framework & fretwork


just t he f/acts

para//ax e

margin all i a

Because we were getting down to the business of eating, I thought the best place for this insect was in-between the slats of the table, and I let it crawl off there. The next day, eating lunch at the picnic table, I noticed the insect. I said to Paul, "Remember the insect from yesterday?! It's grown another head on its … Seriously! I can't figure it out."

Paul took a look, and we discovered the bug shed its skin, erupting out of the middle of its former self, which still clung tightly to the picnic bench in translucent ghost form, while the new bug bobbed sporadically in a catatonic state outside of its former self. We marveled at this act of nature shedding its skin with the self-made act of rebirth. I asked Paul to take a picture of this 2-headed bug. Then the bug turned over and piggy-backed on it's former self.

We were still trying to figure out what it was. It looked like a dragon fly with the big eyes and now elongated tube of a body, but it didn't have wings, just chitinous earth brown nibs jutting out like armament on the thorax of its body. Then, it happened. The nibs were growing. 

I wasn't certain at first. I had to check myself to remember if I saw these milky green buds previously. In the span of 4 minutes, as we continued our conversation and monitoring the insect to see if we were really seeing what we were seeing,  we were soon convinced the wings were growing before our eyes. Eventually we were amazed to see the birth of a dragonfly, with the full length of its wings now longer than its elongated body.

As the dragonfly stayed in situ, its wings dried to a transparent fine web with a tiny Mucha yellow fleck. I marveled that this act of nature was more amazing and noteworthy than, say, the industry of our airplane. Everything the dragonfly needed to transform and give flight was knowingly and self-sufficiently incorporated, from the finest practicality of constituents for flexibility of the wings to emerge from the housing of its body, to then dry as a stiff and transparent shellac, to give birth primordial wings.

Paul asked me what it's name was, as I had named the frog I had found previously "Albert." I looked up and said naturally, with a hint of a knowing smile that felt right upon delivery, "Drago."

You can see for your self here: Paul Drinan's Highlight/ Click f0r enlarged pics


The next job site is across from Militia Lane in Scarborough. I priced this out with Paul with my free time, as he had asked me to accompany him, so that I could inspect the current paint condition myself, and so that he could verify and understand the paint work involved which I would be doing, and to not underestimate the time to prep and paint the oft beguiling deck rails. We inspected the underside of one of the decks which is on the 2nd floor, which serves as a shaded cement patio underneath it. I noticed the joists above were covered with black and green water trails and slimy algae, and some black mold spores. I suggested treating for mold and algae with a bleach-based product, which may require some scrubbing, but all in all not a big deal, and the entire job could be done on a rainy day for a few hours, which is in the forecast, when an exterior worker would ordinarily have to sit the day out, so there would be no time lost per production on account of this process. 

Paul doesn't like the sight of the staining on the joists either, now that I mention it, and suggests painting the underside white. I said that would be creating a lot of future grief for someone (as Paul should know, as he is concerted in knowing how to build the deck right and has vocally complained about others work many times for not doing so, that water runs from in-between the decking boards above, which it needs to do by design, to relieve the deck of moisture) so, I explain, painted joists overhead will also turn algae-stained like the unpainted joists, with the addition of peeling paint over time, creating more unsightliness for the underlying patio area, and more work, and harder work because it is overhead, than simply treating and scrubbing the joists from time to time. The timeliness of my suggestion to cleanse the pressure treated joists now, and leave them in the natural form as the best supporting option, and that it be a consideration of the whole work to be accomplished per his price quote, is that the old deck is coming up and a new one is being built in its place. Also, the homeowner is having a party, and completing a new deck in the backyard is part of the plan for the reception. Anticipating that guests will roam, it would also be nice to have the visible underside holistically treated in same measure, to be complimentary to the new and finished work on the topside. 

