Rhythm is the place where body and soul collide

Our story so far: We juggled enough projects at the old Methodist church as summer inched on that something different occurred in a steady rhythm every day.

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We’d found plenty for You-Can-Call-Me-Al to do, too, as he was equally skilled using a tile saw and any number of wood saws.

One day, I stood on the balcony pickling the last of the planks for the upstairs ceiling. I wore headphones, listening to National Public Radio, while quietly rolling diluted white paint on wood.

Tyler worked in the master bedroom with a table saw and a nail gun, assembling the bead board on the closet wall.

You-Can-Call-Me-Al played the radio at a volume that didn’t quite overwhelm the sound of his tile saw when he modified one of the stones for the fireplace. He was finally making progress on our twenty-foot fireplace after a couple of false starts with unacceptable mortar. The stone guy suggested a type he’d used for an outdoor fire pit, but when we tried it, the stone would still come off twenty-four hours later. This might have been okay for a three-foot-high fire pit, but we eventually learned (from a Home Depot guy, to his credit) that we needed mortar for a vertical application. Because when laying stone twenty-feet off the ground, you do not want it to fall off, lest you kill someone. Still, You-Can-Call-Me-Al built only about three or four vertical feet of fireplace a day so it would dry level.

This was the sort of meditative work I enjoyed. Roll, roll, roll of the paint. Pithy NPR observation about the history of Chinese food. Whirr, whirr of a saw. Pop, pop, pop of a nail gun. The swoosh of mortar on the back of a hunk of stone. Whomp, whomp, as You-Can-Call-Me-Al occasionally used a rubber mallet to coax a piece into place. Then more of the same. The only way of determining the passage of time was the eventual grumble of my stomach, calling me to lunch.

chimney progress
You-Can-Call-Me-Al got to within a foot of the ceiling before we ran out of stone for the fireplace (of course, we reordered more, but it would take a few days to be delivered). If you look closely on the upper left, you can see the ends of the boards I painted for the upstairs ceiling.

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Tomorrow: Chapter 32 opens with thoughts about travel. Read about them here.

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