For the Sons of Gondor Have Returned….Somebody’s Changed!

Have you ever seen it Aragorn? The white tower of Ecthelion glimmering like  a spike of pearl and silver, it’s banners caught high in the morning breeze?Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?

…….One day our paths will lead us there and the tower guard will take up the call…….for the Sons of Gondor have returned!……(Boromir says this to Aragorn in the Fellowship of the Ring).

Well…my sons have returned and I really feel like blowing a silver trumpet. Ethan returned from SUNY Cortland and  Jude from Siena (via my wonderful wife Jodi aka “The Editor”). Just for the weekend but returned nonetheless. We all converged Friday night in the town of Cold Spring, New York to watch Terence and the Pawling Tigers play Haldane. Jodi picked up Jude from school. What a gorgeous day. I took 9G north along the Hudson and had to stop at the scenic overlook. Awe inspiring and magnificent, The Mighty Hudson! Check it out.

Hudson River: Scenic overlook on 9G looking south
Hudson River: Scenic overlook on 9G looking south

I have seen the White City….long ago…..(Aragorn’s reply)

Had to get all of that out of my system. I know it’s a problem. It cannot be helped though. Been thinking about Hobbit houses and the like quite a bit as of late. (As if that’s something new.)

It was great seeing Ethan and Jude. It seems as if they’ve been gone a long time. We miss them. It’s all for the best I know but we do miss their company all the time (as well as Georgia’s!). They’re really funny when they’re together.

Terence’s game was good. Well they kind of got blown out but it was sort of expected. Terence played really well on both sides of the ball and had a sack on defense. It was great.

As I was saying, it was a night game so we got home late and talked into the wee hours of the morning. For me that’s 12:15 a.m. Ethan got a job at a bar as a bouncer. He told us the story of the Friday night brawl. Nothing like fight night in Cortland, New York. Work’s fun! (Just had a flashback of the bar scene from the first Star Wars movie. You know the one at the cantina pub  in Mos Eisley on Tatooine…….”My friend doesn’t like you…..I don’t like you either. You ought to be careful I have the death sentence on five systems.”) Anyway, Ethan is rethinking the whole late night bar bouncer thing. Sounds like a good idea.

Jude on the other hand has changed. As a parent you’re always worried about your children going off to school and coming back different. Well, I wasn’t worried, my wife on the other hand, she’s a professional worrier. (Too bad she doesn’t get paid for it.I would definitely be retired by now if that was the case.) Well, our fears and worry have been justified. The range of things that can happen to a child are vast and of various orders of magnitude. I never in my wildest dreams would have ever thought that this would actually happen to my son. But it has and I’m at a loss as to what to do or how to approach this particular evil.

He’s mixing breakfast cereals.

I mean who in America mixes their breakfast cereals? Okay I guess I can deal with mixing Honey Nut Cheerios and regular Cheerios. But Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes????? That’s weird. That’s really weird. Is there like one of those seven step programs for people like this? Maybe we’ve caught it early enough and it hasn’t done any permanent damage. Hmmm. The brain is a very sensitive organ though. It doesn’t take much. Have to call the infirmary at Siena and see if this is unusual or if it’s spreading. I’ll keep you posted. (The editor has been pacing and wringing her hands. She keeps mumbling, “I don’t know how this could have happened!”)

So we just kind of woke up late and hung out most of Saturday.(I forced Jude to eat only one breakfast cereal at a time. It wasn’t easy though. He tried to resist.) I did go over to the house and worked for about an hour and a half. Later on Ethan and Jude helped me clean up the mess I made and they got a chance to see the house.

Oh yeah and we ran out of heating oil as well on Saturday. Jodi is at the kitchen sink during lunch and starts asking why there’s no hot water.  In my head I’m saying “Oh sugar”….and the real word in my head was not sugar. Then the Editor says something like, “You mean to tell me the boys are not going to be able to take a nice hot shower in their own house????!!!!!!” Yes dear, the sons of Gondor are going to go to bed a little stinky.

This happens to me at least every other year. It’s amazing. There’s always something. Let’s get back to the task at hand shall we?

This house is really going to be something when it’s finished. So I just wanted to talk about a few things going forward here.

One of the things I like about this type of structure is that it’s not supposed to be perfect….and it isn’t. I don’t want it to be perfect. I’m not perfect and I don’t believe that Hobbits are overly worried about being perfect either. That just happens to be my opinion. Bilbo Baggins’ house is not spick and span clean and orderly. That’s not how Hobbits live. Elves on the other hand are different. But we are not building an Elf dwelling here.

The beauty of concrete is in it’s color variations, it’s different texturing, the way some spots have voids and others do not, and many other things, too. Some of the places where we didn’t vibrate the concrete perfectly actually look great to me. It adds a touch of age to the structure. As if it’s been there many, many, years. That’s the look I’m going for with this house. Not a clean cut cookie cutter house at the end of Main Street. I’m looking for something that has been here for an Age or more. Something that people want to run their hand over and say, “That feels cool!” That’s just me.

So let’s take a look and see what we’ve uncovered this week shall we?

First stop the Island of Misfit Toys!

Sorry, wrong movie.

Uncovered our first hi-hat of the job. Everything looks a-okay! When I stripped the plywood off the ceiling, the O-ring at the base of the hi-hat came off . I figured this would happen and it really won’t compromise the finished product when we’re done. The O-ring goes up against the sheet rock ceiling in renovation work as a stop. It’s irrelevant in our application. Most of the nails holding the hi-hat down also came off with the plywood so that was an extra bonus. If you look close you can see one nail is left hanging. I’ll pull it out later with some pliers.


First hi-hat uncovered.
First hi-hat uncovered.

Just so you know,the hi-hat trim should cover any dings and dents if you will. It was also great to find out that we did a good job covering up and sealing the hi-hat properly for the pour. Man if these things all come out okay this is really going to be a home run! (Grandpa would be proud!) This is a hi-hat that is going to be over the fireplace mantel. You know, accent lighting. Okay, Hobbits aren’t perfectionists but they like their creature comforts! Decent lighting being one of them.

Octagon box at center of dining room!
Octagon box at center of dining room!

So this is a location where I’ll have a hanging fixture. You know something Hobbitesque. I’ll have to go back into the movie archives and see what might work.

Jude and Ethan on clean up patrol.
Jude and Ethan on clean up patrol.

Boy it looks pretty green out there doesn’t it? Can’t wait until we plant our green roof up there as well! Clean up patrol went well. We got a lot done in 45 minutes.

Living room skylight makes an appearance.
Living room skylight makes an appearance.

These skylights are going to make this house unbelievable. I didn’t have enough time to get it fully uncovered but you get the picture. Skylights are really a pain in the neck to put in but I think they are going to pay off in the long run. It will be really cool to see the whole house stripped out and the light coming in from the ceiling. I can’t wait!

The Sons of Gondor have returned!
The Sons of Gondor have returned!

Jude and Ethan! My boys…..I love them.

By the way I found a good deal on the underslab styrofoam I need for the first floor slab. It’s called type 9 Perform Guard Geofoam. It’s EPS styrofoam treated with borate making it termite and carpenter ant resistant. I just have to get a price check on it and I’m going to order it. I’m really hoping to pour the slab before Christmas. This way I’ll be able to work on the interior framing over the winter.

Hey, have a great week and enjoy the fall colors if you’re in the Northeast. The next two or three weeks the colors will be peak!

Oh yeah and be wary of anyone who says they mix their breakfast cereals!

Take it easy!


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