And now on to something completely different.
Progress on the house has gone pretty quickly, and the builder says that the house should be completed by "Marchy-April". Hopefully, it will be done before May so that Jennifer won’t have to worry about packing, moving, and cleaning on her own while I’m off in Europe that month. We’ve been maintaining a website dedicated to our house’s progress, and you can see it at www.stonegoose.com/house. They’ve started putting on the composite roofing, and the siding is supposed to be done by the end of next week. Which means, of course, that we’ve now reached the stage where our contractor — with whom we’ve been very pleased so far — gets this grin on his face when we come up with some ideas that we think sound Really Cool but which just won’t work anymore.
For example: when we visited Jennifer’s sister and brother-in-law over New Year’s Eve, we saw that they had an electrical outlet recessed into the floor in their living room. That, we thought, was very clever and a good idea; it would save having to drag electrical cords for lamps all over the living room, and we could put furniture on top of it to hide it. We suggested this to our contractor, who got The Grin and said: "Well, what would have once been a $50 job is now a $500 job…" But one of the reasons why we like this contractor so much is that he also went on to explain why such a feature would have been a bad idea anyway… you always have to worry about hiding the outlet, and it gets filled with dirt and has to therefore be replaced every year or so, and so on.
But it is now time to start thinking about wiring. Jennifer and I went to the house today, dragging her mother along, and went through each of the rooms and came up with ideas for where to put outlets and lamps and switches. And, of course, being the book and computer nerds that we are, our highest priorities were making sure that the house would have adequate reading light and adequate power supply in the computer room. We just happened to see the A/C sub-contractor at the house while we were there, and he suggested that we might also put an outlet fan in the computer room to help keep it cooler; and we thought it would be a grand idea. Along with the idea of putting in an extra exhaust fan in the closet where the cats’ litter boxes are going to be.
This is all still very overwhelming for me at times. It’s now stretching the point where I can say, "Six months ago, I was still a secretary at a public University with few prospects yada yada yada". But it’s still been less than a year; and now, here I am, in a programming job, engaged to be married to my best friend and soulmate, and building a home. How things change.
Of course, some things remain comfortingly familiar. Late last night, after three days of fighting off a case of bronchitis, I finally, at Jennifer’s urging, went to the emergency room with seriously clogged lungs and a fever. Nothing major, not like I had when I had pneumonia last year, but still serious enough for me to lie in bed shivering and complaining about how cold it was under the three or four blankets that Jennifer had piled on top of me. While wandering around the house today with Jennifer and her mother, I started coughing and feeling short of breath. I’m familiar with this feeling, having lived with asthma all of my life, and while I was light-headed from coughing a couple of times, I felt okay wandering around the outside of the house on the beams of the porch looking at outlet possibilities. It was only when Jennifer’s mother said, "Richard, I know you’re a grown man but I’m starting to get worried about you," that I finally agreed to go home. I’m not the kind of guy who breaks an arm and says, "I’ll just walk it off," but I have lived with asthma all my life and I’m pretty familiar with my limits. Still, though, it was nice to get home and lie down for a bit.
I moved away from my parents’ house almost fifteen years ago, and since then I’ve gotten pretty used to coping with asthma attacks on my own. And while my asthma has definitely improved over that time, it was still nice to have someone looking out for me. I’m not saying that my own parents never did, it’s just that I live over 100 miles away from them now and it’s not really convenient for them to keep a watchful eye over me at all times.
Well, I think that this long entry will be a sufficient test of my new online posting system. Now to see if I can convince my boss that bronchitis is a sufficient reason to let me avoid going up to Portland again this week…
Until next time…