from phoenix for omaha.

picture arizona winter. 03/04 and rewind another 6 months. lets put it at july of 03. at the time, and I'm trying to lose the common place terms, i was northwesterly living and anticipating a move back to the desert. that drip dry barrenesque placard of land the hopi call home. enter mark murawski. a friend thru the arizona skateworld. with a quick call to see if he had any rooms avail at his house, he even quicker said, "you can live in the backyard."  i said, if you're serious, I'm serious, that sounds amazing, and so it goes. 

somewhere dancing on early november, i was back in tempe and scrounging for wood. a couple of two by's and sheets of three quarter ply, anything to get my home built. turn down free rent? not during those days. and this reference, twice now today, as skating is my past is anew, that life as a past, anew. stepped upon a sturdy state of being. continual process and growth. f o r w a r d  m o t i o n . 

at the time, i had just spent all of my savings and maxed out a credit card on gas and gas station rations, i was broke as ever and literally scrounging for wood to build this thing.  frequenting job sites for scraps and an eye on something to go back for later that night. ed abbey would be proud. wood was lifted, stolen, borrowed, liberated and put to good use.  

with primitive tools, maybe a drill? but probably just a hammer, i constructed a four foot wide, eight foot long and five foot tall shack to live in for however long i could take it.  during the build process which was two days tops, my buddy neal stopped by the house on his way from social to visit friends and family in florida. he had just overcame a heavy alcohol binge and was starting a sober life to which this day, eleven years later, still clean and healthy. 

neal had been a part of a crew in southern california of ramp builders, construction crew, and then party animals. but he had knowledge of building structures and building them correctly, so his quick visit was much appreciated as this was before any skills that i now have with wood had developed. 

so up the walls went and then the roof. i had no idea and the reason for a pitched roof quickly made sense.  as mentioned previous, it was a quick process and i was soon left simply to fill the windowless cabin with my belongings, futon mattress and figure out how to make best use of my space. 

aaron forjan was installing cabinets for a living at the time and offered up the cabinets in the picture. i built some shelving for the foot of the bed/shack and found a mirror that went along the opposing end to visually double the size of the spot to help with that enclosed feeling i never had to begin with. the mirror made people laugh and later on, i strung christmas lights in the the tree and along the walk way to my front door. 

after some soul was set and all was figured, it started to look the part of a home. i had a little patio with wood i found behind the co-op i worked at that had ant stencils spray painted on it. i had power ran from the house so i had lights, space heater, phone charger, etc… it was about as perfect as it could be to be honest and if the situation ever came up that i needed housing like that, id be pretty prepared and ready to take on the challenge. do it again? if the situation arose, of course…

so between november and may is almost eight months which is how long i stayed there until my next northwestern excursion. i was paying my share of utilities so i could heat up water with ramen noodles in it, use the stove for grilled cheese, and shower like a human being. during this time i was working at the previously mentioned health food co-op that was later scammed into selling out and going out of business. new general manager took an amazing cooperative and sold it to developers and pocketed a healthy sum of money.  not a fan. 

i was skateboarding every single day and life was about as good as i ever thought it could get. early 20s, know it all, stuck up skateboarder, etc… so anyhow, heres my shelter for the better part of a year. i loved it thru and thru and had some of the most interesting times of my life while calling this home.  

1 comment:

WhitelinePsycho said...

Man, your tales of travel, tumult and transcending the hurdles are amazing and uplifting. Thanks.