, but the top floor will have to wait. And even when we can live on all three floors, there will be a lot of work to do fixing problems. A lot of those we paid to build this house let us down in one way or another.

The electrical work, at least, seems to be first-rate, for which I will be forever grateful to my brother, who has been my electrician's help desk for these many months while I struggled through this.

There are other things going on at the Brooks household, of course, but it's the house that dominates our thoughts and activities these days. Perhaps soon it will be over, at least to the point where I can write about more interesting things in this blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Autumn is upon us, and with every little nighttime chill and every colorful leaf I am reminded that the new house is still not done. We still have to get the siding finished, the drywall hung, and the decks put on, plus all the normal buttoning up of electrical and plumbing. Oh yes, and heating (I recall as another chill hits me).

Siding is the biggest issue. I can't do that on my own, and everybody we've had look at the job wants to start from scratch, which we cannot afford. I can hang drywall with some help from my young, healthy eldest son. I can finish the electrical on my own with no problem. I'm already beginning work on the decking. And the amount of money involved in the plumbing and heating is withing our budget.

So, if we solve the siding issue, I will be able to write more opimistically about a move-in date for the new house. Right now the less than 150-foot move from our front door to the new house's back door seems a long way into the future.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gray Day

The weather today was gray. Not rainy, just a little nippy and cloudy. But something else is gray, and has been for quite awhile, but it never affected me as much as it did today.

What's gray is my mustache, which I am growing out for a small role in The Village Players' upcoming production of Oklahoma! My mustache and beard have been coming in mostly gray for many years now, and it makes me look a little older, or at least more like my actual age.

But today, as I checked out at the grocery store, with a teen girl at the register, I had something of a shock. I watched her ring up the purchase, saw the amount, and reached into my wallet. But when I looked up again. the total on the screen was slightly less. I paid accordingly. And then when I got out to the car it struck me that, today being Tuesday, I was being given our local market's Tuesday discount. For seniors.

I am not actually old enough for the discount, which kicks in at 55, I believe, but I doubt whether the young lady at the register could tell my age that accurately. But it does give one pause. When I auditioned for the play, the director had me read for the part of Jud Fry, the villian. I thought I gave a good reading, and I still think so. But I didn't get the part, probably because Jud is supposed to be quite a bit younger than me. Ouch.

It turns out that it's just as well that I didn't get a part that big; the new house, the old house, two young boys in school, and one adult child who is relying on me (or at least my car, it varies with Karen's schedule) for transportation to work, has left me with little time for studying lines and lyrics.

Or, unfortunately, writing long blog entries. Until next time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I can't even begin to tell you what's going on here without being confusing, depressing, or both, and I don't like either option on this Web site. Don't look for much on house updates once the insulation is in, expect for the occasional update on my own work; we hit a snag with siding, which is a long story and unlikely to have a happy ending for anyone. We'll solve the problem, but it will take even more time.

Transportation is something of a nightmare, with three drivers sharing two cars. Only two are working regular jobs, but the third (that's me) still needs wheels to pick up kids after school, and so I end up driving either Tom or Karen to and from work most days. And whichever one I take, it takes about two hours out of my day.

Fortunately, I expect a third car, a Jeep, to be available for Tom within a week or so. Which is good, because I need to get back to gainful employment, since I'm not contributing enough to the house construction to justify the lost wages. There are things I can do here and there on electrical work even before the drywall goes up, but nothing that will substantially speed up the completion of the house, and nothing I can't just do on my days off.

William and Daniel are settling into school, which is about the only part of our family life that even pretends to be routine. Karen's hours are crazy as always, I have a fairly intense rehearsal schedule coming up (although I'm playing a small role in Oklahoma! and I can probably miss a night here and there without doing any damage), and Thomas works evenings. I spend almost as much time driving as I did when I was working at NPC. Trying not to go back to that; it's just too far away.

Anyway, it's time for me to sit down and do the annual paperwork for school. Health cards, permission slips, volunteer forms, acknowledgments of receipt of the various and sundry rules and regulations. Apparently it is just not possible for anything to be straightforward or simple anymore. Good night.