Walking Into A Furnace

HOT

Oh my God was it hot last weekend! I’m not talking about above average New England temperatures either. I’m referring to heat and humidity that felt biblical, made you wilt, and made you feel like your body was melting.

The talking heads warned us it was coming, and for once they got it right. Warnings of dangerous heat and humidity plastered the airwaves on Tuesday, and they amped up the volume during the subsequent days.  Friday came and, as predicted, the heat steadily grew throughout the day, but that was simply a dress rehearsal for what came next.

When I went outside early Saturday morning to check the pool chemicals my body felt like it was shrouded in a hot, moist shroud, and this was at 7:30! It seemed like every pore in my body started leaking, and I’m not the type of person who perspires at the drop of a hat.

Under normal circumstances, the weather would make any sane person stay indoors and do as little as possible until the heat broke, but with an imminent move on the horizon as progress on the new house rolls on, sanity took a back seat.

To give you an idea of how oppressively hot it was, the heat index was around 115 Saturday. I don’t think it was quite as humid on Sunday, but we’re splitting hairs, and as we returned home from the job site at 8pm Sunday evening, the outdoor temperature was 87 degrees. Are you kidding me?!

What is it about oppressive heat and home construction? When we built our first house in 1997, we lived in Southern Indiana (Evansville), which by far is the hottest place I have ever endured. Completely landlocked in the southern tier of the country, the heat had nowhere it go. Temperatures were routinely in the 80s and 90 with humidity to match, and it was hotter at 7pm than it was at 3pm.

How hot was Evansville? One day in July I took a day off to help clean up the construction site. Arriving there at 7:30 in the morning, I brought three gallons of Gatorade with me to consume so I wouldn’t cramp up or pass out. Between the time I arrived and 2:30 in the afternoon, when it simply became too hot to continue, I had consumed all of the Gatorade and peed only once during those seven hours. My clothes looked like I showered in them, and the dust from the site had caked onto my exposed skin.

That is what was last weekend was like. It felt like walking into and living inside a roaring furnace that got hotter as the day got longer.

Of course, I was 23 three years younger back then and didn’t have MS, and I still felt miserable that evening. I wasn’t foolish enough to push myself like that this past weekend, but I know I was still outside more than I should have been.

On Saturday, we helped my nephew remove and pack some furniture, file cabinets and tools that we no longer needed into a large van, then organized the garage a little to create more room to maneuver given the new open space. The pool was a godsend, and I jumped into that sucker a number of times during the day. Perhaps that is why the heat’s full effect didn’t arrive until later that evening,  when a wave of fatigue I hadn’t experienced in a long time consumed me.

Knowing I  over-exerted myself, Sunday was going to be a day spent inside. That lasted until early afternoon, as one can only stay cooped up for so long. Cabin fever compelled me to put on the swim trunks, open the deck umbrella, and take turns reading and jumping into the pool to cool off. Cooling is a relative term, because the water temperature was 90, having increased three degrees in less than twenty four hours. Still, it was blissful by comparison. Any relief the pool offered was short-lived, however, because within five minutes of leaving the pool, not having bothered to dry off, I’d erupt in more perspiration. Within ten minutes I’d once again feel like I was baking from the inside out, so back into the pool I’d go. This routine lasted for maybe an hour an a half, when the process became more annoying than refreshing.

Unfortunately, one task to do at the construction site remained. A Chickadee had decided several weeks prior to build a nest in what turned out to be an ingeniously difficult spot to get to in the corner of the garage.  For weeks, we’d hear the chirps of baby birds asking for their momma, and watch her dutifully fly in an out of their lair to feed and attend to them. As the sheetrock went up, nobody wanted to touch them, and we certainly didn’t want to entomb them. Assuming it would not be long until they flew the coop, we left that part of the garage open.

Well, it turned out last weekend was the time the coop was flown, either because they were full grown or it was too hot to stay put. I wanted leave the nest where it was and sheetrock over the remaining open space, but was vetoed by K. So we brought a ladder to the site after seven, and up I climbed to see if I could exhume the damn thing.

This nest was tucked between two 2x4s, and the entrance to it was a sliver of a triangle, at least eleven feet up in the rafters. I gingerly made it up each rung while K dutifully held the ladder. I had some long, heavy duty tweezers, and methodically pulled pieces of the nest out of its shelter.