The work on this job site, also involves scraping paint off of clapboards on the two-story exterior house above the lower deck, and getting on a slightly more pitched roof than comfortable, to prep and paint from the peak of the house and trim, down to the painting of the rails in the round, as no neophyte line of lumpy drips are going to happen on my watch, inherently understanding, and by comparison, the energetic cost and value of my due diligent prep and the work I have before me to persevere to deconstruct into a blatant state of disrepair, then with applied fruition, make it smooth and right, layer by each protective and cosmetic layer. Simple process, however you need to be present throughout to get the results you desire with duration over time. Paul asks me how I am with heights. I say that I am not afraid of heights, and if anything, my concern is that I am too comfortable. Going over the scope and strategy of work with Paul helped him submit a true cost price quote and we were able to strategize how to work our work in tandem for efficacy. For instance, when the old deck is removed, I  communicated that I would like to paint at least one coat on the inside facing rails, before the new deck goes down. He concurs. This way, I am able to put primer and paint that acts as a preservation measure on the wooden rails, in places that I wouldn't ordinarily be able to reach with a brush, or any other way, had the deck already been in place.

At lunch I walk the neighborhood, and notice everyone has a spacious house and a well-manicured lawn, and while it is a pleasing sight, the street names are military based, and honestly, I think to myself, I wouldn't like to be reminded of "militia" every time I thought of home… I imagine you just get used to it.

The previous job I worked with Paul at Sabbath Lake involved taking up a slanty floor and building a new level one, which included taking up 8 layers of linoleum in process, in which you could see the eras of the flooring unfold before you. Was the building from the 1930's? I loved the geometric 60's and 70's linoleum patterns and a gingerly faux terrazzo from the 40's? Sure, raising linoleum and nails off the floor is work, however the work to rebuild a wood floor as well as demolishing and hauling out adjacent cabinetry that had seen better days in the process, is the kind of work that makes you swear, with a sledge hammer, and when that doesn't work, a crow bar and big hammer, perhaps a jig saw or a cats paw, or just the vain wrestling sometimes of you vs the nail, or some little something that won't budge. And when forward progress is stalled by one immovable nail attached to a floorboard attached to a joist, it can make your brain and brawn both feel meager as you don't know which to ply to move the project forward. It was a juggling act of hard work, on the body and the mind with the job-start-and-stopping minutia of built-in and accumulated frustrations inherent to the endeavor. However, your motivation, if you are like me and are committed to the work at the onset, is to get it done, preferably in one energy-expending and dirty day or two, so that it is behind you, and the smoother and more comfortable work of rebuilding it right can begin. Not to say that building is not work also, body and mind, it just seems, if you are any good at what you do, then you build comfortably within your intention as your problem solving expression, with pesky withholds eclipsed from purview.


Paul and I are under pressure to complete the deck/rail/house job in Scarborough, which hasn't been aided by the forecast of rain, which I will have to work around regarding painting. He has enlisted help from Jay that he found on Craigslist. Jay is several hours late to start the job, however he is coming from a distance of over an hour... I like Jay, while slim, he seems simple and earnest. Paul leaves us to work while he runs errands. At lunch time I notice Jay isn't eating, and he didn't bring a lunch. He is doing hard work of cutting the nails with a jig saw from underneath the deck, and using a heavy sledgehammer, swinging from below the deck in an overhead manner, sometimes in a crouched and constricted space. For me, I couldn't do this kind of work and not eat; a whole gnawing hole in my stomach would be too distracting, and in fact, I intentionally change my eating habits to beef up for this kind of work, day after day. I tell Jay I have bread and PB & J and can make him a sandwich. He accepts. I make it exceptionally stick-to-your-ribs thick. He doesn't seem to be effected when I hand him the sandwich, like he is not used to the idea of the importance of eating, from his own hand or at all for that matter. The next day, Jay doesn't show up.

I have a passing thought about the number of people that apparently work for Paul but are also not present. Evidence is "Dane's hammer" contrasting in my mind, "Where is Dane?" Or Mitch, whom I know, that jammed his finger in the comfort of his own home and couldn't show up to the job site the next day, and since. (That is when Paul called me…)  It reminds me of a job I went to bid, for a woman that needed her trim painted inside her house to match "Navajo White." She had several (far too many, like 5-6-7) different shades of Navajo White on her trim, exasperatingly, in one room. Knowing that "Navajo White" is a different color per each brand, I was seeing the problem of unifying the paint work as her "effectively" going thru people on her job site, and that this job offer was a pothole to be avoided, as straightforward as the work would appear. 

