Every year I go on vacation with a dear friend. I take the small willful child along for the ride. We always have fun. The dear friend and I thought about extending the annual vacation invite to our partners, but I quickly squashed that idea. When either myself or the man has even a whiff of a chance to spend time away from the small willful child, there is a palpable excitement that need quickly be extinguished with the reality that the unencumbered one should probably do something to either increase the family fortunes or chip away at the renovation of the house-ish house. So, daughter and I went to a lake and the man went to Work Camp Prison. He took a prison buddy with him and they spent five days working from dawn til dusk in 30 degree hot weather.
While I kept the daughter from drowning, sunburning and running off into streets willy-nilly, the man and his prison pal saw to the problem of the front part of the house and its slow creep towards the earth from whence it came. This basically entailed digging out the ground beneath the front of the house, ripping out the entire mouldy crumbling wall of the first floor, forming up a concrete half-wall, mixing cement and adding various Dad-prescribed solvents to the home-made concrete, pouring the concrete, rebuilding the entire front wall, adding in our new old door, framing in a future window and replacing the house numbers back onto the plywood facade. Neither of the prisoners had any prior experience with concrete or concrete forms. When I phoned one night to check in, Prisoner Number One said, “Well, you know, I’ve never done this before so we’ll see if it goes okay.” Not words to exactly inspire confidence in the outlay of cash for materials and incarceration-grade steaks.
Love is like that. I never doubted his ability for one second. Coupled with the fact that Prisoner Number Two was serving time for things related to cabinetry and fine finishing – how could it go wrong.
They are singularly and collectively amazing.
I love how fortressy and Spanishy it is. Solid. Sturdy. Not sinking. I’m even secretly thrilled with the utilitarian plywood feel. It’s nothing that I want to hide quite yet. And that’s a good thing.
Because, on the road trip to the cold lake I saw this:
Clearly, it’s for sale.