It was hot and nasty up there. The air was still, heavy and dense. I’m not sure how long it took, but after removing what I felt was almost three-quarters of the thing, pulling out a variety of twigs, straw and plastic with each tweezer-grab, I had to stop because I was getting light-headed and started to feel a little queasy. Getting down the ladder was hard. K had to help by literally grabbing the ankle of my bad leg and guiding it to the next step down. Once I landed on terra firma my legs felt like jelly and my body felt like a limp dishrag. Remember, the air temp was 87 at the time, but it had to be at least another five to ten degrees hotter up in those rafters.

I shuffled over to the car, not able to lift either foot off the ground, shed my sodden clothes once we arrived home, slowly and carefully made my way upstairs to take a cool shower, then collapsed onto the bed, where I didn’t move for two hours. I felt a lot better after that, and was able to use my legs again.

I was a little surprised at how my body reacted because I actually did more physical work the previous day in higher heat and humidity, but suspect this reaction was more of an accumulation of the weekend’s events. I pushed myself to see how far I could go and what I could endure.

I wasn’t sure what Monday morning would bring, but it wasn’t any more difficult than a typical morning, so the heat’s impact didn’t linger into the next day. I could sit here and vow to never do that again, but that would be a lie. Stuff has got to get done if we want to move before Labor Day, so while I will try to be smart about my approach, I know the limits will once again be pushed if the situation calls for it.

Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of this past weekend’s oppressive heat. Storms rolled through the area on Monday and into Tuesday to wring all the moisture out of the air. Temps will revert to the upper 80s and low 90’s over the next ten days, which is hot by Connecticut standards, but sounds like Nirvana compared to what just occurred. It actually feels pleasant outside today by comparison.

It would be nice if last weekend turned out to be the worst this summer has to offer but I’m not banking on the idea that we aren’t going to experience another round of excessive heat.

That would be too convenient.

 

It’s Getting There

Last pic

Daze

A brief update as I climb back into the saddle

It was good to take a step back for a few weeks and recharge the writing batteries. The break provided me with time to look forward to getting behind the keyboard once again, not to mention provide time to let my mind wander and come up with a host of ideas and subject matters.

Having said that, the new house has become an all-consuming monolith that dominates my daily life. I took week off to start getting our current house in shape for the market in addition to helping out at the job site.

This process is taking a lot longer than we hoped or expected. The first house we build in 1997 took about seven months to complete. Our current home took less than six. We assumed this project would be no different, however we are currently into our ninth month of work. There are a number of reason for this, which I might elaborate upon in the future, but we truly expected to be moving in any day now when we initially broke ground. Instead, the sheetrock will be completely up and taped by week’s end.

The pace of our progress picked up when K took control of the project several weeks ago, and I suspect that will continue on the remaining items that need to be done: painting, the finish carpentry, the cabinet and fixture installation, the lighting, the flooring, the garage, the final excavation and grading of the site,  installing the driveway and seeding the lawn. There may be a few tiny things I’ve missed but those are the biggies.

The biggest fly in the ointment right now is the excavating. The individual we hired is now doing this part time, his hired help is gone, and the laundry list of items that need completion are long. We have sniffed around to see if there are other contractors that can pick up some of the slack, but so far have been unsuccessful in our search as they are all booked with other projects. If we do find someone, I am sure they won’t be cheap, and this project is already way, WAY over budget.

Then there is the stuff needed to get our current house ready for sale. That list is almost as long as the one needed to finish the new place, which was the motivation behind taking last week off.

The pressure to get this all done is immense because we want to be get the house on the market while the weather is still nice. We initially believed everything would be settled before the end of August, and that the financial piece of this odyssey (selling our house, settling our accounts and depositing some funds instead of constantly drawing from them) would soon be over and we would begin enjoying the new homestead, the move a painful memory. Instead, our goal has morphed into moving by late August/early September, which is not ideal because the goals was to get the house sold before all the kiddos go back to school. That is a pipe dream now. Our original timeline allowed us to fix up the old place once we were moved and it was emptied. Instead it is more likely that we have to do this and put it up for sale while we live there. That means we have to work on both places simultaneously. Maybe that is for the best because I have read is it always better to sell a house when your are still living in it rather than when it is empty., but it does complicate things exponentially.

