May 24, 2008

New projects

We have started into one of our single largest
details, opening the new entrance onto the street. Three years we got permission to reopen the 13th century arch on the street.

In the 17th century (give or take a hundred years), they started taxing property
owners on the size and nature of the openings in their buildings. Openings = Wealth.
A street-arch meant business and the high tax led to the majority of the arches being filled in to avoid the taxes. Centuries later, with new tax methods, we are rediscovering our past, and reopening the arch. This Arch, long ago, was the interface between the merchant who owned our house and the customers in the streets.

For us it will become the front door and relegate the walnut doors I had made with my dad 3 years ago, to the "garage" doors they were meant to be. We are looking forward to finally taking this step. It involves re-routing the drain line, the water main, electrical switches, doorbells, mailbox, and about 2 tons of stone. Oscar was very excited to participate, tearing apart an old stone wall is lots of fun, he even wrote out a schedule:

practice guitar --- 10 minutes
Work - Work - Work!

The whole work/play thing is still unfolding. For me there is little difference (perhaps having to do only with whether I drink my wine during or after). My work is play, it is still what I want to do on my weekends and a sore back or smashed finger is the smudge on my apron that marks my accomplishment. For Oscar this is still forming. "Play" is a game, it comes in a box or employs a toy. When he is in his fort however that is "work", things are being made, mostly defensive structures for my eventual attack! but it's work. I remember well my father trying to instill a joy of such work in me. We would spend summers in the "family fort", an actual log cabin in the Connecticut woods. What I remember first is the lists he would make before he left for work. Only years later did I realize that he thought he was leaving a menu of fun things to do all day, at the time I saw it as an unrealistic challenge to my summer vacation!

You rebel against your parents
and then...... you become them.

Now I am trying to remember whatever was coursing through my ten year old mind and take heed. I want Oscar to find that Joy of Work, to find pleasure in craft but I'm not entirely certain of how to affect it.

We installed a marquis over our front door, a glass canopy to
keep the rain out. I used a piece of 1/2" tempered glass which appropriately disappears on
the exterior and does an amazing reappearing act every sunny day around 5 pm, with a shifting
prismatic effect that brings life to the white stone walls and anyone who happens into our home.
Somehow it's such a new-age touch in such an old place that it boggles the mind.

To un-boggle the mind, I wanted to share a radio program, This American Life, which is one of the most heralded programs on NPR, with a reputation for "stories about why everyone else is so interesting". I have been listening for 10 years and it just gets better. Last weeks (1 hour) program was a very entertaining, and illuminating set of stories that go a long way towards describing the boggling loan cum credit crisis story gripping the planet. This is easy listening! Funny, entertaining and like the shifting prism in our home, illuminating in a spectral manner!

Click HERE for the show and let me know if you like it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

gotta love rainbows...