Listening to: my hair grow
Reading: The Craft of Old Master Drawings, by James Watrous
Watching: dust motes tumbling through sunlight
Playing: the fool
Drinking: black coffee
After a rather tumultuous and unnecessarily dramatic breakup with my then-fiance', I moved from Richmond to my ancestral home in Virginia Beach. The timing was fortuitous. My grandmother, who had been suffering for years from Alzheimer's, congestive heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, had just begun a downward slide that culminated in her passing on Mother's Day of this year. I had promised her that I would see to it that she died at home and that she would be cared for by family, so the break-up actually facilitated an opportunity to keep my promise. Her passing was a great loss to the family, but a great blessing, as well; we all know where she went, and after years of chronic illness, pain, and the loneliness of being the widow of the only man she ever loved it is comforting to know that she has finally received her rest.
Because of the situation with my grandmother, there were a lot of other family and financial issues that needed to be dealt with, as well, and as both the eldest of her grandchildren and her favored grandkid (she loved all of us, but I was always the one that took care of her; she always took care of me when I needed it) it was left largely to me and my mom to handle the family politics as well as the final affairs and new financial situation. God has a way of putting us where we need to be, and the transition was made as smoothly as anyone could have hoped.
In addition to all of this, I am still trying to recover fully from the brain surgery I had in March of 2014. Because the tumor basically squashed my pituitary gland, I have had a lot of erratic hormonal issues and we are still trying to tweak the medications. Add that to the pre-existent chronic pain issues from back, nerve and related ailments, and the "tweaking" can get frustrating.
I say all of this not to garner sympathy, but in order to provide some background. Because of the chronic pain, the necessary pharmaceutical interventions, and the normal stress of day-to-day living, I have found it necessary to have some form of an outlet for my energies in order to avoid black depression and physical ailments brought on by lack of sleep and poor nutrition. The only outlet I have, is painting. For a guy who spent his entire life as what my son calls a "professional adventurer," suddenly being restricted to a sedentary lifestyle and relative isolation has been a pretty massive adjustment (although, by God's grace, I have found it to be a massive blessing as well).
So, imagine my consternation when I moved and discovered that my old studio space was no longer available to me. At the time, my mom was already planning to do some renovation to the house, so in the weeks leading up to Christmas she announced that, as part of the renovations, the one-and-a-half-car garage was going to be converted to a studio, meeting whatever specifications I required.
This was huge! Especially considering how hard it is for anyone to find affordable studio space, or, for that matter, to make space to work within their own homes, this really was a gift and a blessing to be thankful for.
If it ever happened. Bear in mind, I had not had any access to my painting for three months, by the end of December. I was getting a little bit anxious, and not in an expectant, excited way-- I mostly wanted to throat-punch people and yell at children, which isn't a very Christian way to conduct one's self. As a result, I isolated myself even more, spent a great deal of time reading and sketching, and WAY too much time on the internet. But work was gonna start January first!
January first came and went. The contractor stalled. New start date: first week of March.
Didn't happen. Next projected start date: end of April. Again: no.
After that, I recused myself from the entire affair, and started trying to figure out what I could sacrifice in order to rent a space somewhere else. This caused all sorts of family drama. My family is nothing if not emotional...
Anyway: the dude finally showed up today. We talked about what I need done to the space (which is good, because he had made some assumptions that would have been really inconvenient) and how it was gonna happen. He is, as we speak, getting the materials he needs to begin work. If all goes well, I should be able to start moving into the space within about 2 weeks. So, I'm expecting to be in by late September, early October...