By Amy Knight

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The House We Live In: A Series on Building the Sustainable Home in Tucson, Arizona


We’ve all had those weeks where things go wrong at such a rate that it almost becomes comical. Murphy’s Law weeks. Weeks where your roof leaks, and then the road you need to take is closed, and something weird happens with your cell phone, and by the time you get that flat tire, you just have to laugh. And swear.

The week I had was the opposite. I could barely believe it. I was mentally tired at work, having spent two long days on a very focused, detail-oriented problem, and I thought, what I really want is a brand new file to look at. Just flip through all the documents, get the big-picture lay of the land, no real analysis. Within the hour, my boss had called with a case number and asked me to go down to the records department of the courthouse and do just that.

Then, Friday afternoon, I was leaving work on my bike, a little after five, and wishing I had happy hour plans. I didn’t really want to go home. I thought about stopping at a café that’s on my route, but I didn’t have a for-fun book with me, so I decided just to go home. As I passed the café, I recognized a friend in the window. And then I realized he was with two more friends. They were waving, motioning to me, Come in, come in! I parked my bike, ordered a beer, and had exactly the kind of low-key unwinding I needed.

And then there was the gargoyle. I had been casting around for an artist who might be able to custom-make a gargoyle or two for the house, probably as part of my water harvesting system. My sister told me she had a former colleague whose husband was a metal worker, and she got me his website address, so I visited. I liked the general look, so I emailed him. I explained what I’m up to, and asked if he thought he might be interested in making a gargoyle. I didn’t know the man, and it was kind of a strange ask. But email is good for making slightly awkward, strange requests of strangers, so off it went.

The next day he wrote back and told me he had just recently made a gargoyle as an experiment, but kept thinking he would never find anyplace to actually use one. And here I am, a lady who wants a gargoyle, the very next week.

It’s tempting to think I may be jinxing myself by calling attention to this string of good luck. And maybe I am. I can’t really control that. What I can do is say, Thank you, thank you, thank you.



Amy Knight is the fiction editor for In this weekly series, she chronicles the process of designing and building an eco-friendly house in Tucson, Arizona. The series will explore both how it’s done and what it means, from the perspective of someone who wants to do the right thing but knows almost nothing about sustainable building. Look for new posts every Monday. You can email Amy at or leave a comment here.

Image of ladybug courtesy Pixabay.

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