Friday Freeforming

I had a great time last night speaking at the Goshen Historical Preservation Society. The crowd was responsive, the food was good, and we even moved quite a few books. All in all, a successful event, and I couldn’t have asked for nicer hosts. My thanks to the GHPS and to all who came. I had fun.


Fall has officially arrived here in Maryland. After weeks of temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s, we’ve finally settled down into a much more autumnal mood. The trees have known what time of year it is all along, though, and have gradually, almost sneakily, been skewing their internal tint knobs over to orange and red and dropping leaves all over the lawn. It’s nice. I’ll miss tending my lawn and the flower beds, but getting the fall weather and fall color is a completely fair trade.


If you’ve been following this blog for a while now — and by god, why wouldn’t you be? — you know our house has been in complete and utter disarray for the past three months as we worked to retrofit our 80-year-old farmhouse with a modern geothermal heating/cooling system. As I reported several weeks ago, the system is up and running perfectly — so we’re now in the process of taking everything we moved out of the attic and basement to make way for the HVAC crew and putting it back. This gave us a perfect opportunity to sort through the clutter and get rid of some junk and, more important, change the function of several rooms.

You have to understand, our house has been added on to several times over its eight decades, expanding from the original one-bedroom/one bathroom farmhouse into its current hodgepodge of many odd-sized rooms. Some bedrooms are barely larger than closets, while others look like handball courts. A bathroom twists its way around the backside of a kitchen pantry. The upstairs doesn’t match the downstairs, and there are no real closets to speak of.

That sort of non-conformity is actually very freeing, in that it’s let us come up with some interesting functions for the various rooms and nooks and crannies. The upstairs room that once served as a makeshift kitchen, then, became my office several years ago. It’s a long rectangular room, only about eight feet wide — which was just wide enough for me to cram a desk and a bookshelf in one end of it. Our plan now is to move me out of the small office into the newly-organized basement, where I’ve got more room for bookshelves and all the random junk I like to collect. Knowing that I’m not much longer for my old office, then, I have adopted an I’ll put it away after I relocate attitude with my space. Thus, my normally tidy little office now looks like this:

Yes, it’s awful — like a Nerd Bomb went off, or something. Anyway, our task this weekend is to begin moving me out of that space, and into this one:

This is the front room in our basement — previously one of the yuckiest spaces in the house, but now gleaming with a new coat of wax on the old tile floor (notice the compass rose built into the middle of the floor — a nice touch that was almost invisible under the 50-year-old coat of gunk and grime we scrubbed off) and shouldering an incomplete coat of primer as I prepare to give the old panelling a coat of paint (a tough call, but the room remains very dark otherwise). The fireplace doesn’t work — the chimney needs to be sealed — but it’s a nice room, and with the new heating system, it’s the most comfortable room in the house.

There’s still a lot of work ahead — including running some new electric and telephone wiring — but our plan is to have the room ready and up and running by the end of the month so I can get back to work.

Have a great weekend.

3 responses to “Friday Freeforming

  1. Know any cures for Raging Envy?

    We live in an old farmhouse too, and are about to begin some upgrades ourselves…I’ve been putting this off for too long, dreading the upset. Congratulations on being almost finished with it!


  2. Josephine Damian

    Re: Reading the ending of Christie: It’s a compliment actualLY, most books I stop reading, I don’t care how it ends since the opening sucked. Your talking up the plot made me curious, and I was disappointed in Christie for losing me in the writing when the plotting was so good.

    In trying to tame my Internet addiction, I too have been experimenting with desk/computer location – interesting how form/function/enviromnent effect the creative process.

    Can’t wait to see pics of the finished writing room. Luv the floor.


  3. Brian Jay Jones

    Susan: I spent all weekend painting walls and pounding down baseboards. Today it’s wiring and phone line, and trying to move some of the furniture in. It’s a bit more of a challenge to get the furniture in than I thought it would be! Nothing fit quite the way it looked in my head….

    JD: Ahhh, I forgive you your anti-Christieanity . . . I can’t get into Sherlock Holmes, proving (just as you did) that the classics aren’t for everyone!