Thursday, January 29, 2009

Outside of the Box

Three weeks of vacation and this little entry roof was all the carpenters managed to accomplish. But not to worry, no heads will roll over it since it's amazing anything happened at all. Two weeks of thirty below and about five days of 35 degree rain made any outdoor activities pretty miserable for all of Talkeetna.

I must say, I love this little roof though. Stick frame construction is less expensive than log or timber frame, but it can be rather boring. I never imagined my dream cafe would look like a big old plywood box. Or that it would "fit in the box" of conventional anything. This clever little roof over the arctic entryway makes me happy because it doesn't fit the mold. It looks good, matching the roof lines nicely without hitting you over the head with some kind of architectural statement, yet it's curious, interesting, funky even.

We definitely picked the right three weeks to head south. We all enjoyed the R&R mixed with just enough adventure and were ready to return home to our own beds too. I only have one regret about our vacation. Our last day, January 20th was spent running errands in a car in a dirty, smelly, noisy, busy Mexican city. To make a long story short, we did get all the items we were searching for or needed for our return trip, but we missed participating in any way in one of the most historic events of our lifetime - President Obama's inauguration. Like so many other people who are hopeful about the next eight years or so, I would be ecstatic to see even one small area of government business and philosophy emulate the vestibule roof of Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe. Fitting in, yet standing out. Raising a few eyebrows. Finding the solution a little outside the box....

The memory of sunny beaches, pelican shenanigans and eating three meals a day outdoors in the cockpit of Kismet (Aunt Maggie's sailboat in La Paz, Mexico) are fading all too quickly as we dive into all the next steps of cafe construction. The old concrete nightmare is rearing it's ugly head again. By Monday we should finally have all the parts of our permits completed. We've almost lined up the plumber, electrician and mechanical contractor we will hire. And the tarps are folded and ready to be used on firewood piles instead of on the roof. The weather improved enough upon our return for the roofing shingles to be installed and although it's nice to have the blue and brown patchwork of tarps gone for good, it's a little disappointing to already have five inches of fresh snow on the nice new roof. We may not see those roofing shingles again until May!

Anyway, I raise my glass (my shot glass of Mexican Damiana liqueur) to the hard road forward and to thinking out of the box - for me, for the Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe, and for the new administration of the U.S. government.
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