Monday, January 22, 2007

With these hands...

It's 3am and I just have to share this with you:

So I'm leaving Invermere, B.C. tomorrow, er - later this morning and was just packing up after a lovely, rousing round of crib with Jay and Christine (just you wait until next time, Christine) when I was struck by the thought that I was leaving with something left unfinished. Then it hit me: I said I would varnish the railings on Jay and Christine's loft before I left. Good grief!

Now, I should explain something here. I have been visiting with my brother and his wife since the beginning of the year and we worked out a pretty sweet deal: I got a place to stay, good food to eat (I didn't realise how much I missed steaks!), and best of all, free ski passes and they got a laborer. For those who don't know, Jay and Christine have just finished building the house that they designed and constructed themselves - with the aid of a great many friends and family and a few professionals (mmm! We all like toilets that flush and lights that light up.) It's been quite a process, which happened very quickly, but they're at that finishing-up stage that seems to take much longer than it should.

Now herein lays the interesting part. I had a few tasks around the house, one being to stain a built-in bookcase (yeah, no: that's not the interesting part yet.) It took me two days, having to wait between coats and a heck of a lot of sanding. I was going to stain it all one colour, a dark brown, but after finding the trim had a coating that wouldn't take stain, I had to sand it all off and that's when I decided I really liked the contrast of the light wood with the dark stain. So after asking Jay and Christine's approval, I just varnished the trim, and this was the effect:

So I was in the midst of admiring my "brainchild of a laborer-job" when my brother comes up and smiles in a somewhat distracted way, and with a "Thanks Jodie, good job." it dawned on me: he built the whole house with his own two hands. He and his wife had a part in every decision and every process of this entire, huge house.

Imagine the creative liberties and awesome decisions they held in their hands... imagine the brute physical labor that was required to live out those complex visualization and plans. What a project!

Awakened to that perspective, I realised that at some point I just have to get on with the work, without the creative perfectionistic hang-ups that often prevents me from enjoying being a laborer, as with a project like this, there is just so very much work to be done.

And so, tonight, at midnight I crawled up into their loft and got down to varnishing the railing. It was a summbich of a job really, being so close to the ceiling, requiring me to hang one-handed off the ladder, and at several points resorting to sticking my brush through the railings to blindly slap at the top. But the end result is a shiny rail to match the shiny ceiling (that took Jay and Christine six evenings to put two coats of varnish over every slate that form the ceiling over the entire house.)

I'm just happy I could help out, and even though I haven't yet mastered the art of quiet appreciation of my efforts, I will say I sure had a fun time doing it!

(By the way, the working model of a carriage in the first photo was made by my Gramps, a vertran of the wood arts.)


At 9:46 a.m., January 22, 2007, Blogger nicholas said...

So did you finish the railing?

At 10:39 a.m., January 22, 2007, Blogger Jodie said...

Yes! Sheesh... that is me posing by the freshly finished railing.

Oh ye of little faith.



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