Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I must be out of my mind ...

My yard, the day before yesterday ...

My yard, today ...

As if there wasn't enough going on in our lives-- what with the changes in my professional life, the company, Cristina going back to work, Kevin starting preschool, and the miriad array of other factors which make life so chaotic in general -- now I go and do this.

The second image above depicts the preparation for the foundation of our new construction project: my office and our guest house / home expansion (two rooms ... the office and a living room with fold out sofa-bed or something). In the last 48 hours, much of our living environment has undergone a transformation into controlled chaos (at least, my contractor insists that it's under control). It's amazing how fast the destruction part of construction is: trees have fallen, and much of the yard has been dug up. A new shack (?) and bathroom has been built for the workers so they won't have to actually enter into our house.

The kids loved having their very own construction site to romp around in-- especially Kevin. Unfortunately for them, I realized quickly that, although exciting and highly entertaining, the plethora of new attractions available to them -- nails, power saws, steel re-bar, piles of bricks, deep holes in the ground, dirt clods to throw -- were all somewhat inappropriate. Before the first day was out I had a massive plywood barrier erected between the house and the construction site, both to protect our privacy as well as to keep the kids away from all the fun stuff. It also helped salvage whatever vestige of sanity remains in our spoiled psycho-labrador, because he was allowed to leave his pen and hang out close to the house with us.

I'm not sure that James has forgiven me for the trees yet; in particular, one enormous Oiti tree (top photo, center of right side) whose noble branches stretched to encompass over half of the yard, stands right in the middle of my future office. Or, it stood there. I called the kids as the chainsaw started to cut through its trunk, thinking they would be impressed to see it fall. James pleaded with me to "spare it", and even developed a number of suggestions as to how we could get around cutting it down: the main one being, to leave the tree in the middle of the house, with a hole in the roof. As soon as James saw the blade slice into the trunk, he cringed empathetically, flashed me a hurt look, and fled back to the house. Cristina told me that, as he passed, he muttered angrily, "Dad's massacring the trees!".


This all relates to the life changes I mentioned in a previous post; I've basically been on vacation since we closed the office in June; now I will begin working again, but this time out of my home. I have a couple of personal projects that I plan to be investing time in, and hopefully I will be able to drum up some more consulting work to keep things rolling. For this idea to be successful, we need more space: at the moment, my "workspace" consists of standing with my laptop at the living room bar, or sitting at the kitchen table. With three boys in varying stages of "wildness", I typically have to migrate around the house like a Laponian reindeer herd in search of a peaceful place to graze-- a safe haven, protected from the pack of ravenous wolves that seem to follow me wherever I go.

I have been graciously offered a more secluded workspace by my in-laws Dr. Celio and Clea, which I will certainly be making use of in the interim. But I wouldn't want to impose for an extended period of time, and we really do need the space: actually, we needed it even before shutting down my old office.

So construction is underway: just three months to go!

Construction in Brazil is very different from the US, in almost every respect. Over the next few months I should have ample opportunity to comment on these differences, so I'll leave that subject for later.


At August 05, 2005 12:16 AM, Anne Arkham said...

The second picture makes it look like you're building a windmill.


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