It's been a little over a month since I really spent much time working on the layout. Yes, it's spring, and many of life's distractions tend to crop up this time of year. Things like peeling paint on the house, yard work, and given my occupation in the building materials business, work work.
But I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed again when it comes to this little project that I've been working on for lo these many years. Sure, I'm making gradual progress building scenery, and there's always a twinge of excitement when I add a new piece of rolling stock, but right now, there's just something missing.
I suppose one of the shadows cast over the layout right now is a feeling that it will simply never be done. Not in the sense that there is always going to be a little project here or there to tinker with or update... But the whole thing will just never be in a state of completion. There's a growing list of wiring issues, there's the whole urban landscape in Cumberland to engineer and install... After close to 7 years, some of the earlier installations of track are starting to show their age.
The design is still satisfactory, the operation scheme is sound (although I'm still waiting to feel "ready" for a full on ops session - I built the yard going on 3 years ago, and the guy that's supposed to be my yard master has yet to see it in person), and I'm generally happy with the results of what I've done so far scenically. But man. All those trees I need to do! All that track that needs cleaning after laying dormant for months at a time! All those locomotive wheels that need burnishing!
It's enough to make one's head spin.
Perhaps it would be easier to deal with if I lived a little closer to the core group of guys that I operate with. As noted previously, I'm a good two hours away from just about everyone in my crew. I understand the challenge of getting down here, because it's a challenge for me to make the sessions that take place in Baltimore. We've all got other things to do. This compounds my frustration, because I feel like if they're going to make the trek down here, I have to have everything in tip top shape, adding pressure to get those electrical ghosts busted, or that odd piece of fascia cut and installed.
So I close the door, crack a beer, and turn on the ball game.
I've got a small group scheduled to visit on Sunday afternoon, and I'm in no way ready to run a full schedule of trains, but it will still be nice to have them over, maybe have some help getting a few things done, and otherwise pal around for a few hours to get the train room feeling a little more like an escape instead of a mandatory chore.
Or maybe we'll discuss how the damn thing can be dismantled and sold for parts. Nah. Before I know it, fall will be back and I'll have the itch again. As much work as the layout can be, at least it doesn't have any hard and fast deadlines.