Monday, April 30, 2007

Pouring Monday

To most folks, a rainy Monday is the suck -- to me, it's the music!

This means I'll see David Gabriel today -- he just called, and is on his way up later this AM. Thus, construction will continue on the basement shelving I so desperately need. Marge finished her unpacking and 'nesting' (as she calls it) back in January; I've yet to even begin, save for the DVD room and my drawing and light tables. The rest has been boxes, stacks, three storage units and a horrorshow; I barely made it through this CCS semester teaching, due to the constant difficulty getting to anything I need for class and lectures.

This involved a fair amount of prep -- Mike Bleier (my stepson) saw to the initial electrical work, prepping everything with new outlets (there were none, save for the washer/dryer outlets) and the wiring necessary to eventually installing lights and more outlets, where needed. Our plumber installed a sorely-needed pressure tank, which had to be done before any other work on the basement was undertaken. That was all finished by the first week in March, and I cleared a full half of the basement for the work ahead. I've given almost all my old pasteboard shelves and bookcases away -- Mike and his wife Mary claimed four of them, and the rest went to needy CCS students, starting with Joe and Becca Lambert, all gratis (the last three will be picked up today, again by/for CCSers -- use 'em in good health!). Marge and I have held onto and used the wooden shelving units here and there about the house; nothing has gone to waste or ruin.

As I've shown you before on this blog (see photo at left),
  • Dave does terrific work; check out the viewing room shelving he and his brother Mike designed and constructed back in February -- beauty!

  • But the basement library needs heavy-duty, rugged and long-lasting shelving units, and those can only be built, not bought. Dave initially wrestled with the sheer bulk and no-nonsense constructions I wanted, but he's now well into it; it's nothing like the marvelous work he did in the viewing room. The design is functional, not particularly pleasing to the eye (though I always love the warmth of wood, in and of itself): these will be sturdy, standing floor to ceiling, and holding the maximum number of books of all sizes possible, with the topmost shelves for backstock. I need them all; by the time we're done, 3/4 of the basement will be dedicated to the library.

    Dave began work on the basement project late last month, working with his amigo Josh; they got the sheetrock up, the mud work done and sanded, and I primed and painted that in a weekend. Dave came back this past Thursday and Friday, and he and Josh pulled together all the preliminary work on the shelving for a full half of the basement, completing work on three massive shelving units -- the rough equivalent of the shelving I had in my then-new Marlboro studio last year at this time. They had to fight the weather (a rental truck took care of the Friday haul of needed lumber, ensuring it remained dry) and lack of lumber (incredibly, not a single lumber yard or Home Depot in the WRJ area had 2"x 4"s!); that's now been solved, and the unit components are all cut and stacked in the garage and basement.

    Dave and Josh are returning today to finish the ten-foot-long shelving units they'd cut and prepared for, and I can't wait.

    By the end of today, those will be up and bolted to the walls; then Mike can complete the electrical work, placing lights and outlets as needed. Man, we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel!

    This means, after some cleanup and a little touchup on the painted cement floor, I can unpack every box currently stacked (five-or-more feet high) in the quarter of the basement we placed boxes during the move, opening that area up completely for me to seal & paint the floor and prep for sheetrocking and that basement area's completion. That section will ultimately sport shelving and some office/work space, with a computer work station for scanning/lecture prep for CCS needs and future publishing ventures. Back in December 2006, Dave safely removed the custom-built looooooooong computer desk/workstation Olivier Flaggelot had built for me for the Marlboro studio space (based on a rather inventive design we both cooked up, sketched, and Olivier constructed); that will go into the last quarter of the basement, along with more shelving, which will allow me at last to have my entire library accessible and out of boxes for the first time since the late 1980s!

    (And yes, Mike Dobbs, this time the shelving is accomodating expansion, too -- more shelving than I'll be filling!)

    Remaining work thereafter involves framing the laundry room, which will also be lined with shallow shelving (for standard-size paperbacks and vhs videos), and closing in the bulkhead with (a) weatherproofed door(s), which Dave will likely build, given the odd shape and size of that doorway. The goal there is to keep the bulkhead fully functional while sealing the basement from heat loss -- it remained pretty comfortable all winter, despite the heat loss, just from the warmth generated by the boiler and hot water heater. Still, for those below-zero weeks, we'll be installing at least two baseboard heat units at the far end of the basement, just in case.

    OK, time to go -- I've got a busy day ahead. This afternoon, Cat and I will be focusing on the long-under-construction website; hopefully, we'll have something up later this week, however skeletal. It's been a long time coming! I've been emailing Cat digital art & photo files all weekend, and I'm still hoping Jane Wilde gets around to mailing Cat a disc with all the work she and we'd done last year.

    [Cat, U R my computer guru; art (c) Cayetano Garza]

    It's coming together. It's all coming together.

    Tomorrow, I'll offer my first CCS graphic novel discussion class -- I'll be moderating a session on the first volume of Junji Ito's Uzumaki, which is among my favorite horror comics and graphic novels from anywhere in the world. I've prepped a Q&A sheet (which I'll post here later this week), and then it's Ivan Brunetti week at CCS. Ivan and his wife arrived this weekend, and he's scheduled a full run of workshops and lectures; last year, Ivan arrived with Seth and Chris Ware for a three-day whirlwind of creative and instructional activity, of which I only experienced one day, due to my schedule and the long drive from Marlboro to White River Junction. Now that Marge and I live fifteen minutes away, I hope to sit in on all of Ivan's sessions, except today's. Hooooo doggies! OK, enough of my rambling --

    Have a great Monday, one and all!

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