Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anniversary Memories

What a special day! While at times it seems Tom and I have been at the Cauldron forever at other times it seems only months. It's hard to imagine that as of today we've been caretakers of our building for a year. Time flies when you're having fun . . . or are too sore and tired to notice LOL Time also seems to warp our memories just a bit and I'd noticed recently a lack of appreciation for the work we've done; not only ourselves but with others. We've been back to the question of 'Are the apartments finished yet?' which has to be the most frustrating question we get. When people think of a remodeling job it's usually in terms of a good sized work crew, a crew of experts, and in a month or so the job's done. With our work crew of only two it takes considerably longer for even a small project and I think our supporters sometimes forget that. Us too. It's easy to see a perceived lack of progress when the chore list is miles long but you've only gone a few feet LOL Right on time along came the anniversary of the date we began this adventure and with it a great chance to change this perspective.

Yule is a big deal to me, being pagan, and it was easy to include the anniversary date in the excitement of the holiday season. I decided on a whim to have a party and mentioned it to Tom who seemed merely ok with the suggestion. As you might expect the plans grew from a small private celebration into an event and even Tom even got excited and saw it as a special day. I found myself putting together a slideshow of the progress of our work and even designing a special picture to decorate the party cake. Invitations went out, first to those who had been volunteering, then family and finally we were including those we'd been doing business with such as the crews down at Beltz Home Improvement and Ace Hardware LOL Of course you know the neighbors have all been curious so we added them to the list too. Cake progressed to cake and cookies, pizza and finally champaigne to toast our adventure with. Heck, we even had matching holiday plates and napkins! Since we spend most of our waking hours at the Cauldron I'd put up decorations and a tree earlier and these were a great background for the party. The building had bought 'presents' for Tom and I to open for Yule - a new saw for Tom and a paint set for me plus knee pads for both of us LOL Brandie and I usually exchange gifts for Yule so we decided to add our celebration to the anniversary party and the pile of gifts under the tree grew. Then Tom got into the act and the building bought more presents LOL This time it was a lovely wooden box for my office and a garden statue to spread happiness. The turn out was good, 10 or so people shared our celebration with us and given it was an afternoon event on a work day makes it even more special that they could arrange their schedules and join us.

As much fun as the celebration was - who doesn't like presents and cake? LOL - even more important was the shot of reality the party gave us. Or maybe perspective is a better word. After putting together the slideshow I was fascinated by watching it and remembering all the work of the past year. Even though nothing is really 'done' I'd look at the before shots and the pictures of where the given project was now and it was like the old cliche of night and day LOL When I showed Tom he seemed the same and we sat together through the entire show commenting and laughing about some of the earliest projects. Today at the party our guests were equally fascinated. Watching the slideshow it's easy to see how very far we really have come and what a great job we're doing. I'm not bragging or anything but considering we had no experience whatever with a project of this scale, had never worked together before and were admittedly clueless about the exact scope of the job we've done great. Knock wood but there have been no serious injuries (knock twice for that one!), we've kept on track budget-wise even with the surprises and we've never given up. Sure, there have been a string of vacation days for both of us, days when we just needed a complete break from even thinking about the Cauldron but we've always returned and chugged along. Happily too, which is a great thing in itself. While we've had our moments of temper and arguments they've been rare and we've survived them not only as working partners but as a couple. The work has been challenging both mentally and physically, especially physically LOL, and we haven't always been successful at the first try on a project but in the end we've found the solution and gotten it done. So yeah, we've done good, and sitting there today sharing the celebration put the focus on not how far we have yet to go but how far we've come and what a transformation it has been. And what memories it has made! LOL

Exactly a year ago at this time we were the owners of a very, VERY cold building that Tom soon nicknamed The Icebox and we stood in the dark shop space - we had no electricty - half excited, half panicking. Today we remembered weeks of trying to work bundled against the cold while Tom crawled between floors replacing and repairing gas lines and then water lines. The day he got the heat on is marked on the calendar and was a huge victory and celebration. Running water was great, hot water soon after was a dream and the day Tom got the plumbing working - Pot to Piss in Day - is one of our most laughed about milestones. Compared to those first freezing and uncertain months even the larger accomplishments like finishing the second story roof this fall and the most recent furnace work seem a bit in second place LOL Watching the pictures I remembered not only the backbreaking work up on the roof but the wonder of a ringside seat for the hot air balloon festival and and peace and expansive view found working up there. The shots I took so proudly of the beginning herb gardern bore no resemblance to the lush area it grew into over the summer. The much laughed about picture of Tom standing comfortable in one of the second story windows brought back additional memories and laughter. So, here we are, at Yule, the season of transformation and rebirth and we're ourselves are smack dab in the middle of celebrating just such an event. The Silver Cauldron was named for such, Cerridwen's Cauldron of transformation, and I scheduled the official closing on Yule on purpose. Good juju, as my friend Nick would say LOL What a great time for a reminder of the transformations we've accomplished at the building and also of what may be accomplished by all of us in just believing and trying. I think that makes for a pretty good Yule gift! = ) And I have to admit, it's gotten me a bit excited too wondering about the adventures ahead in the next year LOL Tom has finished the new furnace installation upstairs, an awesome and monumental process that you'll see pictures of next year, and has moved on to ductwork aka knocking into walls and ceilings. I've settled into a cozy workspace off the shop area and have been back at the restoration work in the entry and break room. Come January I'll update the progress this far and upload new pictures from the past few months. In the meantime we wish you a merry and blessed holiday season, and a prosperous new year!

The Cauldron Crew