Our heads are swimming with all the stuff that needs to be done, and how to deploy our dwindling resources. I don’t remember the process being as stressful as this one has turned out to be, perhaps because we are financing most of this, but it is what it is. I forgot, but now vaguely remember, everything coming to a head towards the end of the process, where you feel like the tail is wagging the dog.

Meanwhile, it is soooooooooooooooo freaking HOT! I picked the hottest week of the year so far when took last week off. Temps were in the 90’s with high humidity all week long, and I felt as if I were melting. As you know, MS and heat are not a good match, but I plowed through it for eight to nine hours each day, drank a ton of water, then jumped into the pool to cool down when we called it a day. My body was thoroughly shot by evening, and I shuffled around the house like Frankenstein. Crawling into bed felt like heaven, but by morning I was so stiff it took a while  to get loose enough to get back at it.

Nonetheless, I survived and in some ways thrived. It was good for the ego to learn that I’m still fairly useful, even though it takes a lot longer to do things compared to the pre-MS days. But at least I still can. My balance and leg strength seems to be a little worse than before. I can’t tell if this is real or imagined, but it feels like it is more difficult to get around under controlled conditions. Then again, that disappears when I get to the job site. Maybe it is the motivation or adrenaline to get things done. Maybe it is all in my head. I guess we’ll find out when the move is actually complete and we can finally exhale.

Mother nature isn’t going to relent, unfortunately.. The heat index is going to be in the 105-110 range this weekend. It is going to remain hot next week, and many are predicting this will be the hottest summer in recent memory. That’s par for the course. We’ll have to be smart about working in that environment.

So as I climb back in front of the keyboard, I don’t know if this will be an every week thing again or whenever I have the time. I am sure you will read more about our progress in the short term, as it is the easiest and quickest thing to write about. Completing the house and actually moving has become an obsession, time is limited, and this will be a good outlet to vent. However, I’ve had a few epiphanies during my hiatus that I want to share, and will eventually get to them.

One before and after pic opened this post. Here are a few more to give you a sense on how far we have come. At times both K and I feel like we are running on fumes, only to get to what by now must be our fourth or fifth wind. In the scheme of things we are in a final sprint on the home stretch, but it feels like it will take forever to finally reach the finish line.

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Another Recognition

DIsability

Kim from I Tripped Over A Stone is keeping me busy, bestowing me the honor of the Disability Award. They say that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, so I will mimic what Kim mentioned in her piece, and refer to this as the disAbility Award. I’d much rather focus on the positive than the negative, and  view being saddled with Multiple Sclerosis as a bump in the road instead of letting it define me.

Part of the deal is to respond to ten questions Kim asked, and pass the gauntlet to other bloggers who live with disabilities. Many of the bloggers I know who fit that description have already been nominated, so I will pass on that one. Onto the questions:

What were the first symptoms you experienced?   I was on my treadmill and my leg literally stopped working. I couldn’t bend my knee, lift it, or control it whatsoever. It dangled like an overcooked strand of spaghetti, and I practically had to fall off the treadmill onto a nearby couch before I really injured myself. It was a surreal experience and freaky as hell. The symptoms disappeared completely shortly thereafter, and my mind was racing. I knew something very wrong had occurred, but could not fathom what it was. After the symptoms vanished, I didn’t tell a soul. After all, how could I possibly explain what just transpired? No physician could assess it without actually seeing it in action, so I decided to bury the incident. I ignored it, hoping and half-believing that it would never happen again. We know how that turned out.

Name one good thing that has come from of your chronic illness. Perspective. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, and have a greater appreciation for everything that is good in my life.

What is the one thing that is believed to be accurate about your condition that isn’t? That is s tough one. MS is known as the snowflake disease because it affects everyone who suffers from it differently. Our combination of symptoms is as unique as our fingerprints, so I honestly can’t think of anything. If anyone who reads this can come up with something, please feel free to chime in.

What is the worse symptom you have to deal with? There are a number of them, but the worst has to be balance, or lack of it. I use a cane all the time, more for balance than anything else, although walking is not easy. But my balance is so bad that I can turn an ankle or fall down by just leaning in the wrong direction. I’m toast if I lose my center of gravity. Most folks would assume chronic pain would be number one on this list, but I fortunately have avoided that bugger for now. Hopefully it stays that way.

