Craving visible progress, or, how I learned to love glazing windows

The summer is coming to an end and with it I feel a sense of angst about all of the things I had hoped to accomplish over the last three months but just could not.  At the end of the spring semester, the summer ahead felt like a big, long, extended weekend where anything was possible.  Here we are in …September…. aaaack!….and there is much yet to be done.

One of the downsides of working in teaching and technology is that the work is never ending. It is all just one,  long continuous flow. Sometimes you can feel as if you finished something.  But many times, finishing one thing means 4 more things are now ready to be started. Success feels elusive …and when it does happen it take a few months, sometimes years, for things to circle back and let you know that what you did actually had an effect and even made a difference.

If you are a results-driven person, my friends, then mine is not a job for you.

I spent some of my summer in Maine and working on a house that has been in my family since the 1940s. I won’t lie: I am not a skilled tradesperson and sometimes I cannot hit a nail with a hammer to save my life. (I can however hit my hand, a wall and even a window. Don’t ask. ) Despite all of these facts, the thought of  stripping and re-staining a house, and then stripping and reglazing a couple dozen windows actually tantalized me. THIS was what I was craving during the other 50 weeks of my life: hard work and effort that would lead to visible, tangible results.

And hard it was.  We put in 12 hour days and dodged storms and even a few tornado warnings.  No limbs were lost but there were bruises, cuts, scrapes, burns and a lot of swearing.  And beer.  And ibuprofen.

When it was finally over the house looked great. I felt like I had been a part of an important accomplishment.  And I learned a lot about myself, about working with others, and about how and why change and decision making sometimes scared me in ways I could not have rationally anticipated.  I reminded myself, and was reminded often by others, to apply here some of my the things I believed in at work and in the classroom: don’t be stubborn, don’t be selfish, ask for help when you need it, trust in the wisdom of others …and know when it is time to just get the hell out of the way.

In the meantime, I found I had a license for a tool that can morph images and decided to try it out here with some of my pictures from the summer.   I am sure I will be coming back to these images later this fall when, per usual, I feel like I am swimming in tasks and not making an headway.

Click on the images to begin the morph!

East Side of House



back of the house



Provided Maine winters don’t get any nastier than they were this past year, I hope what we did will stay visible for quite a while.

Happy Labor Day!

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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