Monday, September 12, 2011

It might as well be fall...

idyllic picture of my bungalow from the St Michael Shrine across the street

For a few days the temperature here has relented from its summer mode and the results are that of what could be considered Paradise. The sun is shining with a little less force and we have even managed a cloudy day. It has made some of us do something unthinkable: open a window. For months we have lived cocooned in our air conditioners not straying much outside except for the early hours of the morning when the temperature hovers in the mid 70's. Well, the seasons they change, change, change...

I have taken a subscription to the St. Petersburg Times which I find intellectual and uplifting and if I do say so myself, liberal and left leaning in these radical conservative times. It is a fine newspapers maybe better than those that I was used to reading back in Jersey. With the exception of the New York Times. Most of those papers were fairly uninspiring as they were produced in an environment where left leaning liberals were the norm. Here where we are rare it seems that we have a solid voice of support by this independent newspaper that is not part of any conglomerate chain and therefore has its own voice of liberal reason.

My voice was recently heard at our church as I was asked to give some explanation as to why I joined this faith. I, as the youngest member of this group and only a three year old UU had a few things to say. It was nice to hear from others who had their own revelation of the meaning of community and why they joined. Today we celebrated the 104th birthday of the oldest member of our flock, Augusta. She is quite a character with a joyous sense of life.

But in spite of Fall, cool off, or church sermons the project at hand remains to get the house up to snuff. I lived in such a wonderful space before that I am on a deadline to return myself to that environment as soon as possible. This week and for the past two weeks I have been restoring a closet that was, how shall I put it? A bit of a mess! It has a wonderful little window, but as I know from the past closets with windows are dangerous to bleaching out your clothes. So must have been the concerns of the prior owners as they nailed everything possible around the entire frame of this window to keep light out. My task has been to repair these as well as the other hundreds of holes they put in walls, frames, you name it. When fully functional I will share with you the results for now it suffices to say that this closet has a better view than most closets and better than many houses!

The project of the week has been looming for months since I first purchased the house. The central gravity flow furnace sat in the center of the house between the living room and the dining room. It measured roughly two by three feet but was about five feet tall. It hung from the floor and projected deep into the crawl space of the house sitting above the sand.

Lacking a truck or a strong enough assistant to help me get it out it has sat there until I found someone devoted enough to me and my cause who would lend the necessary muscle and pickup to get it out. I found one in a dear friend at church who borrowed a truck to help me and we got it out. On the side we noticed its patented date of 1940. Not surprising for a hundred year old house to have a 71 year old furnace. I should say that it has not been in use for quite some time. I can't say when it was last in service.

Once we got the furnace out of its hole we notice a certain rust line running about halfway up the structure. If intelligence serves me I suspect that during a storm in the past the furnace must have been inundated to about that magical rust line. If so, I am safe to think that the house has never flooded but not by much. If I project that line into the structure it would seem that water was about three feet off my porch.

As with the old A/C, the furnace has joined recycling efforts in Florida. I knew that everything was so clean down here because I saw cleaning trucks along our streets very often. In New Jersey, in spite of exorbitant taxes I could count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times a saw a street sweeper. Here, they come all the time. Not only is everything clean but there is no large debris laying around anywhere. The reason for this zeal is a strong demand for recyclables and a poorer population that drags everything not bolted down to get some payment.

As you can see even golf carts seem to make it there and aluminum cans and other metals are also in high demand. My seventy plus year old furnace weighing roughly two hundred pounds provided me $20.00. Not bad for a piece of junk weighing down my floor.

On a similar subject I just saw an awe-inspiring movie of Artist Vik Muniz and his efforts to transform garbage, from Jardim Gramacho (the largest municipal dump in the world) out side of Rio de Janeiro, into art. Called Waste Land, the film is a testament to the will of humanity and its enduring strength to overcome conditions most of us can't even imagine.

On a lighter side I will tell you that the first lemon fell off my tree. Yes fall is here and citrus that flowered last winter are ripening. My efforts to feed all the plants in the yard are slowly paying dividends. The Ponderosa lemon appears to have a bumper crop and this medium-sized lemon was destined to lubricate my vodka tonic. Cheers and Happy Gardening!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rene,
    I missed you in church last Sunday but now I know you were the star speaker at your new church. How nice for you.
    I especially appreciate your furnace story which reminds me of our first massive restoration here in Moorestown. The progress you've made in your sweet new home is inspirational, and I'm sure will be well worth the effort. Love the lemon story too! My son, Pete, has had similar luck with his giant lemon tree in So. California. We often bring back a suitcase of citrus after visiting him.
    Miss you! When are you coming back to NJ for a visit??
    Love, me