Focused/Unfocused...Living in the Demo Zone
As a photographer I suppose I muse a whole bunch about focus, yet in life something as "simple" as focus is usually dangling a long way ahead of me in some murky distance that I never quite reach. Yep, I'm pretty unfocused. Is it because I'm left-handed trying to make it in a right-handed world? Is it because something about my mind makes it flit around like some mad gnat going from tangent to tangent and finally back again? But anyway, even I consider myself primarily unfocused in my OWN life. Now when I take it upon myself to help someone else focus I'm brilliant. LOL. I say that in jest yet there's a lot of truth in that, trust me.
So how important is focus? I'm not sure. In my travels I've no doubt come across some incredibly focused people. I'm not certain that they're happier than me. But nobody can argue that they're far more focused.
Every now and then, though, I slip up and direct ALL my energy toward one thing and....well, it never ceases to amaze me how many hoops I can jump through, fires I can put out, obstacles I can tackle with my eyes on that goal unwavering-like. Those of you who know me are laughing now, no doubt, thinking..."gee, I reckon I never saw her focused on anything except with a camera" and you are pretty well spot-on. Yet I just wanted you to know that once in awhile I do manage to focus on something. It's usually on behalf of someone else. Take Sis, for example.
Today was a very focused day. I didn't do anything I set out to do, mind. Except wash my truck, probably a silly thing since I'm heading out to a bluegrass festival on a sheep farm. Never mind. My truck will be clean when I arrive. I don't want them thinkin' I'm no hillbilly. I'd intended to get all my things ready for this road trip I'm taking - laundry done, everything piled up near the door, my list checked and rechecked. It didn't happen. But a lot else did and I was pretty well in the middle of it.
I was talking about being unfocused. Is it funny then that I am so keenly drawn to the art of photography which undoubtedly requires a good bit of focusing on several levels? Maybe it's not an art. The IBMA gives awards for liner notes ( that's writing) and graphic design (that's making all kinds of funky print that nobody over age 25 can read anyway, but there's an award for it, you know like printing something off-white on a white background in 6 point text that only a gnat with 20/20 vision can read). There ain't no stinkin' award for photography, though, and I just think that's wrong, wrong, wrong. If it's so unimportant why do labels pay people like me tens of dollars to drive hundreds of miles and spend hours to take photos of ugly musicians that later appear on their albums/CDs/whatever-you-call-them-these-days? Huh? So someone who sits at a cushy desk checking their email every 5 minutes and simultaneously IMing with like 8 people gets the award for an album cover? Where's the justice in that? It's probably the photographer's picture that got someone's attention, not your illegible font. Give me a break.
Geez, I'm on a rant. Let me get focused on something else now
Actually I had a terrific day. There were like 8 pickup trucks all over the yard, plus a one-ton dump truck full of trash from the demolition. There were John, Ace, Barry and Rich hacking at the back wall with hammers and crowbars and some guy from the electric company who came by to cut limbs away from the wires. Meanwhile, the building inspector came by this morning in his SUV to approve the footings (prior to pouring), while the lady from the loan company was here doing an independent appraisal (leaving her six children in HER SUV while we roamed through the house). There was one 24-pound cat inappropriately named Pip confined to his third floor penthouse running from windowsill to windowsill trying to keep abreast of all the action below whilst managing to devour two cans of smelly catfood.
As if that weren't enough I was fielding calls from my sister who was at work and sending emails to her with attached photos so she could feel like she was here "enjoying" all this action. Mind, I'd planned to use the day getting ready to go on the road for a few weeks. I reckon that has been postponed. I lost my focus totally and didn't get ANY of my stuff done.
I should have known something was up when I was able to access the vacuum cleaner this morning for the first time in a week (it was trapped in a closet behind the washer and dryer that had been moved out of the laundry room they just demolished last week) and decided to give the first floor a good cleaning before I hit the road. First mistake. Milliseconds after I'd put the vacuum back in its closet the guys sheepishly trooped in with their little tool holsters full of nail pullers, hammers, crowbars and whatever and started knocking the livin' heck out of the inside of the back wall of the house. Getting into the destruction I urged them to go ahead and knock out the old ventilation system above the old 60 inch restaurant stove that's going bye-bye real soon. That all came down in a heap of plaster, insulation, lath, sheet metal....and a ton of soot! Whoa, I'm thinking...this is looking a whole lot better already.
Then when they were in the middle of demolishing the kitchen and I was rushing madly to grab all the pots and pans, brooms, yardsticks, cast iron skillets, pink aprons and feather dusters along with the china and depression glass and put them safely out of harm's way....up the steep drive roars the guy from the local hardware store with a big red cement mixer truck full of (unexpected) concrete. They were supposed to call us first! So the boys had to drop that whole kitchen demo project and rush off to madly shovel and spread concrete into its final resting place in the forms for the foundation of the addition in the five feet deep pit behind the house. You gotta work fast to get it in the right place before it sets up. The air was a bit blue for a few minutes. And I learned a little bit about concrete and stuff today.
Meanwhile Barry and Ace had taken off the tool shed door and rebuilt it. Barry wanted to keep the "character" of the door - it had a big ole hole that was chewed out by a porcupine (not sure if he was chewing his way IN or OUT) but I said "oh, no, no....fix it." I'm mostly a fan of character but even I draw the line when it involves doors!
The boys also poured a concrete floor in the old tool shed which is really cool because it had once been nice old planks (it's part of the barn) but they'd long ago rotted and you were taking your life in your hands just to enter that tool shed...your foot could go down through the floor and never be seen again. So now that shed has a nice new concrete floor. The boys are going to build some work surfaces, too, so watch out! I get some electric out there and I just might build me a tater box or somethin' you know real cute country-like with ducks in gingham bonnets painted all over it (tongue firmly in cheek here). I like the idea of having a tool shed all set up for work even though I'm totally hopeless with a hammer or screwdriver. It's a zen thing I reckon.
So when 5 pm rolled around John was putting the finishing touches on the tool shed concrete before it set up too much, the foundation forms were filled and nicely setting up, the tool shed door was hanging beautifully, the back wall of the kitchen was covered, and....well, it looks a bit horrible but sometimes you have to take the bitter with the sweet. It will all be better soon! Getting that back wall ripped out and the trashy old ventilation system torn out means that Sis can't change her mind about getting that new stove she said she'd order (I may not be focused, but I ain't stupid!). When a restaurant stove (the old one) takes 25 minutes to boil a little water you know it ain't workin' too well.
So see, I've lost my focus about talking about being focused. I spent the day focused on Sis's house, like most of the days in the last 7 weeks. Mind I'm supposed to be focused on selling some photographs and also on putting together a few hundred pictures for this bluegrass photo book I hope to have available for sale sometime in this lifetime of mine. Whatever. I enjoyed the day, and there's something to be said for that. I'm not sure about the boys, though; I think they were glad to throw down their toolbelts, jump into their trucks, race down to their fishing holes, get out their poles and catch a few trout (Ace caught a fish on the way to work today and "borrowed" some olive oil, pepper, lemon, rosemary and so forth and grilled it for lunch! Ever onward!