What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed? Get a good neurologist who specializes in MS. Read as much as you can about the disease so you know what you might be dealing with. Be proactive in your treatment, and don’t be afraid to try anything. If you have the primary progressive variety of MS like me, remember that nothing you try will improve your symptoms over a long period of time or make them go away. The name of the game is to keep things stable and minimize or delay the pace and spread of the progression. I have been successful (so far) in that endeavor.  The symptoms have certainly progressed within my leg, but they still remain confined to that single limb after eleven years.

What is the one thing you miss doing before you were diagnosed? Going on long walks with my wife.

What is the one thing that helps you the most with your symptoms? Medical marijuana. If you want to read more about that, look here, here, here, and here.

Do you find the word disability offensive? Not in the least, primarily because it is a fact. I have a disability. Besides, disability is a hell of a lot better than handicapped. I despise that word.

Since your illness, what is the most important lesson you have learned about yourself? Although I have always felt this way, dealing with this disease has proven that I am a resilient, stubborn, tough (in a good way) upbeat, and half-glass-full kind of guy.

Do you celebrate the 4th of July? Of course! Besides, that also happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday, and she lives with us.

Thanks again Kim. I am glad that we are part of each other’s respective tribes.

 

 

 

Virus

I had everything planned for this past weekend. Do some painting on the new house on Saturday, have a relaxing Father’s Day where I did very little as possible, take Monday off for my annual physical, do a few errands, then do some more work around the house site.

Well, the first part of that went according to plan, but when I woke up on Sunday, I had a raging sore throat and felt a little punky. I looked at my CPAP machine and discovered I had run out of water, which explained the sore throat, which went away after a cup of hot tea. But as K and I traveled to the cemetery to leave a Father’s Day plant on my Mom and Dad’s grave, a raspy cough settled in and my nose started burning. I figured it was a cold, and didn’t think too much of it because the last time I had a cold it was short lived, so I assumed this one would be too. Besides, it eliminated the temptation to do anything strenuous , and I was down for that because that doesn’t happen too often.

But when I woke up Monday morning I felt warm and sweaty, but attributed that to the cold. I ran two errands and delivered some stuff to the job site, but when I returned home, I felt really fatigued, but again figured it was a combination of the cold and the MS. Besides, I’d be seeing the doctor in a couple of hours and he’d assure me it was what I thought it was.

When they took my temp once I got into the exam room, the temp registered 100.8, and the doctor said my lungs, ears and sinuses were clear, that what I was dealing with was a virus, and that a lot of that was still going around. My instructions were to go home, drink a lot of fluids, take it easy, and let it run its course. So I went home, took a shower and hibernated in the spare bedroom, not wanting to share the joy. A few hours later I felt really hot, took my temp and looked at the digital display that read 102.3. Fuck!

So I took some aspirin, sweated like a pig for two hours, and felt infinitely better. The temp read 100.5 as I turned out the lights, and I figured that the worst was over. I’d stay home another day, lay low and be as good as new come dinner time. Unfortunately the thermometer was back up to 101 and change when I awoke in a sweat and has fluctuated been that and 102 all day. My nose burns but is clear, my cough is heavy, deep and dry, and my ribs are sore from the periodic coughing spasms.

All day long I haven’t ventured out of my room because I don’t want K to get this, since the house progress is more dependent on her than me, and am bored out of my fucking mind. Why else would I write something so mundane as describing this virus. It has been the most stimulating thing I have done all day.

The picture that started this post is what I have been staring at all day when I wasn’t watching Netflix. As you can see, it is cloudy, damp and dreary, which fits my mood perfectly. The frustrating thing is I don’t feel so sick where I can just sleep all day, but whenever I do anything I feel the heat rising.

Isn’t it interesting what you will watch on TV when you are so bored you want to scream? So far I have watched the documentary on Ted Bundy, who I knew nothing about (what a sick, evil fuck) some of the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam Nam, and a documentary about Metallica that chronicled the band almost breaking up. Real cheerful stuff, I know, but like the weather, it fits my mood.

My MO is never to go to work when I am sick, and to let 24 hours pass when it comes to a fever. Based on that I am looking at another day isolated from everyone. It probably serves me right because one of the things I have been crowing about ever since I was diagnosed with MS, and that was 11 years ago, is that I rarely get sick anymore. I can count the number of times I have been sick on one hand. If memory serves me correctly, three days on the shelf will be the longest I have been down since then, and I have forgotten how much I hate being sick. I wouldn’t be in such a grumpy mood if this was going to be limited to one day. But I am looking at day 2 tomorrow, and I have no idea if there will be a day 3. If that happens, maybe I will suck on my vape pen all day long and let the MMJ mellow my angst. That will either kill me or cure me.

