Friday, August 10, 2007

The smallest of updates

The 911 job has its moments, and my learning curve is still a Gordian knot. I have a wonderful training officer, so that makes the hard days better. The vote's still out on whether I'll be there in a couple months, but if I'm not, it won't be for a lack of trying.

The rains have been regular, which makes me long to be digging in the dirt again, but that has been shelved while I am cycling through varying shifts at work....days for a few weeks, nights a few weeks, etc. So I snip and add to the old three ring binder that houses my various ideas, clippings, and such for our one-day-homestead. Homesteading is a heart inclination. I'm finding myself preferring to choose a few things to do well rather than to run around chasing too many other things right now. Right now it's all about getting the debt retired, and my husband's continued efforts to trade one of his residential vacant lots for rural acreage.

We've had another encouraging lead in that area, so J is pulling the plat maps and records to talk further with one man who's shown an interest. He has five acres he'd consider trading. We'll see if anything in what J sends him to look over piques his interest. I'm quite curious about what the acreage looks like and how it's situated, though I do know the general area. But I'll wait till we know if there's a real interest in doing a trade or not before getting excited about anything...and in the meantime I'll be studying for my next test.

J is now working fewer days with longer shifts, and this seems to suit him because in the alternate days he can rest when he needs and also pursue the many chores and projects that need finishing...which he really, in fact, loves to do :) In years past, he built a house owner-builder, which is to say he did the actual building of it himself and with the help of a few things contracted out. It took him a while to build. I'm not sure how long, because that was before our history together began. When he left high school way back in the day, and returned from serving (and surviving) military service (ah, the draft), in whatever he did, he always set aside a little bit of whatever money he made to renovate run-down houses, and eventually to build a house at a time on the side. He's never been rich, but in my opinion, he's a smart fellow, and I'm fascinated that he over the years has always had something like this going on in addition to his regular job...simply because he loves it. He dreamed in those years of doing what we want to do now, but he did not have a partner with the same vision at that time, so he was content building houses, little by little, one by one.

Long story, and as always, I'm short on time...and I have a laundry list of things I need to do HERE, on the BLOG...such as the overdue blogroll (days have turned into weeks!)...but I wanted to acknowledge that my world and my life would be colored entirely differently were it not for the steady and willing partnership of my husband. What an amazing gift of the Almighty to my life...whether we ever "get anywhere" or not...whatever we build, I'm so glad it's with him. I'm hoping that will make each step, even this step of waiting and preparation, something to be appreciated.

J is working on piecing together a house plan in readiness for that day we're hoping will be sooner than later. At any rate, we're enjoying the collaboration. Not that we have many spare moments for leisure conversations about it, but it's always rattling around in our heads, and we catch our time together on the fly...and have fun discussing it again and again as we collect ideas. He wants to utilize passive solar, as he did in one of the houses he built and lived in in the past. He's the sort of guy who can build and fix things, and we're poring over the scientific fact sheets on this and that related to keeping a house IN FLORIDA as cool as possible, as efficiently as possible. He likes utilizing traditional methods AND keeping an eye on newer innovations. My bent is far more traditional and spartan, but I also like bounty and beauty. I'm not sure how he'll marry some of my requests to his requirements for a house design...we definately each have our own ideas in that department. He has so much fun with the planning, though, that there is no rush, and whatever it becomes, it'll be unique and personalized, probably over the course of time. Neither of us wants to rush when we finally get to that point.

He wants passive solar, with any innovation that brings the $$ down as low as possible. I want function and a good flow to the design. I have some personal preferences that fall into no particular category, but are just on the wish list. For me these include:

1. Kitchen with at least one exterior window with a decent view, a window sill deep enough to set things like potted plants on, and designed so that the interior of the kitchen (the work area) does not have to be a main thoroughfare to any other place such as a garage, laundry room, or other high traffic area. I dont mind the traffic flow going beside the work area, around it, near it...but right through the middle, ARGGGHH :)

2. Seemingly contradictory to the above, I do want the kitchen to be THE main room, or A main room of the house where people can gather and munch or work together on meals. I love visible and serviceable pot racks that arent just decorative, and some sort of work area that is open to the dining and living areas, no matter how large or small those are.

3. I'd like transom windows above the interior doors, ones that can open and close in a way that's vented towards the ceiling, to allow for airflow through the whole house.

4. I'd like at least 9 foot ceilings, but not much higher than that unless in a particular area like a living room, where there might be a loft with a half wall or balcony. Even in a very small house.

5. I like windows that are positioned whre you have good airflow through the WHOLE house, or at least crucial areas.

6. I'd like at least one bedroom to be on a second storey, with windows that can be opened at night for good airflow when the weather permits. The reason I really want this is because I really dont feel safe leaving ground floor windows open while sleeping at night because I dont know anywhere in Florida we could live that that could be reliably safe. But an upper floor bedroom could get some excellent breezes, especially with the aid of a ceiling fan. And boy is it hot here most of the year...

7. I'd like it to look aesthetically nice...not like a space capsule, bad science experiment, or strangely out-of-place in a natural setting.

8. Openess to the living room/eating area/kitchen with a good flow.

9. Some good storage and room to customize extra storage in later years.

10. EFFICIENT. Enjoyable.

That's about it....and oh yeah...

11. A mini guest cottage attached to the house with a dogtrot.....for visitors!! :)

Ah well, frankly I'd be happy with a big cardboard box and a sterno can to cook over just now if it were someplace that's OURS :)

I need to sign off here quickly. I read all the wonderful blog postings out there, and cheer for the gardens that are cranking out their bounty, and all the wonderful endeavors that are underway and being documented....I'm always so inspired. I'm happy for the Eating Local folks who're showing me it CAN be done...and so well! I'm following the legislation updates and the livestock tales. I feel very behind in all I'm doing, but I dont have time to wallow in self-recrimination. I actually LOVE the 911 job when I feel I'm doing well at it (those moments come and go just now)...on every call, people are being helped, and I've had some calls I'm proud to have kept a steady head through. It's knowing that many of the calls are truly life-or-death that makes me the most nervous during the learning process. And it really makes me not take for granted seeing my family each night safe and sound at is fragile and precious and each day now IS truly a reminder.

Hope to be checking back in soon. If J comes up with some sketches, I 'll see if I have the computer skills to try showing them :)

Hope all are well, content, and prosperous ...hug your loved ones "good" :)

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