Looking Ahead

I simply had to assume that I'd be able to finish my home someday; otherwise, one may as well have declared me dead. So I continued to plan ahead, even though the future was always a moving target. It was a struggle.

Landscaping

At one time I had elaborate plans for landscaping. I'd thought of filling the space where the camper is parked now with stands of white paper birch—my favorite tree. The property in New Hampshire where I'd spent 20-odd summers was called Birch Knoll for good reason: the cabin was surrounded by hundreds of white birch. It was a stunning sight.

This I fear would no longer be affordable. However, nature dealt a cruel blow the winter of 2018 when the ice storm in March trashed several mountain laurel bushes, along with a couple of small trees, right along the line of sight between my house and the neighbors to the south.

Consequently I'll need to do something, so I think I'll plant a whole bunch of forsythia and let it grow wild. It would be especially nice to have that splash of color in the spring.

Battery Backup

Since the elaborate—and expensive—electrical system I built for the camper was now just dead weight, I'd been thinking about using it as a battery backup for the refrigerator, which is the only thing in the house I'd really need to keep running during a power outage. There's more than enough room under the wall oven in the kitchen to stow the gear. Or, I might do something else with the equipment, but in any case I'd still retrieve it from the camper and put it to use.

220-V Garage Outlet

For a long time I'd planned on installing a charging station for an electric car. I can no longer afford a new car, so the charging station was unnecessary. But, with tighter finances came a need to reinstate my business, and for that I'd need a 220-volt outlet in the garage for an air compressor. So, the original plan remained in effect—sort of.

Waste Heat Ventilation

Every bit of heat that can be shed during the summer will improve cooling performance. To that end, I've devised a means to remove the heat produced by the refrigerator: an air vent at the back of the enclosure will be connected to a very small exhaust fan that will move this warm air outside in the summer. In the winter, the vent will be closed so the waste heat can contribute to heating the living space.

Passive Solar Water Heater

I'd been chewing on the notion of building a passive solar water heater for some time. It would prove most useful in the winter, when heat was most needed, and sunlight was most plentiful. They're not that difficult to assemble, and it might put a dent in the electric bill, especially since electric water heaters are energy pigs.

Kitty Features

Over the course of the house design and construction, I'd entertained all manner of kitty-friendly features to incorporate into the house, and I'm still on the fence about many of them.

Kitty cubby. This would be an enclosure in the space over the refrigerator, lined with carpeting, to provide a cozy space for them to nap.

Catwalks. I've imagined a whole network of catwalks running along the walls near the ceiling where they could run and perch. Many of these have become impractical because of wall sconces, the ceiling fan, and other "human" home features. But they're still viable in other areas—I simply need to figure out how to make them work.

Escape hatches. To avoid locking a kitty in the bathroom, closet or pantry, I've thought about adding kitty doors to let them get out—or in, if they want. My home is their home.

Getting Rid of an Eyesore

More than almost anything, I simply cannot wait to get rid of the camper. It's not merely an eyesore; it's a constant reminder of how very badly things can go. During the long wait for the closing, I'd even been tempted to build a temporary shelter for the cats just so I could see it gone, except that it would have consumed valuable capital, only to be torn down once the house was finished.

"Always in motion is the future," said Yoda. He was so right.

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