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