3 bdr., 3 bath, 1 tower

Good things come to those who wait, and wait, and wait.

John Kehe

You expect to have a good view from a tower. From ours, we can see a snow-covered volcano due east – Mt. Hood. The view, and the tower itself, are a testament to what can be achieved if you’re willing to put in enough procrastination.

We never had a tower in mind. Dave’s original suggestion was a one-room addition on the ground floor. It would be my studio. The idea was born because of a fundamental difference between us:

He’s tidy. I’m creative.

I always had something going on. I was painting, or molding, or cutting paper or fabric into itty-bitty pieces and putting them back together again. I availed myself of the only substantial flat surface in the house: the dining room table, which miraculously accommodated everything I needed: paint pots, brushes, reference material, and tools, right out to the edges. Cleaning it up on a daily (or monthly) basis never seemed as good an idea to me as it did to Dave. In fact, left to my own devices, it might never have occurred to me at all.

“You need your own studio,” he said one day, through a rigid jaw, as he watched a wire armature for a sculpture begin to engulf the table.


A year later he was standing in the yard, arms outstretched, studying an addition that existed only in his head. “I was thinking,” he said, “we could build out this way with your studio, and go up another floor, and put in a master bedroom.”


The next spring he stood in the same position, arms outstretched, and continued his thought as though a comma had lasted all winter. “With a master bathroom,” he finished. His eyes glistened.

Having more than one toilet seemed both extravagant and much to be desired. We had each grown up and lived our entire lives with just one, even though we had been soberly instructed by real estate professionals that such a thing was impossible. Unthinkable. Third-worldy, maybe. We knew better, but still, we could think of a number of specific ways that an extra toilet might come in handy.

A year or two later, Dave was doing maintenance on the rooftop when suddenly he came whacketing down the ladder and into the house as if he were on wings, on fire, or both. “Did you know,” he trumpeted, “that you can see Mt. Hood from the roof?”

I did not. We’d each been on the roof on numerous occasions, but they never coincided with a clear view to the horizon.

“We need a tower,” he concluded, with conviction.


The next year he stood in the yard with his arms outstretched and his gaze adjusted higher to include the tower. His eyes were visibly damp. “We’d have room for three toilets,” he breathed, his voice catching with emotion. I sensed his dream was beginning to develop scaffolding.

Sure enough, contractors were hired, foundations poured, boards hammered, wires fished, bank accounts relieved of their contents. Eventually we had the new studio, new bedroom, three toilets out of sheer exuberance, and the tower. From it we can see two volcanoes, with a third hunkered behind the neighbors’ majestic stand of fir trees. Shame if something were to happen to those.

It’s a wonderful view, for which we are grateful. Many people don’t get to see a snow-covered volcano from their house.

The people who live just west of our tower, for instance.

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