(I did the work. She contacted me a year after my original price quote. I said I didn't have the original quote on hand, and asked her if she did. She said she didn't. Funny, because in the silent space of talking with her on the phone, after I asked that question, I felt she was knowingly hiding something, like it was a repugnant yet self-serving joy to lie to herself (and to me?) at the same time, also in the inhospitable infectious uptick of her words preceding it. Since I didn't have other work, I said I could do the work at $20 an hr, my rates have probably gone up since the last quote, and explained the process of needing to sand, in effect to create abrasion, on the paint on the entire entertainment center wall, as with all the trim to create tooth for the unifying paint layer, and what I estimated the time to complete would be. After the work was finished, she produced my original quote from a year previous in response to my updated to present time invoice, and "triumphantly" held it over my head that I apparently gipped her. I got paid, but I had to tease it out of her teeth every step of the loony way, as if it wasn't a nuisance enough to remove her entire toy boy porn collection, which was surprisingly not in good taste because it was adjacent to her overarching spinelessness, and underrated and actively unattractive as "well-rounded" lumpy and wart bumpy existence, to get at the contracted work at hand in the first place: Lesson learned, to avoid potholes as customers: They can set you back in your painting biz). 

Paul still needs help on the deck, not that I couldn't help, however I need to keep my attention on the deck rails and house to prep and paint with the same impending due date. He asks me if I know anyone that could help him, I told him I would see … Later that day I am at the gym, and my buddy RyRy from the gym (that is what I call Ryan, with his down to earth-eating stride, easy going sense of humor in his laid back yet hard working presence (I've seen him work out) who is, by the way, very Wow! in his musculature and dynamic movement and a real joy to exchange sweaty bear hugs with passing High-Fives), asks me what I am doing and I mention the work in the trades. He says he is looking for extra work to get something Big for his mom, who is retiring after 35 Years!!! of being a Teacher. (Isn't this guy awesome!) I ask for his number, and explain the deck work as a possibility and I would get back to him. I find out that he has past experience working for his uncle in building custom houses in his youth: Even better! I email Paul, and give him Ryan's number and visa versa. I think these two will get on well together, because Ryan, besides having a congenial personality, polite sensitivity, and an abundance of muscles he can flex at the job site, is very dynamic because he is also a fighter, works (something like) a nurse in hospice care, and embraces yoga, likes the ladies, and is bass thumping energetic, ground, and All-Around.

Memorial Day, I carpool with Paul, and we pick up Ryan as the parking situation on the job site is tight. I comment that the 3 of us get to celebrate together, on this fine day to memorialize. There is some jocular conversation on the way to the job site. I don't know how we got on the subject, I think it was Ryan talking about my friend, Andy, who we both know from the gym, and his new vaporizer he loves like a girlfriend, re Ryan said it and I laughingly concurred. I had to make a distinction because the Andy he thought I was referencing was not the one he knew in relation to me at the gym. I let him know I have a collection of Andy's and told the story of when I was riding with the Triple-A guy towing my vehicle, and made a call from his cab to Andy, my roommate, and Andy, that works on my car, and Andy my friend to pick me up when I got to Portland. To complicate things, there is the Andy at Walmart that put coolant in my window wiper fluid compartment in my car, which of course, hastened another call to Andy that works on my car, and to Andy for a sidelined lift, and then there is Andy I worked with, and a few Andrews that I know thrown in for good measure. Paul and Ryan think my story is funny, considering the cast. I added that the Triple-A guy was trying to make a cosmic move by suggesting to me that the Universe is telling me something, that maybe I should step outside of Andy for a refreshing change, and that his name is Tom. I didn't tell Tom, having already taken in his penny candy, candy bar wrapper, sugar soaked soda bottled littered cab, that beyond having a severe lifestyle challenge ahead of us, Tom is my second most curated name (for having a cab littered endeavor).

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