Report from the Floor

I threw my back out somehow this weekend, I think due to a combination of many weeks of stress, humping furniture, toting boxes and hanging pictures. Not to mention I due construction work for a living. I wasn't able to walk most of yesterday, so I spent the day on the floor or couch, eyeballin' the various items around the house I needed to be working on. The most interesting thing of not being able to walk was trying to plan my movements, determining how to get from point A to B, by a combination of crawling, or hanging onto various furniture or walls or six-year olds.

I have found that after a couple of weeks on a large job, I find I have an exaggerated sense of the house I'm working on: all the various areas that need attention, how the light moves through a space, what is the natural flow that a person makes through it. Some of the problem areas get put in the percolator, so that ideas can bounce around before whatever decision is needed for that particular area. It is both an overwhelming and somehow comforting feeling to gain this omnipotent sensation of a place. For example, when we first moved in, we found the cabinets in the kitchen to be covered with years of grease both inside and out. Since we don't have thousands of dollars to pay my friend Tim to build new ones, I sprayed six cans of Easy Off oven-cleaner on the worst spots and then sanded the entire group of cabinets down to raw wood and applied two coats of polyurethane (marine varnish actually, using up a can I'd been carrying around for years) on the shelves. The doors and face-frames will get painted later. Two days of this put me into every nook and cranny both inside and around the cabinets, giving me a new sense of intimacy with the geographies that make up our kitchen. To say the least, crawling around on the floor added to the sense of what this house is about, and what it needs.