What I Did On Summer Vacation

Took on a construction job for no pay, that’s what. Behold:

The commanding perch of stately Chiles Manor.

Had to burn up some vaca before the end of the month, and we needed to replace the P.O.S 4×4 back porch that came with our house, so there you have it.

An aside: in what universe does it make sense to sell someone a $200K-plus home and slap a $50 porch off the back door? The dang thing was so ridiculously easy to tear down that I have a hard time believing it met any interpretation of local building codes.

Some other hard (ie: expensive) lessons from buying a new-build home:

– Even the so-called “upgrade” appliances suck @$$. Go to Lowes and buy them separately. No sense putting stuff that might last 10 years into a mortgage that lasts for 30.

– Ditto carpeting. And the “standard” carpets are apparently made of recycled dog blankets. Again: DIY w/ Lowes or Homie Depot.

– The interior paint jobs barely qualify as primer. Painting sucks, but not as much when there’s no furniture in the house, so do this yourself too.

End of lesson. So, on with the story…

I’m not much of a handyman. Especially when it comes to electrical or plumbing work – my stance has always been that if it can flood the house or burn it down, it’s worth paying a professional to handle.

But carpentry? Hey, what can go wrong with that?

Lots, actually. But this project mostly went by without trouble and only went over budget because we wanted nicer spindles and I bought the railings pre-assembled just to save time. Building in 100º weather forces those kinds of decisions.

But since this is a post about writing, perhaps I should meander back to the topic…

It was good to spend a week working with my hands, despite the heat. That kind of work clears the head in ways not too many other endeavors can. It forced me to focus on the task at hand, with attention to detail in every phase with a judicious amount of problem-solving along the way.

For nearly a week, I’ve not really given any thoughts to writing or marketing. That’s been a good thing. I’m dead-tired, sore from head to toe, and have a farmer’s tan that will probably be semi-permanent. But my mind is uncluttered and ready to get back to work.

Time to write.


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