I have no idea how I will spend the day tomorrow, other than get up to pee every hour because I am pushing fluids. Maybe I will find something else to vent about. Meanwhile, thank you for indulging me. And send whatever positive vibes you can my way over the blogosphere.

I am really getting tired of this shit.

Two For The Price of One

Kim of  I Tripped Over a Stone fame nominated me for two blogger awards. The Blogger Recognition Award and the Sunshine Blogger Award. I appreciate her thinking of me and gladly accept both awards from a individual whose perseverance and blog I admire. Please take the time to check out her blog

I will let the Blogger recognition questions stand as is, and I will answer 11 new questions for the Sunshine Blogger Award. The rules ask that I nominate 11 other bloggers to receive BOTH of these awards, but I am going to pass on that since many of the people I would nominate have already been nominated by Kim or other bloggers in my tribe.

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AWARD RULES:

  • Thank the nominator, and publish a post on your blog about receiving the Blogger Recognition Award. Make sure to provide a link to the nominator’s blog in your post.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started. 
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate 10-15 other bloggers for this award, and inform them of their nomination (going to pass on this one, see my previous comment).

I. How I got started

I wrote a novel a two years ago, and my agent gave me a laundry list of social media items she recommended I undertake to develop more of an on-line presence and to perhaps develop a following that would help entice publishers. The least onerous of these duties was starting a blog. I have Multiple Sclerosis, and so does the main character of my book, although it is not autobiographical, so most of the posts when I started involved some aspect of my MS experience. The subject matter expanded from there, once I started running out of new things to talk about, and the rest is history.

II. Two pieces of advice for new bloggers

Two pieces of advice…hmmmmmm.

  1. Be yourself and write what you feel. Writing from the heart is the easiest way to come up with ideas. This can be uncomfortable at times, but it can also be cathartic. It also helps develop a following. Be genuine, and don’t let the primary focus of your blog be for sales or self promotion. And no BS. Folks recognize that after a while, and it is a major turn-off.
  2. Read and Support Other Bloggers. People, most of them your fellow bloggers, will read and “like” your posts. Take the opportunity to read what they have to say, then follow those whose subject and writing you enjoy. “Like” their pieces so they know you are paying attention, and write comments as often as you can. You’ll become part of a network, or tribe, of other writers and develop friendships along the way. You will also be amazed at how many brilliant writers exist in the world.

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Award Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so that others can find them.
  • Add the award logo to your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

 

Kim’s Questions:

  1. Are you an early bird or a night owl?

An early bird all the way, although I don’t go to bed super early. The fact is I don’t get enough sleep.

2. What is your personal favorite post on your own blog that you’ve published up until today? (Link it!)

That’s a tough one as I have written over 100 pieces, and it is hard to claim a favorite. So the one I am going to mention is one I wrote about diets several months ago because this is the post that has received the most likes of all the ones I have written. I guess is struck a chord.

3. What time of day do you dread?

I really don’t “dread” any particular time of day. My least favorite is waking up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 every weekday morning to get ready for work (I’m an early bird, remember?). But at least it beats the alternative of not waking up.

4. Have you been on the vacation of your dreams or still planning it?

I am definitely the happy traveler. Have bag, will travel. Unfortunately, my spouse is the exact opposite, but I knew that going in. So my dream vacation will remain that way: a dream. Besides, travelling with MS has made travelling with much more complicated than ever. See this for details. I will add that that I have been to many major cities and most states within the continental US, and a few Caribbean islands. But the MS, as you can see if you read the link, has certainly curtailed my desire to explore. My favorite trip was to Anchorage, Alaska. They don’t call that state The Last Frontier for nothing, and I would highly recommend visiting it during the summer when it is light out most if not all of the time.

5. Name your dream car!

I’m not really a car guy, so I will channel my wife and name her dream car: A red 58 Corvette convertible.

6. If you see a penny on the ground, do you pick it up?

Sometimes.

7. If you could pick a book title (actual or fabricated) to describe your life over the past 10 years, what would it be?

Shit Happens.

8 What is the song title that best describes your life over the last 10 years?

Better Man, by Keb Mo. Look it up.

