Friday, August 05, 2005

The outdoor shower

My wife and son have left New Jersey for Illinois. They're the advance party. I'm down here for a few weeks, finishing up work on the cottage and maximizing my days left on the East Coast. Yesterday I drove 90 miles up the Garden State Parkway to a town called Matawan where I met with a potential author, Geoffrey Hiller, photographer and documentarian extraordinare. He was visiting New York City, and offered to meet me halfway. So there we were in this farily non-descript Jersey suburb, laying plans for a book. Geoffrey's work is breathtaking and crosses cultural barriers into the realities of third world countries. You can see it for yourself by clicking on this link.

One of the things I've always liked most about shore houses is the outdoor shower. The one in our renovation has been a great success, I think. You can see it here about half done. It used to be a storage room with a rotten roof. I tore that off one cold winter day and everyone thought I was crazy. I ripped out the aluminum door (it had been reused from somebody's abandoned house trailer) and replaced it with a door I made from rough-hewn lumber stained blue. Then I stuccoed the walls, put in a new floor and had plumbers add hot and cold running water and a shower head. As time and money permit, I'll lay down a red clay tile floor and maybe paint a mural on the wall on the left. The outdoor shower is the feature that's going to sell this cottage when the time comes.

Inside it's roomy enough for a little bench and some plants. At night you light candles, mostly to discourage mosquitoes. Any time, night or day, rain or shine, the experience of showering with the wind rustling through the leaves and pine needles overhead is sublime.


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