Sunday, April 20, 2014

Paradise Syndrome

What is paradise to you?  A question I posed to Andrea (and to myself) after watching the Star Trek episode with the same title.

In the opening sequence of that episode, Kirk, Spock and McCoy discover a planet just like Earth and inhabited by the 1960's stereotypical view of Native Americans.  Kirk remarked how peaceful and serene it all looked and, for a brief instant, dreamed of leaving it all for this "paradise".   Then, in honor of Passover, we ate Matzo and watched 'The Ten Commandments'.  That story is all about seeking a different kind of paradise as well.  So what is our "Paradise"?

I thought about the religious, spiritual, natural and man-made references to the concept of "paradise" all weekend and came away very conflicted by the whole notion.  Anyway, there is much to discuss about the idea of it but I'm going to just focus on it in relation to our DIY house efforts for now.

First, today I felt compelled to cut the first flowers from the garden and place them in my sister's lovely vase.  The roses are from a bush that existed in our yard mixed with a few California Golden Poppies we had planted last year.  I think this combination captures the essence of our DIY experience thus far.
Pink roses with Golden Poppies 2014

So what's a paradise without a garden?  I am happy to see our backyard efforts are paying off. Everything is growing quite well and we seem to have fewer bug/snail/aphid issues after employing natural repellents like ladybugs, birds, organic snail pellets and blasting the plum leaves with water.  We moved the rain barrel to a new location where we could access it more easily and we have been able to reduce our water consumption by 600 gallons for the past 60 days!  Does that mean our water bill goes down? Nope, it sure don't. Investigation to commence...

While on the topic of water, we are very happy with the solar water pumps we use to create our water features.  This trickling water feature is made up of a vintage light fixture-cover from the house, filled with rocks and and set amongst the Gold Rush era plants we got from an artist two years ago.

Our garden is the most restful, calming and tranquil area of the house. Whatever "Paradise" is, it HAS to include a garden... 

Fresh Veggies for dinner!
Paradise can mean many different things to many different people.  Although I've been working slavishly on the new bathroom and master bedroom and regularly covered in "stuff" with body aching all the time, I find that hardwork, doing something you feel your loved ones will enjoy, is a kind of paradise.   Being able to use your hands and your mind to craft materials together so that water, electrical and hard material coalesce into a unified, functional addition to your home experience can be a kind of paradise-of-the-mind.   The end reward of all that hard suffering labor is knowing you are going to reach a kind of 'Promise Land' where beauty exists amid flowing milk and honey.  Although, right now, I feel like Capt. Ahab battling a white whale as I try to finish tiling the shower and bathroom after two long weeks.

First demolition of the old closet and then reframing the new, small Master bathroom.
To get to this point, you have to add layers of water proofing materials.
The floor to ceiling Subway tile shower takes over 700 tiles! I affectionately call it the "White Whale".

I did ALL the electrical installation myself and it passed inspection with flying colors.

 So as I approach the 'Promised Land' of a nice, new finished master bath, the aches and pains of the past begin to slip away.  There is more pain ahead as I start to finish the work but I can see light at the end of the tunnel, signaling a better place (or heaven) is just ahead.

Do I suffer from 'Paradise Syndrome'?  You bet your sweet monkey I do!  Why?  Because I've come to learn that our true paradise is created and earned and can never just be given to us.  When we create our own paradise, we know it, understand it and love it better.

Find your Paradise.
  "I AM KIR-OK!"