The House We Live In: A Series on Building the Sustainable Home in Tucson, Arizona
Surprises are not a thing I have ever particularly enjoyed. It’s not so much because I dislike the moment of surprise; it’s because it deprives me of the anticipation. I take great joy in looking forward to things, in knowing they are coming and setting my sights on them. If I don’t know a gift, or a party, or good news, is coming, I don’t get to experience the joy of waiting for them to arrive.
At the same time, there is something like dread that arises as the anticipated event draws near. Will it go as I’ve envisioned it? It might involve a significant outlay of energy I’m not sure I have. There might be unforeseen challenges. And of course, it will then be over.
We’re starting to get ready for bids. We have a list of contractors (five of them!) we’re going to invite. We have a final to-do list for the drawing set. The things on that list are getting smaller and smaller (make the outlet in one of the kitchen corners a quad outlet; move the light switch from one side to the other of the sink). The list we had at the end of our most recent visit has more items crossed off than left to do.
I’ve been waiting for this moment—which might be coming as soon as this week—for over a year. And I’ve been waiting for it less patiently for the past two months or so. People have been asking and asking how close it is, and I’ve had to put them off. Yet now that it’s arriving, I’m apprehensive. Will the bids be what we think they are? How am I going to choose one? How long is it going to take? Am I missing some attribute that I need to make this work? What if we’ve badly misjudged the feasibility of something? What if I am asked questions I don’t know the answers to? What if we pick the wrong builder? I’ve been waiting and waiting for this, and now, a part of me wishes it was still months away.
But it isn’t. It’s coming, and after bids comes groundbreaking, and construction. I’ll work out the financial pieces. I will be able to drive or bike past on my way home from work and watch the walls go up. Eventually, I will move in. Will I grow apprehensive then, too? Surely I will. But I know if I only do the familiar and the comfortable, I will never experience the amazing. I have set my sights on something spectacular, and I have been looking forward to it. Now it’s upon me.
Amy Knight is the fiction editor for Terrain.org. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here. Visit her website, or follow her on twitter @amypknight.
Photo of sunrise courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Amy Knight by Richard Whitmer.