Monday, September 08, 2003

So how does a sophisticated, arts-oriented gay professional urbanite wind up spending his weekend shoveling guano (that's bat shit, btw)? Just lucky, I guess. The partner was teaching all weekend at his place, two levels of the Masters Degree Program in Creative Arts and Learning for teachers who need upgrading and recertification. I drove up on Saturday afternoon and stayed through Sunday evening.

The one remaining barn on the property is a little New England gem--a granite first level set into a slope with two stories above in old clapboard that we are slowly but surely reshingling. Inside is all warm colored wood with very wide plank floorboards. In the upstairs there are two large windows at either end and several skylights that provide excellent light. This space he wants to be a studio for me. I was delighted when he proposed it. But there is no way it can happen without a lot of work.

One of his dearest traits is his generosity. In the 31 years he has had the property, lots of people decided that this barn would be just the place to store all their stuff while they ran about the countryside experimenting with alternative lifestyles, Looking for America or just trying to find themselves. He said sure. What most of them seem to have done was to find themselves on the left coast, settle in and forget whatever it was they had left behind. Add to this the storage needs of a working conference/teaching center, the gradual invasion of what Bugs Bunny used to call our dear little woodland friends--and the arrival of a healthy colony of bats--and conditions eventually became what we call in this neck of the woods "way wicked pisser" gross.

So . . . on the Labor Day Work and Play Weekend (aka gayboys use chain saws and do other really butch stuff) I said the time had come to begin to attack the barn. The truly heavy and awkward items like the broken refrigerator, the old mattresses and springs and some office machines from the pre-electronic cast iron age were sent to the dump while we had a lot of muscle to haul and load it. Last weekend I took over alone to go through everything and bag most of it for a yardsale or the dumpster. Then there was a LOT of work with a shovel. I did uncover a gem, however, a late Victorian Eastlake harmonium left over from the previous owner. As it is filled with nut shells from several generations of rodents, I have no hope that it actually might work as an musical instrument. But it is certainly a great restoration project for somebody looking for a beautiful piece of antique woodwork. Interested parties, please be in touch! I want to get that studio going.

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