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Hank and Marie, a dear couple that I nicknamed 'The Swans."

Hank and Marie, a dear couple that I nicknamed ‘The Swans.”

A talent is not a talent until it has been shared. If we are so blessed as to be an artist, shouldn’t we help someone just as someone helped us? (Wayne A. Wright)

Who wouldn't want to step into this sunset dining scene?

Who wouldn’t want to step into this sunset dining scene?

Years ago when Hank and Marie Groff were distant neighbors in Costa Rica, Marie often invited me to join them for dinner.   If I was working on a creative project, I knew that I would have difficulty pulling out of my focus to switch gears, put away my supplies and drive to their home for dinner.    Hours later while deep in a painting trance, I often heard Marie return.  She quietly came inside, whispered from the doorway, “Don’t stop;  your dinner’s here in the kitchen.”    With a loving heart, she retreated without another word.

We embraced a new challenge - the art of mosaic tile!

We embraced a new challenge – the art of mosaic tile!

When my vehicle was no longer road worthy, she always asked if I wanted to ride with her to a larger city to buy supplies.  When the other option was by bus on bumpy four-wheel-drive roads, I was always grateful to ride in her Isuzu Trooper limousine!  

Hank and Marie help with a tear-down project - Team Zeebra!

Hank and Marie help with a tear-down project – Team Zeebra!

(Above photo:  see Construction in Reverse.)

Always-patient Hank

Always-patient Hank

With a background in construction, Hank as been a patient teacher;  he’s tutored me about soil samples, engineering reports, concrete finishing and repair.  He’s helped solve water-line riddles, and every so often I am able to share my work experience with him.  He has explained why the peeling paint on a wall most likely came from a roof leak and has helped with repair on gates and shovels and doors!

June Solstice Sunset - One Day Early!

From the outdoor pavilion – June Solstice Sunset – One Day Early!

They are tireless in their support, and I am blessed to have such loving and helpful friends.  It’s quite natural to reciprocate with the same loving spirit!

Their ‘soaking pool’ perches on the corner of their outdoor pavilion, and Hank recently tiled the inner area.     The three of us agreed that a mosaic border would enhance the effect, and we approached the challenge at full throttle and worked from mid morning until sunset almost every day until we finished!

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At times we chuckled and at other times laughter disrupted our rhythm.  Marie has a gift of laughing at my mannerisms – mannerisms I am not aware of making until she chuckles or laughs out loud.

Oops!  I broke the hammer!

Oops! I broke the hammer!

But I can FIX the hammer!

But I can FIX the hammer!

The proud and mighty lisa resumes her work!

The proud and mighty Lisa resumes her work!

Oops!  Sorry, it broke again!

Oops! Sorry, it broke again!

Earth to Lisa:  Do you know that it's raining?

Earth to Lisa: Do you know that it’s raining?

(Can you hear us, Lisa?  It's raining!)

(Can you hear us, Lisa? It’s raining!)

 

The strong and mighty Z pulverizes the ceramic tile!

The strong and mighty Z pulverizes the ceramic tile!

The above series of photos were taken by Marie, who stated, “You are always behind the camera and never in the photos!”

Yes, this is a fun project!  Marie shares the tile-splitting tasks!

Yes, this is a fun project! Marie shares the tile-splitting tasks!

P1140235 hank and lisa photo by marie

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Marie often switched tasks and retreated to the kitchen while Hank and I continued cutting, placing, cementing and later grouting the tiles.

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“Wipe/wax on; wipe/wax off…”

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Wiping the grout’s film from the surface of the tiles has been equally-challenging work, though we’ve quoted the Karate Kid with Wipe on, wipe off, wipe on, wipe off, wipe on, wipe off, while convincing ourselves that we were enjoying that zen activity!

This morning over breakfast, we reflected on the past week’s project.  It’s rare to work in such close quarters with two other people and not say a word and be blissfully happy.

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No one grew frustrated or short tempered (although at times I warned, ‘My blood sugar is falling… I need to stop for a food break.’)   Usually Marie was half an hour ahead of my dietary needs and served fresh carrot/apple/orange juice or some other wonderful concoction – ah, who WOULDN’T keep working when served tasty, healthy and beautiful drinks?!

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This morning with collective pride and a physical sigh of relief, we admired the beauty of the finished project!

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Ah, would you pass three mint juleps in this direction?!  We’ve earned a break!

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Z

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