Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
Ray Bradbury

We’ve now been working on the old house for 22 months, give or take the months when little to no activity occurred.  A visitor yesterday commented on our “preservation” efforts.  I’ve considered our  toils, and more often described them as “restoration” of an old house.  But “preservation”(-ORIGIN Latin praeservare, from prae- ‘before’ + servare ‘to keep’) may be a better description. It is the preservation of, not only my childhood memories, but of an era.  Of open spaces.  Of a slower pace.  Of a quieter place. A simpler time.

While we have made great progress, there is still so much left to do.  The little details slow us down – the caulking-let dry, priming-let dry, painting-let dry….  For the last two Saturdays I have worked on a set of windows in the den. It has been a few months since I’ve worked on windows from start to finish.  While the steps of window restoration are methodical, I’d forgotten how long each step takes. Maybe by the time I get to the last window I will remember that the process takes (me) about four weeks to complete.  A bit frustrating when you are attempting to come to the conclusion of a project.  Don’t think. Just do it!

Yesterday Handi-man finished the restoration (preservation?) of the old fridge that we recently located, purchased and hauled home. She is a 1949 GE SpaceMaker that almost did not fit into the space allotted for her. She has been disrobed of her rust and is wearing a new coat of paint and a new gasket.  She is plugged in and frosting over.  She has been dubbed “Cleo”.

Handi-man then turned his hand to the task of framing in the window in the dining room.  It is a salvaged replacement double-window from a home in Webster County, replacing the windows that had suffered much decay and rot due to rain running over and around a window AC unit.  And that’s when he finds another live, active colony of termites. The enemy of old homes.  The very name of these little critters conjures up something dirty, something dark. Liken to a  dirty secret. A skeleton in the closet. Something that no one wants to talk about.

Handi-man just shakes his head. Another intermission. More restoration in an effort to preserve the past. He says to me as we sit on our front porch all sweaty and nasty after a day’s work at the farmhouse, “You know she’s going to just fall down one day. She’s just going to collapse.”  I do not reply. Are our efforts fruitless? Should we have never started? Should we have stopped and given up long before now?

She’s old. Old things eventually cease to exist. Time is her enemy. For now we will tend to her ailments and attempt to preserve her for a season longer.  Don’t think. You simply must do things.

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