I saw a small turtle crossing the road this morning. A good omen! With a slight gasp, then a prayer that it would make it across the pavement before another vehicle came along, I decided not to stop. It was 7:15. Don’t have time. Don’t want to be late.
I had a date with Ron, my schoolhouse guy, to pick out the portable classroom that will be my home for the foreseeable future. It’s not every day that I pick out a home to be delivered to my new piece of property, and not every morning that this night owl is on the road so early! And, for goodness sakes, how often do I go look at a bunch of portable classrooms that have been put out to pasture—literally?
I had some hours on the road ahead of me. But it took only a few seconds to come to my senses and reverse my decision on the turtle. How could I not rescue my own good omen? I made a quick u-turn, parked on the narrow shoulder of the road, ran along the highway, carefully lifted the turtle, and deposited it in the grass. Then I was on my way.
Excitement fueled my drive. As did some anxiety. With a check for $4,000 in my pocket and a contract I’d drawn up to be signed, I wanted very much for this business deal to go smoothly. Would I find a building I’d be pleased with? Would Ron ask me to pay out more funds because he’s having to pay his mover to haul this building a greater distance than we had originally planned on—with gas prices soaring? Would he be coming to my homesite when the two halves of the building are delivered (which I preferred) or would he wait until the next day to come out and complete his part of the work?
Four hours later I meet up with him and his father, who work together in this enterprise to rescue and rehabilitate portable classrooms that are no longer used by the schools. Here they are, all these metal buildings, clumped together in a former cow pasture, like wallflowers at a dance, waiting for someone like me to come along and pick one of them out of the crowd.
Ron and his father assure me that the one pictured above is structurally sound. A beauty, it is not. The front of this building is grayer and more forlorn than some of the others.
“Is that just mildew?” I ask Ron’s father.
“Oh, you just get you some Chlorox and spray it on there, and wash it down. It comes right off,” he assures me as he waves his hand upward at the side of the building.
Have faith. Have faith, I tell myself. You can do this and you can work wonders with paint.
With a little help from Ron’s father, I boost myself up through the doorway of the building, get my feet on the floor, and step inside. The floor feels sound and I see no bumps. The ceiling’s in pretty good shape, as are the walls. The inside’s much prettier than the outside, but then, that is the way of wallflowers, isn’t it?
“I want the carpet taken out. I don’t like carpet,” I tell Ron and his father.
“What are you gonna put down on the floor?” Ron’s father asks.
“I’m going to paint it,” I explain, making no effort to describe my half-baked vision of an artistic floor, something cute, something funky.
“Well, now, there’s glue underneath that carpet. You’ll have to get the glue up,” Ron’s father says.
“Oh, I didn’t think of that,” I say. And Ron assures me that the glue will be all dried up and all I’ll have to do is scrape it up.
“But, if it’s not dried up?” I ask.
“Oh, you just get some acetone and it’ll take it off.” I quiver inwardly at the thought. Acetone is highly toxic.
“Whatever you do,” Ron’s father says, “if you’re not gonna cover it back up with carpet, you ought to rent yourself a sander and sand the whole thing.”
Oh, boy. I’m wanting to make quick work of this remodeling project. A floor sander? I’ll think on that later.
Even with these problems presenting themselves, I can feel myself starting to fall for this little wallflower. In addition to its dull exterior, it does not have the configuration of doors and windows I had anticipated; and, most importantly, it does not have a bathroom, which will mean more expense to me. Ron assures me, though, “You’re making the best choice if you focus on getting one that’s sound like this one.”
I know he’s right. And, I’m ready to make a commitment to this diamond in the rough. We’ve already looked at several others. “I’ll take it,” I say.
“You’re sure?” Ron says. We can keep looking, if you want to.” He’s told me more than once he wants for me to be pleased with my building.
“I’m sure,” I say, and the three of us convene under the branches of a tall oak tree, using the tailgate of their truck as our desk. The contract is signed. There are no conflicts or disputes. I hand over the check. Ron smiles. We’re both relieved and shake hands.
On the drive home I remember the excitement I felt two days ago when I got the call from Danielle at the county planning department telling me my paper work had been processed. Yesterday I went into the office and wrote a check for $826 for permits, only to find that the my schoolhouse home cannot be delivered until I have been cleared for a septic tank. That will be another $400 permit fee, which I will pay on Monday, another few days of waiting, and another trip to the building department to get my final permit for the installation of the building.
Meanwhile, I’ve made my choice, and am glad to be heading home. Off and on the rains come as I drive and I flick my windshield wipers on and then off again, several times over the course of a few hours. The wildflowers (pictured at the beginning of this post) along the sides of the interstate are beautiful. How could I not have noticed them on my way down? And, the skies are lovely to watch. The scattered showers, one long lightening streak, and a few heavy downpours, make for some interesting sky gazing and beautiful cloud formations.
Worries wiggle around the edges of my elation. Because the doors and windows of the portable are not configured in the same way as those depicted in the plans I’ve already submitted for approval, will I be tangled in more red tape? How much more expense will I encounter beyond what I’ve already anticipated? Ah, well, I’ll celebrate the steps taken thus far and trust that the rest will work itself out.
I’m relieved to be almost home. I come through one more shower. I look across the field into the blue sky and see one of the longest rainbows I’ve ever seen!
I grab my camera for one more shot through the rain-spattered window and think, surely, Dorothy, my occasional alter ego, couldn’t have had a better day in Kansas or in Oz than the one I’ve had today. “Somewhere, over the rainbow…”