9. Ever thought of going vegan?

Never. I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains as it is, and don’t eat a lot of red meat. Maybe some day, but going completely vegan takes a lot of time I don’t currently have.

10. I have to know, do you still have a landline???

Yep, and probably always will. Call me a dinosaur.

11. BOUNS QUESTION: Do you always respond to these types of nominations.

Most of the time, but not always.

Taking A Break

break

The one thing I committed myself to when I started this blog was to post something every week. Every once in a while I would become inspired and post two or three times, but that was the exception. Friday was posting day, then come Wednesday or Thursday an idea would pop into my noggin or I’d consult the list of topics I keep for a rainy day. When that occurred I would start writing and editing, then post it whenever Friday rolled around. That has been the routine since the summer of 2017, and the stats tell me it has repeated itself 114 times.

That number is staggering to me, primarily because I didn’t think I had that much to say, or that anyone would be interested in reading anything I wrote. I was pleasantly surprised to learn otherwise, and an organic momentum developed where it felt like a part of me was missing if I didn’t tickle the keyboard at least once a week.

That streak may soon end.

I am giving myself permission to take a break this summer and abandon the weekly deadline, primarily because I am up to my eyeballs in work, both on the job and at home. Since I am a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to sending something into the blogosphere, it typically takes a few hours a week for me to start, edit, then re-edit something before I am done. That amount of time has become in short supply lately, which has caused me to fall woefully behind reading and commenting on the blogs I follow.

The well is also running a little dry. I have one item left on my list of things to write about, but I’m not motivated to share it right now. Trying to come up with another topic that gets my juices flowing is fruitless because it feels like a lot of work, and would be like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

The truth is I am tired and worn down. Between the job, the work surrounding the new house, and my writing, fatigue has set in, more mental than physical. I don’t think it’s the MS, although I have been prone to bouts of it on occasion, which is par for the course with this disease. Regardless, I can’t let this become the norm or I will be as useful as tits on a bull when I need to be at my energetic best when moving day approaches.

This is not goodbye. Far from it. I suspect I’ll go to an every other week schedule, although I could go longer between posts. It all depends on what I have to say and if I have the time and desire to share it. I’m not a fan of  re-blogging, but may resort to that rather than going a month without writing anything. Who knows, maybe I will use some of this time to begin the new novel.

All week long I have wondered if this lethargy is a temporary rut, and I’ll will wind up getting my second wind and post something next week and the week after that, etc. That has happened a number of times before. Perhaps it will, and I’ll feel silly about this meandering, whining dissertation. But I think not.

Guess we’ll find out together.

 

 

 

 

Unsettled

Unsettled

It has been a while since I’ve written about the new house, primarily because the process has been slow and steady.  I may have mentioned before that this is the third time we’ve done this, the last time having occurred almost twenty years ago, and each time reminds you of the the highs and lows that go with the territory of such an endeavor. I had forgotten about the myriad of decisions that have to be made, about the emotional swings, and how the progress can feel like it is zipping along one week, then slow to a snail’s pace the next.

Memories of the first house we built are near and dear to my heart, primarily because it was the first, but also because we fired the contractor before we were under roof. With the help of my father-in-law, a retired carpenter who could, with perhaps the exception of pouring a foundation, build a house from top to bottom, we became our own general contractors and finished the job in less than four months. That experience is a story in itself.

Each house is different, and this one has the distinction of K being the general contrtactor from the start, and because we started in late autumn.  It has been an interesting process so far. When we initially broke ground, it was easy to measure the progress because clearing the site, pouring the foundation and floors, framing the structure and installing the roof were all visable markers.

It was exciting to witness, but the project was still in its infancy, and didn’t feel real in many ways.  That may seem a little silly because the eyes don’t lie, and you could see the drawings on a blueprint come to life, but we were still making tweaks to the design, and the idea of actually moving felt distant, at least for me. True to form, I compartmentalized the entire concept of what I knew would eventually arrive. After all, why fret over something that isn’t imminent?

Since then, it hasn’t been as easy to chart the progress, yet the progress has been real and is now moving quickly. Once the shell was up, the roof on and the windows in, the indoor work began. Once that occurred, the structure really began to take shape, although it might not have appeared to looking at it from the outside. But as we speak, the inside has been competely framed, all of the interior plumbing has been roughed in and so has most of the electical wiring and interior duct-work.  The siding is more than half-way completed, and the deck that will also have a screened-in porch is almost done. Every time I go on site I see something new and different. You can see the rooms take shape, and see how everything fits. It is beginning to look like a real house, and I am beginning to think of our current home in the past tense.

