Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Office Space Redux

When we bought this house, I had visions of turning the garage into an office, and having the crawlspace under the house, turned into a finished storage area. Nipper Knapp, ever the naysayer, said, it couldn't be done. Humanity was not yet advanced enough to make it so. But then a few months ago, our gardener/handyman/lord and savior, Roberto, and his brother, whose name is Geronimo, which is awesome, but everyone calls him Momo, were doing some work up the hill, and I asked them if they could finish that space downstairs. They said "Por Supuesto". Actually they said "Yes, of course". Roberto is kind enough to never make me speak my horrible Spanish. And in the rare instances when I do, he's kind enough to not laugh in my face.

There was a time in my life, when I could speak Spanish. I even read Borges in Spanish. Which kind of qualifies me for Mensa, because I don't even understand Borges in ENGLISH! I was fluent for crying out loud. My parents were kind enough to pay for me to get a liberal arts education, from the University of San Francisco. I got a degree in Latin American History. I visited City Lights Bookstore for readings by assorted communists and outlaws. I raged against the injustices of the last four centuries. I drove my car while intoxicated, with a Jesuit priest in the back seat shouting, "Lorenzo!" out the window, as we passed Lawrence Ferlenghetti on the street. I went to Mexico by myself, and didn't tell my parents where I was going. Sorry mom. I went to Allen Ginsberg's memorial, where they had oranges floating in a fountain. I wrote poems in Spanish. I know... mortifying! I'll try to dig one up, and post it. There was a lot of stuff about mangos, and unrequited love, and oh yeah, the sorrow of my privileged birth.

Here are some pictures of me spending Christmas in Cuba. I know! Escandalo! And NO, that is not Radio Raheem, in the pictures with me. It's the lifeguard from my hotel, and I totally made out with him. Sorry mom. The other shot is of me at some Santero's house, getting ready to sacrifice a goat. No shit. I actually left before they did that, which I kind of regret. I was chicken. They also sacrificed a chicken, but it wasn't me. Also, my hair was REALLY ugly. I apologize for making you look at it.

Nowadays, I'm lucky if I can remember how to say "how do you do". So I just don't. I figure people would prefer not to hear someone fumbling around with marbles in their mouth, rolling their r's inappropriately.

Where was I? Oh right, the crawlspace. Here it is before Roberto and Momo worked on it:

And I'm totally mad at myself for not taking pictures of the melee that ensued once they started work. First they had to haul away, the 80 years of construction castoffs, and DIRT that were under there. It took two giant truckloads to get it all to the dump. At one point there was a mountain of old wood, bricks and concrete FILLING the yard. One of the guys on Roberto's crew was using the pile as a work table to saw the plywood pieces, they were using for walls.

Then they poured a concrete floor. When I say poured, what I mean is two guys mixed concrete and then hauled it in there and raked it, or shook it, or whatever it is that you do to make concrete lay flat. The whole process, confirmed, once again, that while I think I could someday be one of those ladies on tv, with safety goggles, and a miter saw, that's just a big joke I keep telling myself. Because frankly, I'd rather lay on the couch in my recession dress and watch Jack play with one of his 1700 garbage trucks, and concrete sounds heavy.

Ok, so here is the finished room:

Now for the garage/office renovation. Oy vey. When we moved in, it looked like this:

Unfortunately, it now looks like this:

In the next few days, I have to figure out how to fit all the stuff into the crawlspace, so that I can start painting, and Nipper can start dry walling, and we can all get on with our lives for the love of the Virgen de Guadelupe...

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