Progress / by Christina Rosalie

All day the thermometer hovered in the single digits. So cold, the air cuts at bare skin like a razor. The sky was pale, and the slight dusting of snow on the ground, kicked up with every gust of wind. The stream in the field on the way to the house was frozen today: a channel of blue ice bisecting an expanse of choppy ocher grass stalks. It was my first time at the house in a week. DH has gone every day, often hiring a neighbor who needs to support his snowboard habit, to help out with drywall removal and framing. I was amazed by how much they had accomplished. The difference in the space was palpable. Sunlight flooded in through the windows of the to-be dining room, filling the kitchen with light.

Seeing it made me want fast forward. I want to be there with my coffee and a croissant at the table, watching nuthatches and starlings fight for seed at the feeder, or my dog ferret out squirrels.

Instead, I spent the afternoon with a crowbar and hammer laboriously chipping the remaining linoleum from the floor. In the basement below me DH was finishing installing radiant heating, and as I sat chiseling fragment after fragment of adhesive and vinyl from the floor, I felt a little tickle of pride sneaking up my spine.

My guy can do this stuff: remove load bearing walls. Install radiant heat. We make a great team, and when I can, I’m there along side him wielding a hammer or heat gun—but this time he’s done it mostly himself, and I’m impressed.

He is fearless when it comes to tackling these projects (which are things he’s never done), and I like watching him: hair mussed, in a workworn sweatshirt and a tool belt. And watching him like this today, I started to understand his unswerving (obsessive) focus on this project.

For him, this is art. The zing of the table saw, the report of the pneumatic nailer, these are the soundtrack of his creative process. TodayI finally started to understand how for me it’s work and it’s fun, but for him it’s even more than that. For him it is a form of self expression—like my paint and the endless notebook pages I fill, DH finds himself in the process of making this space new.

The kitchen, as it was.

Almost the same view as the pic above, after the wall was removed.

Looking through from the kitchen to our future dining room.

Apple tree silhouettes against a winter sunset out the to-be dining room window.