We still have a ways to go. The garage floor needs to be poured, the sheet rock needs to go up, all the cabinetry and fixtures need to be installed, the finish carpentry needs to be completed, the heating system installed, the plumbing and electrical work finished, the floors installed, the walls painted, the driveways created and the exterior grading finished. But most of the decisions have been made in regards to the materials and subcontractors, and it is a matter of lining them up and getting them in. I am hoping that we will be able to move into the new place before July is over, but have no idea how realistic that goal is.

Nonetheless, the move is imminent, and therefore very real. As exciting as that prospect is, and as much as I want it to happen sooner than later, we are also in a state of limbo, and I find that very unsettling.

Why? Well, an endeavor like this has a lot of moving parts, and while you try to plan for the choreography of events that never ends, it never goes according to plan. There are always glitches and unexpected costs that need to be addressed. I knew from the beginning that as this project neared completion, the bills would begin to mount, and that things would be tight until we sold our current house. That has always been my hot-button, and it is on the verge of being pushed.

While the thought of being settled into a house that I know is well built and tailored to our specifications is comforting and brings a smile to my face, the idea of moving makes me want to curl into a fetal position. This will be our fifth move, but I was a lot younger, more able-bodied, and full of piss and vinegar during the previous four. Perhaps I was also a more naive about what the move actually entails: packing boxes,  unpacking boxes, setting up the new house, and getting the new lawn and landscaping established. I know better now.

Then there is the process of getting our current home ready for the market, which in my mind is worse than the actual move itself. We have some cosmetic work that needs to be done to make the house look its best, and have to inventory every single item we own, deciding what to keep, donate, pawn off or take to he dump. It is a time consuming, tedious and mind-numbing process. I am very impatient when it comes to this shit, and want to devote as little time as possible to it. I don’t want to debate the details of what stays or goes, so my impulse is to throw a lot of stuff away, consequences be damned! K attaches more emotion, sentimentality and careful thought to the process, so I am going to have to do my best to meet her half way and not become irritable as we comb through the history of our life in that place.

Once all that is done and the move is completed, the final hurdle is to sell the house for the price we want. I am feeling the pressure of time, because common sense dictates you want to sell your house during the peak selling seasons of spring or summer. Waiting until the fall or, God forbid, winter, would not be ideal. We’ll be up to our eyeballs in debt by then because we will be carrying what amounts to two mortgages, and when that occurs I will be a basket case of worry until the house is sold.

How the MS is going to factor into all of this is anyone’s guess. I know I don’t do well in the heat of the summer, which is theoretically when all of this will occur. I also know a lot of stress isn’t good either, but I don’t see how that can be avoided. I have no idea whether the MS is going to allow me to be as involved and engaged as I want to be and, assuming it does, what my body will feel like when this is over. This was not a factor before, and brings an another layer of anxiety to the process. I want to roll up my sleeves and do as much on site as I can instead of paying others to do it, but will my body allow it? I’ll probably be sucking on that vape pen quite a bit.

These were all realities last fall, but they were theortetical. It’s an entirely different ballgame when they are on your doorstep. Between dealing with the day to day issues of getting the house built, dealing with cost overruns and planning for the actual move, the new house has taken a life of its own and consumes most of our time and energy. The strain is worse on K than for me because she is the general contractor. She is on the front lines every day, and has to deal with a myriad of personalities and other crap that is too long and complicated to get into.  She is really good at this and has done a remarkable job, but it is sometimes painful to witness.

We are on the verge of entering the final stretch, where everything comes to a head. Critical mass is approaching where we prepare and transition from one place to another. I feel it approaching. It is an unstoppable force, a test of endurance, stamina and nerve.  The feeling is exciting and terrifying, exhilarating and draining.

Summer has always been my favorite season. I have always enjoyed this carefree time of year when when I’m lounging by the pool, enjoying evening fires on our patio, and hanging out in shorts, t-shirts and bare feet. I’m always saddened when September rolls around because I know the cold winter months will soon be approaching. I never imagined a day would come when I’d wish the summer away, but here we are.

I can’t wait for this to be over.