Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I'm Busy. Here's A Picture Of A House.
I've built a lot of different things over the years.
The term "built" is nebulous. The owner of the house builds it, but doesn't do anything except write checks until their hands bleed. The designer usually stops after the lines are on the paper. The general contractor generally rides herd over the whole mess, and is often a framing contractor around New England. The rest is subcontractors, or "specialty" contractors, who don't know very much about everything, but know a great deal about what ever it is they do.
I used to work at large commercial contractor, and there were people there that had been working at "building" things their whole lives, and had never seen one of them. They never left the office.
I make furniture now, and like it. But we were out on Christmas Day, visiting for the holiday, and we went to the house in the picture. It's perhaps the best expression of whatever talent I have at building my favorite thing to build - a house. And if anybody can claim to have "built" a house, I can claim this one. I paused in the driveway, and for a minute I remembered the scratching on the paper, and the spreadsheets, and the permits, and the framing, and the painting, and trim, and ... well, I remembered all the effort I put into that place; remembered all at once. It might be a better example of the most gratifying work I've ever done than even my own house. It still looks neat as a pin eight years later.
In three hundred years, that house might still be there. Someone might find the business card I pitched into the space between the stringers just before I nailed the stairtreads home. Will they think: "I wish that guy was alive today to build me another house"? Or will they wish I was there to get a scolding for a missed nail, or a crooked stud I should have burned instead of nailed?
I don't know. But I do know I wouldn't have thrown my name in there, if I didn't care about what I was doing.