Demo Derby

The demolition plan for the kitchen area.

I asked the team to bring the updated plans. I just had the kitchen elevations in hard copy. Nothing else.

“Elevations” is part of my new vocabulary. See how I just threw that out there, as if it wasn’t a term that I learned three weeks ago? It’s amazing how quickly you can assimilate new language. For those of you not fluent in whale, in this context, elevations are the wall view of the plans, versus the flyover view. The elevations show the relative height of the cabinets, where the tops of the windows line up and how the microwave stacks over the wall oven.

I don’t know the name of the top-down plans. Floor plans? I think that’s right.

I did have some of the drawings electronically. I like them that way because I can pull them up on my phone, tablet and laptop. I can zoom in on specific features. I don’t like the pixelated versions in that I have a hard time getting the overall and relative picture. So I requested the printouts.

The printed plans are oversized. You can run your finger along the outside wall, rather than hiding half of the room behind a stubby digit. You can trace the new door opening while standing in the as-is room and squinting to see the future. You can hold the page an arm’s length away, below where the new wall of windows will be, and still make out the details in the drawing and pretend your other hand is resting on the new kitchen island.

My printer can’t print to that size of paper. The architect’s printer can. They printed out everything that was updated, and there were bonus pages. There were drawings with circles with little points–some with the points exiting one side and some with the points spread around the circle like a compass. The circles were linked together with bowed lines. These were the electrical drawings.

There was a color-coded set with red numbers and green numbers that corresponded to the color of the kitchen cabinets. There was a framing plan that was unfathomable to me. These documents made me very happy that I hired someone who understands them.

There were also two pages that had the current floor plan. This was awesome because they lined up with the to-be plans so I could get a better relative idea the changes.

On closer inspection, it dawned on me that the as-is plans are not there for my comparative pleasure. I saw shaded areas that, according to the legend, are areas marked for demolition. Whoa! Demolition. That’s a serious word.

The shady spots are along a few walls where doors or closets are moving. There’s a few spots where the floor is coming up and being replaced by tile. And there’s the back three-quarters of the house marked for wrecking. The kitchen, the pantry and the bathroom, and the wall that encases the stairway–all with X’s marking the spots where they will be razed and remade.

And reused and recycled, too. There are a bunch of notes in the margin instructing the contractors to carefully remove and replace boards and trim.

I like that demolition and destruction are on the same page as care and reclamation. I like the contradiction and the compliment, the yin yang of it all. I’m finding meaning in everything.


Post #335

From the AMTRAK: Emergency Brake. Open this cover. Alarm will sound. Pull handle down.

I started writing something earlier today. And it was hard. Hard to think about and hard to write about. But, at least to me, worth writing about.

Frankly, it required more nuance than I had to give to it today. I have decided that I’m going to defer this post for a little bit. I still want to write it, but it deserves a bit more research and thoughtful thinkings and a better articulation.

You might be surprised that I do that, Loyal Reader. Surprised that this publication includes research and thinking and rifling through options and analysis and then writing. I realize that much of what you read here may seem like a simple stream of consciousness. And if I were to tell the truth, which is my preference since I am lazy and lying takes a lot of work, I would admit to at least my share, if not more than my share, of raw and emotive work. Even these, though, take some cognitive and creative effort. I’m not kidding.

That said, there are many posts that I wrestle with deeply. Posts that I start with gusto but then lose steam. Sometimes the energy is gone after a paragraph or two. Other times it is writing that simply doesn’t coalesce. It might have concepts or sentences that are brilliant, but it either doesn’t hang together with the rest of the words or just doesn’t have enough form to be cogent. While that may also surprise you, Loyal Reader, that is that I hold back when something sucks, it’s just a confession about how bad my writing can be.

In this case, though, I have something that I want to say and I want to say it to you, Loyal Reader. But first, I need to make sure that it will stand up on it’s own and that, second, if you object to my thesis, you will at least have enough to object to. I don’t want to leave you unsatisfied, or worse, dismissive. Truly your indifference is the most painful.

So, for today, I will only share with you a little about my process and a hint of something yet to come.

Post #153

Path back up the mountain at Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland.

I haven’t written a process post for a long time. Not since I had that spat of poor posts a few months back.

Today I’m writing about writing because I’m simply not feeling it. The writing, that is. I flipped through my notepad to see what I could work up today. There are twenty-four starts in that file. No finishes.

There are a few openings that are just a sentence or two. Just the beginning of an idea. In other cases, there’s a solid idea with no heft. Discounting those, there are still fifteen or sixteen with minimally a paragraph. Most of those are a paragraph with some change or a pair of paragraphs with some change. Then there’s four or five that have been worked to a couple hundred words.

Those are the sad ones. The entries that began to take shape, started to flow and then were writus interruptus.

Some starts were overtaken by a better, or a more timely, or a more immediately engaging (for me) finish. Others just lost juice. Some were jotted down in a fit of inspiration. They seemed to be a substantial concept, but dissolved like wisps of neurotransmitted-cotton candy on your tongue. With less of the stickiness of the sugary form. And less sweetness.

I don’t know that I’ll ever get back to these semi-baked items.

Or any of them for that matter.

These snippets of thoughts are captured but won’t be stretched and pulled along the path to semi-coherence. I won’t work on moving their sentences around like puzzle pieces, searching and finding the correct nub on a part of the piece that fits to the left, and then matches a piece on the right and finally snaps into pithy congruence from both above and below.

I won’t flip clauses from the end of a sentence to the beginning or from the beginning of the sentence to the end in an attempt to get it closer to clarity. There will be no speed backspacing to obliterate fraught word combos that briefly seemed poetic. There will be no annulment  of ridiculous over-adverbification.

These fragments won’t ever be pushed to the end of the literary line. Where I realize that it’s actually done as it sits. Another paragraph unnecessary. The writing at it’s natural end. This always surprises me. And it pleases me.

They’ll be no selection of an image to accompany these incomplete thoughts. Where sometimes an image comes early, but usually it is selected after the thoughts are decently formed. The thoughts won’t get far enough for a picture. The words only exist on the notepad, without form.

The sprouts of copy will never be copied and pasted into this forum. This forum that you, Loyal Reader, are consuming now.

Actually, that’s not accurate.  On a rare occasion, an embryonic post is moved here and festers. Not decomposing because it has no carbon, but not fully composed because it has no life. It doesn’t get the electrical jolt of the blue publish button. It’s not alive.

The prenatal posts in my notepad are accumulating. There weren’t always a generation of them. The group started with a few false starts. But as I read through them today, for inspiration, I only culled two. I was inspired by none.

None were used today. They were neither easy enough to finish nor inspiring enough to develop. I wrote this instead. I’m at peace with this. Not everything is good enough. At the same time, everything is good enough for practice.

So, the sad attempts remain sad. And I am moving on.