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4 kittens

Gondola in its Original Glory

Posted on 2017.06.05 at 15:20
Someone knocked on our door, which is surprising, because this cabin is anti-socially sequestered. You have to follow an unmarked driveway behind another house, and then you get to a privacy fence which can be locked, and only if the privacy gate is open can you see the path to a door.  I have not ever seen a mailbox or a house number. (I find all this privacy hostile and off-putting. You're part of a goddamn neighborhood.)

Despite all this, someone knocked on the door, and when we went to get it, it was our mail carrier, hand delivering a package. He'd seen the construction, and asked around, and figured out where we were. I was pretty blown away. That is above and beyond the call of duty.

This week has been mixed! The house is going well. If I had to pick one thing - house, tattoo - to go well, I'd have prioritized the house over the tattoos.  So let's call this week a net win.




Since the air conditioning is disconeccted, this little fella - the Drizair 1200 - will be keeping our place from smelling like mold.

He is capable of removing 18 gallons a day from the air.  We use the water to water the plants. It's some sort of cycle of life.

Before we moved out, I built a little house of cards:


On Thursday, they started to lift things. The disconnection begins:

Here's the machine they use:

The lift-guy let me lift our house!!  Here's what I did:


I DID THAT!! It's about 2.5" difference.  (The lift-guys real name is Gator. Ga/tor Dod/son. It's such a great name.)

Were the kids as excited as I was?


Our house weighs 132K pounds. The metal i-beams weigh another 30K pounds. How much does your house weigh? Oh, you don't know? Mm-hmm.



wheeeeeeeee!  The final height will be about 18" lower than the second photo.

Your house is such a laden meaningful symbol of the basis of your life, where everything is grounded from. Things that are grounded are usually sitting on the ground. Grounded. Watching your home levitate is very surreal.

Now the house stays up on those jenga towers for the next month, while they build the concrete piers underneath.

I have fears about those Jenga towers: I picture some teenagers wandering around, drunk off of malted fruit juice, and taking a baseball bat to the towers. Unable to do much, they all gang up on one corner of one tower, and start taking turns, like it's a piñata.

Eventually they nudge one loose, and the tower buckles, and then the house slides slowly, epically, to the ground, crushing one of the kids. The death of a teenager and destruction of our house would both be major, major buzzkills.

Still standing!

Living in the tiny cabin...is tiny. It has the good parts of minimalism: the daily chores are way down. There's not that much to keep clean or maintained. We're sort of on top of each other. It's fine.


I showed up on Friday to get my tattoos. The tattoo artist went to go open the email I'd sent him ahead of time. He was gone a long time. When he got back, he said, "I have to be honest. I think this will look really, really terrible. The whole design is awful."

He was very apologetic that he hadn't opened the email when I set it. He clearly felt awful.

"Two years ago, I didn't do any design work," he said, "but I've started since then. Now I'd never send someone away to come up with their own design."

He felt like my design was too disconnected. "Maybe the cats could be connected by a vine or some flowers?" he suggested. I was lukewarm. "We could put picture frames around the cats, and then connect the picture frames somehow?" I was tepidly cool.

He said that if I demanded, he would go ahead and tattoo, because he felt like he'd made a commitment.  But I did not really want an unenthusiastic, begrudging tattoo artist, and so I declined.

We sat there for a while, unable to figure out how to proceed.

Eventually he referred me to another tattoo artist. I left, feeling at loose ends.

I felt sort of embarrassed and ashamed by this whole encounter. I don't think I exhibited hubris. Or lone-cowboy-ism. But I feel like I got my come-uppance nevertheless. I was wayward, and when the Tattoo Adults finally got ahold of me, they were like, "oh shit. We shouldn't have let her go so long unattended." It feels embarrassing to get rebuffed like that.

At the same time, let's pause to observe how massively unprofessional Mr. Tattoo Guy was: two years ago, he said, "We'll consult a month ahead of time."
A month ago, I called to set up a consultation.
"Just email me the designs," he said.
I emailed him the designs, and also asked a bunch of questions. Then I sent him a text message, asking if he got the email.
"I'm sure it went through," he said.
Jammies was having a panic attack about this exact scenario - that the tattoo guy couldn't be bothered to look at the email ahead of time, and something would be crucially wrong.

I also felt pretty pessimistic about meeting with another artist to collaborate. I'm not an artist, but I can gut-check things. What I do best is start with a collection of axioms and derive inevitabilities.  That's how I feel about my design: I started with some constraints - which cats do I like? What's my body like? - and then exhausted combinations and had been reduced to the only configuration that satisfied the constraints and passed the gut-check.

The new tattoo artist booked a consultation with me for Sunday night.


The current cabin looks like so:

The owner's grandfather started Aquarena Springs, Heebieville's former kitchsy roadside attraction, known primarily for its Aquamaids:

(Jammies and I were married there, but in its Nature Conservatory age. All the Aquamaids are off in a land called Honalee these days.)

In our cabin:

This is Ralph:

Gondola at the cabin:

Gondola in its original glory:


So, Sunday night I met with Ben the New Tattoo Artist. I was primarily worried about seeming nice, while being honest that I loathe nearly everything. It's hard to be likable when you're completely disagreeable.

I showed him the cut-outs. He agreed with the first tattoo artist. He got out some vellum paper and started sketching some ideas - "Could we bring all the cats around to the front?" he asked.
"Would they fit?" I asked.
He said, "Oh yes, see..." and he started to sketch.

I said, "Hang on," and got out the photographs of my body, for which the cut-outs were cut to scale.

"OH!" he said. He explained that he'd thought the cut-outs were the actual scale, that I'd wanted six very tiny cats. I explained all the moving parts to the situation.

He stared at the layout for a long time, and asked how I felt about color.

I am in fact fond of color. I'd been thinking over the spring that they should be in color, and I thought perhaps in the future, I'd have have some browns added - shading on top of the original black and white original.

Ben the New Artist uploaded Mama cat to photoshop, and did this:

I like it!

All Ben wants to do is add some shaded abstract cloudy smudges, connecting the cats, and make them pop a little better with some color. The basic idea is not going to change. I felt a little better.

It will be what it is!


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2017-06-06 00:35 (UTC) (Link)


I think you dodged a bullet with that first tattoo artist. He sounds like a weird combination of a prima donna and a slacker.
heebie_geebie at 2017-06-06 01:35 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Tattoos

I like this take on the situation.
(Anonymous) at 2017-06-06 15:20 (UTC) (Link)

RE: Re: Tattoos

Seriously. Did you show the new guy the torso mock-up I did?

J, Robot
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