Part-2 Pouring the Footer

Normally my wife and I can take things pretty much in stride but the last few weeks pushed us to the edge of reason. Once upon a time, 30 or 40 years ago, "Woman's Day" or "Better Homes and Gardens", one of those magazines ran an article on whether you were about to lose your mind, i.e. require outside assistance, due to stress. They had a list of 20 items or so and on it were things like "recently lost a loved one", "moved", "lost or changed jobs", "gave birth", etc. At the time my wife and I laughed because according to their scale we were both totally certifiable. But missing somewhere in the survey was the certainty of youth and the romance of impossible challenge. We survived, our children grew up, our debts payed down and stopped bothering us quite so much. Death, life and change swirled around us.


Late July

Late August

Mid September

Late September 2007


So imagine the following. Margaret has severe arthritis. The challenge has been to maintain exercise in the face of overwhelming pain. Plan A, B, and C pretty much failed. Solution, get a very large puppy from the dog pound!! The dog does dog stuff requiring physical intervention: chewing, muddying the floors, body fluid training and cleanup, grabbing, object retrieval, etc. Up to a point the plan worked out but with some severe side effects: high stress, schedule disruption, thought disruption, chewed and permanently soiled goods, frustrated dog heebee geebees, vet costs, etc. Add to this 6 or 8 Amish workers with heavy machinery and hammers banging away at the crack of dawn, ten or twenty landscape objects run over by cement trucks with twelve inch ruts everywhere, inability to let the dog out due to power cords, inablility to let the dog inside the house anywhere but in the kitchen and needing constant supervision, add several friends that owe you money, accumulating debt, and, and, and, you have the perfect combination for something or other. Did I mention that recent studies have shown that Alzheimers is often triggered by stress. I have seen more soap operas and read more snippets of books in the last 4 weeks than anytime in the last 40 years (no cable in the kitchen).

A hidden factor for me has been that I get off work at 10:30PM, it takes me an hour to get home, one or two hours to eat and get ready for bed. Now it is 2 or 3AM. About 5AM the dog overloads. At about 7 AM the bangers arrive. Woof...."woof, woof, woof." Caffeine and pseudoephedrine only go about so far and no farther.

Originally, the construction project was to be my answer to exercise. I would construct 2 x 12 foot sections of the wall for the shop each week during the summer. After 9 weeks all 18 sections would be in place and then the contractor crew would magically appear and install the roof and siding. Once there was electricity and a roof, the shop could be used to make the aluminum skeleton for the greenhouse But because of the weather and other factors the slab wasn't poured until late summer. When the contractor then announced that he would put up the walls and sheeting for only $4800 more, do it before winter, and I being in the grip of severe dog trauma, the die was cast. The progress was very good. I might be able then to get the vinyl siding on by winter by myself saving another few thousand dollars needed for the greenhouse materials($1200 + labor!). Nix that idea.

Money, however, was now starting to be a critical issue and posed new challenges. And momentum, normally a good thing here might cause time travel, Rip Van Winkle style. With bad luck the cost of crashing the time lines then would preclude building the greenhouse, forcing it into the far future, and the result would be yet another abandoned slab, a muddy rutted back lot with no electricity, and no possibilty of completing the project in the immediate future. But the building would look beautiful, it wouldn't fall apart from water damage, and it would be fondly admired from the sun porch :)

Hence the name Uraniborg greenhouse. It reminded me of that ancient struggle. The Catholic Church had condemned the King of Denmark and Tycho Brahe for the heresy of declaring the earth not the center of the universe, but at the last minute the Church finds out about Uraniborg and offers some clemency in return for converting Uraniborg to a more acceptable, less heretic concern. A few bookshelves would then be substituted for the required laboratory. Both the King and Tycho Brahe had been there before!! Thanks to that experience and persistance, for the next 500 years Kepler's work on optics and astronomy, coupled with the invention of the printing press would help seal the fate of many who would seek to control what people thought. It is amazing what man could now see and create with a telescope, a microscope, a projector, a camera, and a pair of corrective vision glasses (not bad for one book!! Bravo Kepler!!). Weeks 1-8 are shown above:


This page created by Edward A. Kimble
Last modified 09/11/2007