I've always been into designing things. As a squirt I made drawings all the time. Blueprints of all types. Office buildings that were huge giant seven-hundred-story upside-down pyramids impossibly balanced on single points, factories and scientific machinery that transformed entire city's human waste into delicious popsicle treats called Billiard Pops. Young kid mind you - like ten years old. I designed boats, flying machines, cars (land, air, and subterranean rock-boring), I charted neighborhoods and patches of woods, I made scale drawings of my family's house and marked every hiding spot (color-coded, of course, according to hiddenness). I invented an alligator clip banana peeler, a new kind of bicycle, and a breakthrough home computer based on etching black crayon off the back of an illuminated screen. Use it once and throw it away! A one-shot computer! Genius! I called it the Scratch-o-Matic.
Eventually around 12 years old I started making actual house plans, figured it was time I guess, and yeah, I slaved over a couple sets of plans for ill-proportioned custom homes but all at once it bored the shit out of me. Snap of the fingers washed over me like food poisoning. All those fucking measurements and straight lines and right angles and height requirements. I remember looking at all of them and thinking that yeah these plans are cool and orderly and all that but what the fuck am I sitting inside doing this in the middle of summer. I'm a kid for chrissakes, Am I semi-retarded or what. Might as well take everything I own and line it up in perfect rows in the driveway. Go kick a ball. Go play some hoops.
Whatever. Didn't work. My obsession with pointless time-sucking scale drawings marched forward with robotic creepiness, acquiring new appendages, growing bigger and stronger like Voltron. Pointless repetition, unwavering and bland. If I had a company it's motto would have been "Providing You with Endless Detail for No Reason." Reams and reams of exact replicas of animals. I recently discovered all of these drawings. Weird stuff. It was like going through some sicko's case file. All the birds from that big fat coffee table bird book. Fish, freshwater and saltwater with and without habitats, reptiles, every dog breed that was ever bred in the history of everything, book jackets, shit from the Encyclopedia Britannica, and then finally, and this has to be my all time favorite: huge sections from the Old Testament copied word for word in handwritten typewriter font. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours of precious youth spent toiling away as the human typewriter. Why you ask? Cause c'mon, why would you go and buy a heavy expensive machine to type a copy of the Bible, when you could hand draw a replica of a typewritten copy of the Bible with a fraction of the money and no unsightly machines to collect dust. Always thinking, see, even at a young age.
So flash forward and I'm seventeen working in a bakery with a bunch of lesbians and some carpenter comes in to get a coffee. He sneezes and I say "bless you," and he says, "I don't need your fucking blessing." We throw some convo back and forth a couple minutes and then he offers me a job laboring for him. I take it instantly and thus begins my career in construction. This guy turns out not only to be an amazing carpenter, but the carpentry is a part of his way of life. He's like a carpenter Buddhist. Teaches me all about the philosophy of it, the respect of the tools and the wood, appreciation of the different architectural styles -- he had you seeing ghosts. Ghosts of all the artisans that built and carved Boston with their bare hands.
So this leads into a job working on a framing crew, and it just keeps going from there. Finish carpentry, drywall, roofing, painting, masonry, hardwood floors, concrete. Big huge fancy additions where the windows alone cost more than it would take to buy all my organs and dismantled body parts on the black market. Ultra high end restorations of carriage houses all the way down to painting the back fences of slumlord tenements with discount paint. Stories. Endless stories along the way. All for another time.
Then I meet this beautiful super talented girl and fall madly in love with her and she strives like hell to funnel my crippling attention to random detail into large labeled bottles. Realistic projects.
We decide to buy an old crusty house and fix it up. We search Mass for a house we find one: a 650 square foot dumpy-ass bungalow twenty minutes south of Boston. Previous owner had a yen for scattering player pianos around his backyard, making walls out of toasters and TVs, flashing people in his bathrobe, but not for cleaning or home improvement. Rough shape, but good bones, so we pick it up for short dough.
For the next few months my girl and I hit the bookstore, slug enough coffee to fill seven space shuttles, and sketch every cool house design that we see in all the fancy books that we can't afford. All styles, all eras. We get a design together, get the permits and before I know it, I'm gutting the house down to the studs. My girl is ultra organized, number one. Number two, I'm good at the work. And number three, the house is teeny tiny so yeah, the project ends up getting done because of those three things, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with my grasp of time management. Aside from some before and after photos I have very little to look back on and learn from and reference back to in the future.
See, here's the catch with me: I'm good with details, designs and doing super creative artisan work with my hands, BUT, as it is fully demonstrated by the aforementioned Bible thing, I have no big picture. No higher meaning for anything. No ability to see the layout of time be it retrospectively or futuremindedly. So my fiancée does as much as she has time for, but I'm an organizational boat anchor that can never be reeled up. She's just gotta set sail and drag my barnacle-encrusted ass along the ocean floor. You can ask me how long the project took and I can probably piece it together like a crime scene but I don't really know.
So the history of my first house starts off well documented and then gets spotty and rapidly trails off into darkness, a screaming shuddering subway train, and all I'm left with is the smell of it having rushed by me. I just pick up my cap off the pavement say "what the fuck was that all about." I am determined to change all that.
My fiancee and I bought our second house, a 954 sq. ft. run down ranch in Boston's Metro West region, and we're doing a massive addition and renovation. This house is different than the last. Bigger house, bigger scope, bigger money and it could be a financial and emotional disaster if I don't keep my documentation razor sharp. That's where this site comes in. At any stage of this project I want to be able to look over my shoulder back down the road where I've been and see every gas station, burger joint and motel in crystal clear detail. This site will be my tool to map, chart, and thus maintain constant control of the timeline of this project. This time I'm logging everything, every step of the way, every detail, down to the last nail.