Although the second gardening season, the first for us. After manually removing stones left from the below the original park lot (thanks Kathy), we added six inches of compost and Jeff tilled them in.
Two years ago today, on a soggy, chilled-to-the-bone Tuesday in December, the Phelps-Montgomery House landed at 1:15 PM. The original one-day estimate stretched into three, stress-filled days; including inner dialogue with our naysaying demons.
"Will she make it?"
"I hope she makes it."
"What have we done?"
"She's gotta make it."
"What were we thinking?"
After all the prep and hands-on involvement to reach this point, all we could do during the move was watch. In the cold, in the rain, with the smell of bacon, VooDoo donuts and diesel in the air. We were surrounded by hundreds of people: friends and neighbors, supporting strangers and people driving by on a Sunday curious about all the commotion. Sprinkled throughout the crowd were those waiting for the house...to fall.
By day three, the mansion's 100 ton body was nudged along by a well-worn, trackhoe bucket partnered with hydraulic jacks and transport dollies. A dozen drenched Emmert guys, in sweaty work clothes and dirt-covered gloves, hard hats and yellow reflector safety vests, methodically repositioned fir wood cribbing...one at a time...over the last thirty-five feet for five hours.
The house unceremoniously came to rest on top of three rows of hundreds of giant Jenga blocks criss-crossed fifteen feet high in a hole dug for the foundation; water pooling from the rain despite the eighty yards of extra gravel. The crowds from the weekend were gone. People needed to get back to work, Jeff included. I stayed behind to photograph, kept company by my friend, Roxanne, holding an umbrella so my camera wouldn't get wet. People walked by with their dogs, and the neighborhood homeless gawked, grateful for a distraction.
We signed a Dangerous Building Stipulation Agreement - we had six months to secure the Phelps-Montgomery House to her foundation or the city would tear the structure down. A new character, Weather, entered as we readied for the next act - preparing to pour the foundation and secure funding. Nothing like jumping in with both feet before we knew we had financing secured.
As for the book? Sixty thousands words into my first draft with my FBI plot-wall below. I've never written a book before, but we didn't know how to move a house either.
Happy Birthday Phelps-Montgomery....Game On....(again)
August 29, 2014
The video was perfect...only one little tweak was needed...
We have three daughters: Kalah, Rachel and Amanda. Kalah wasn't listed in the credits, but she is now.
Kalah came up with the concept of naming the living spaces after seven Portland Bridges. The other submissions were:
- seven dwarfs
- seven days of the week
- seven books of Harry Potter
- the seven deadly sins.
Bridges seemed perfect. Who would want to say they lived in: Grumpy or Gluttony? Lust and Dopey may have had some takers, especially if Oregon legalized pot, but we'll stick with bridges.
August 22, 2014
The community garden is shoulder high with corn. The peas and eggplant have long since harvested, but there is still plenty of lettuce, herbs and tomatoes. Jeff and I don't have green thumbs, so the best we could offer were gardening tools, water and a plot for everyone to share.
As we approach November and the anniversary of the first move-ins, I think we're getting close to being "done" for the project. Maybe a sense of "done" is when you're ready for the next venture. In my case, the next creative venture is a book about the vortex in time where everything came together to allow this old house to be saved. In Jeff's case….well, we'll have to wait and see now won't we :)
After a tremendous amount of work on Jeff's part, we were queued up to take an extended vacation. Finally. We hadn't taken any kind of a break (as in being more than 3 hours from the property) in a year and a half. We were lucky enough to find neighbors and friends to watch over the properties armed with a truck load of keys, contact info for all the major subs (we were still under warranty and Jeff didn't hesitate to leverage, especially when there was an oversight during the mad rush to complete).
We needed to re-learn now to slow down.