No sooner had I posted a breezy little “Hey here’s what’s up; check me out, posting twice in a week!” than things got busy. And this is busy-for-me busy which is somewhat crazed by other people’s perspectives. In short, I got a buyer for the barn and they were interested in closing as soon as possible. And this would mean handling all the deferred maintenance and whatnot in as short a timespan as possible. And that would mean dealing with all of this in the same two-month is period where I had six (6: MA, ME, NH, NY, NC, Montreal) talks planned along with the usual stuff. My thought at the time was that school would be wrapping up and then I’d want to be busy and then would kick back, spending some time in Westport and maybe just noodling around New England. Instead I’ve been following this schedule where I’ve been working at RTCC Tues/Weds then leaving for somewhere Thursday, giving a talk, then coming back Saturday and assembling people to go do stuff at the barn in the meantime. And also trying to get contractors to fix things at the barn that have needed fixing for longer than I care to admit.
The whole thing sort of pushes a bunch of buttons for me that are difficult. Having to make a bunch of phone calls to poke people about getting things fixed (I had to call the furnace people six times to get a set date, this seems abnormal to me). Having to face that this all might have been simpler if I’d handled chunks of it before now. Feeling time pressure on someone else’s schedule. Writing big checks for things like surveying and renting a dumpster. Getting friends to help me with a sort of messy annoying task and trying to manage a bunch of people doing a weird hard-to-outline job. Dealing with the fact that I bought this house when I was maybe too young and too isolated to really manage it properly. Explaining to people that I’m actually mostly happy being this busy but that yes, I don’t have time to hang out when I’m in their city. Deferred gratification hoping it will all feel worth it at this point. Managing a lot of other people’s stuff that was left behind at various points and being annoyed at that. Throwing away things that might, in some other world, be reusable and repurposable. And doing a lot of this while also managing my full time job at MetaFilter while other people are trying to go on vacation and have their summers be fun also. There is no cell service in Topsham. I can’t multitask there. This is the good news and the bad news.
This weekend my friends Stan and Brian and Forrest (pictured, with me. I keep forgetting I am short) came up to help me clean out the barn and it was an incredible surgical strike of efficiency. We were there for about 2.5 hours and got most of the barn emptied out. This means now I have to mostly sort out the small stuff and figure out what goes to the thrift store and what goes to the yard sale, but that the bulk of the “things I can’t lift” have been lifted. I have about three weeks.
And so there were a bunch of other things I was going to talk about, but today has been my first Totally Free Day [where I wasn’t writing a talk or having a thing scheduled or out of town] in quite some time. And I’ve been meaning to write this all down. I’ve still got a few small jobs there if people are interested in coming up and saying goodbye to the place. All barn jobs come with a free meal at the Wayside afterwards. Worth considering.