Coming Back

May 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

It has been awhile since I have written. In the interim I have pumped out a second draft of my dissertation. That work entailed reducing a 400 page draft to 230 pages. The process of doing that amounted to a full re-write of the entire dissertation. I am very happy with the result and am now scheduled to defend before August 31, 2015. This is the first that I have been able to envision the possibility that I might actually graduate from my doctoral nightmare.

In the meantime, family insanity has not taken a hiatus just because I didn’t have time to write my way through it. And the toll it continues to take on my body has not abated. I have a lot of pain right now, due, in part, to my ongoing fight for sanity and well-being in a family system based on emotional denial, mental abuse, and physical absence. It’s also due to my work as a carpenter, and the hard physical toll that takes. It is also due to my 85 lb reactive dog who insists on a daily exercise of leaping at a crow, a scent of a coyote, or a dog a block and a half away. The pain also comes from the hours I spend on my laptop writing, processing data, and generating reports for my employer.

I will have one more round of editing on the dissertation before I can submit to defend. I have a brief window now to re-establish some of my writing and drawing practice. At the same time, my house is now in a partial state of demolish. We have started working on the upstairs renovation. The day after I got my 2nd draft of the dissertation in I was tearing down the ceiling in the front hall to figure out why the ceiling was sagging and plaster was dropping when the house was hit by a gust of wind.

In the front hall this morning is a fifteen foot PSL beam surrounded by more demolition rubble. The old framing has been removed and the path for the new beam has been cleared but we ran out of time yesterday to get it up into place so the framing is yet to be done.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 8.09.06 AM

In the kitchen, the ceiling is down as well, as we needed to ascertain the other end of the sagging problem and work out beam placement. I finally had an explanation for why the tiles in the bathroom were cracking. The wall is unsupported and sagging on that side of the bathroom and the floor is giving way. Now, in our kitchen, we have a full view of the underside of the bathroom upstairs. Fascinating, but not so appetizing.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 8.09.27 AM

In the mid-seventies this house was given the urea formaldehyde treatment for all the exterior walls. Everytime we open up an exterior wall to do repairs we have to clean up this awful dried up foam. It is not dangerous, in terms of hazmat, but it is a messy, pesky substance to clean up. Right now we have stud bays from the second floor exposed in the kitchen and there is bulging dried foam sitting there over the kitchen. Yesterday a bit of wind kicked up, blowing through the exterior wall and dropping fragments of foam in the kitchen. I have to get that cleaned up today.

I do hope today signals my new practice of morning coffee writing. It does my mind a great deal of good to simply describe what is going on in my life and make sense of my experience.

I don’t expect to change the world, I do hope to change myself and my reactions to the world. Hopefully, I can continue to improve my contribution and make a positive difference in the lives I touch.

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