The Stolen Tool Blues

Picking up the sad thread of my last post, all of our Project Tools were stolen out of the back of the car in the middle of the night. Hand tools; cordless power tools; a laser that I did not understand but that was awesome; the chunky lithium blocks of pure potential that powered us through a dark winter: all were gone, spirited away in our laundry bag by a mean thief who exploded our clean laundry throughout the car as added insult. Pierced by this rude awakening on a sunny Saturday morning, we stewed all the way to the house and strategized how to make the work day count without the tools.

To be clear, this happened on a fairly posh block of MANHATTAN, not in Newburgh, an important distinction to us. We love Newburgh. With its rough reputation it's oft maligned, so Malcolm and I are compelled to defend it against any undue criticism. Newburgh has its challenges for sure, but it also has vibrant, positive energy flowing through its veins.

Geographically and historically, Newburgh is a jackpot. It served as the headquarters of the continental army during the American Revolution. General George Washington's home during that period still stands today (you can tour it!). The city is perched on the banks of the Hudson River with mountains and nature preserves at its back. It's connected to Beacon by both a bridge and a ferry, and it's only an hour and change from NYC. Storm King and Dia Beacon with a boat marina in between; snowboarding within 20 minutes; how is this alchemy even possible?

For generations, Newburgh thrived as an important port city on the Hudson River. Beautiful Victorian homes evidence it's golden years. But, like so many great industrial era cities in America, loss of industry and jobs in the late twentieth century created a scary vacuum of unemployment, crime, mismanagement and suffering.

Today, however, the renaissance underway in Newburgh is palpable. Boarded up historic buildings cry out for resurrection and people are answering the cry. With New York City continues its evolution to an overpriced strip mall, pricing out creativity, nesting and diversity, Newburgh feels like community, inspiration, and opportunity. So, when our petty, rude, no-good, speck of a man/woman thief came to call, we wanted everyone to know that it was NOT in Newburgh! Crime happens everywhere, but this crime did not happen here.

The first few days after the Great Tool Heist were melancholy. It was tempting to blame the victim, aka Us, which is never a happy conversation... Dwelling on the lost resources was a slippery slope of pessimism and our shiny project now felt hamstrung in a way we had not anticipated. Worse, the Project Tools' very existence had been intertwined with the sanctity of the project as a whole, and their absence, with the ugly vibrations of the crime, touched our hallowed ground in a dispiriting way. For days, the blue streak ran through our creative energy coloring it with doubt.

Of course, the blues were all in our head so when the motherload of DIY projects kept giving, that noise dimmed. There is no salve like hard work with your body and hands. For every task in limbo until a tool could be replaced, two new tasks presented themselves. Inconveniences and work-arounds smoothed over. We lugged, hefted, tugged, whacked, scraped and demanded progress. Finally, about two weeks after The Heist, Malcolm found the power cord to the radio that until then had only worked with the special, expensive (stolen) batteries. Suddenly, the music was back on and the hiccup of the tools was behind us.

I love this. 

I love this. 

It was a Dutch farmhouse with an expansive view of the river.

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Up close: 

George and Martha lived here!

George and Martha lived here!

Not a bad end to the commute: 

The ferry lets you off next to the riverfront bars and restaurants. 

Riverfront and bridge to Beacon

Riverfront and bridge to Beacon