That is Your Fate….What Happened to My Tee Shirts!?!?!?!?

“Anirne hene beriad i chen in. Ned Imladris nauthant e le beriathar aen.”  ….. Elvish for:

“She wanted to protect her child. She thought that in Rivendale you would be safe.” Lord Elrond of the Elves speaking to Aragorn. He goes on: “In her heart your mother knew you’d be hunted all your life. That you’d never escape your fate.”

Is anyone really ever safe these days? What is one’s fate?

Okay Jim, let’s not get too deep here. It’s supposed to be a dopey construction blog remember?

Yeah, kind of slipped up there for a second. So let’s get back to the task at hand: The forging of the One Ring, I mean the building of this Hobbit House!

Terence came up with a good idea while we were working the other day over at the house. Just have to back up before we go forward for a moment. So one of the criticisms of the Hobbit shed in my backyard has been, there are no round windows. And I get it. One of the characteristic design elements of a Hobbit house is their classic round windows. This has always troubled me. It’s very hard to put one of these into a real house. Firstly, because they are extremely expensive. Secondly and maybe more importantly is that for the house to actually work in the real world they would have to be sized a certain way and this would put limits on how the rest of the house would have to be presented. I don’t know if this makes any sense at all to you. But in the movies the round windows, if you notice, are very small. Therefore they would let very little light into the house. This also means that the front of the house would have to be small as well which would complicate the real world layout of a  home that you could actually live in. Hmmm. Really going off on a tangent here Jim, what’s your point? My point is that there are no round windows on my hobbit house. Fast forward to Terence. (I actually have a lot to say about Hobbit house design and maybe someday on an off week we can get into some of my other design ideas that I really wanted to put into this house but couldn’t for one reason or another.)

So his idea is to make a false round window,or two, on the side of the house with a light in it so as you are driving by it would seem like a real hobbit house like the ones you see on book covers and in the movies. The boys got a few M and M’s rattling around in that head of his. I’ve got to figure a way to make this happen. It’s not going to be that easy though.

On another note I had to go to south Jersey Friday night for a wake.

So I had to get my suit out and the other paraphernalia that I never wear. So way back when, I was looking for a white tee shirt to wear under my nice dress shirt. The short version is I couldn’t find one, I freaked out, and told the Editor to get me a bunch of white tee shirts so this doesn’t happen again. Which got done. Which was great. The Editor actually got me a dozen white tee shirts! So now I go to get one of my white tee shirts the other day and they’re not where they should be. Strange. I scrounged around and I did find one though. A size large. I’m not a size large though. I’m extra large. I was like a sausage in this thing. I mean I almost needed help pulling this thing over my body. It was like one of those slenderizing things you get  so it looks like you lost ten to fifteen pounds. Maybe more.  I was actually having trouble breathing by the end of the day that’s how tight it was. When I finally took it off at the end of the night my body overexpanded and it looked as if I had gained 10 to 15 pounds. It was disturbing. Guess what I’m asking for this Christmas? Extra large white tee shirts. And this time I’m going to hide them somewhere that Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee will never find them.

Let’s move on.

I mean why would you take a dozen white tee shirts? I bet every one of Jude’s friends up at school has one of my white tee shirts in his dorm room and Ethan’s wearing a nice clean white tee every day. It’s ridiculous.

One more time: Let’s move on…..but it really is ridiculous. ( I’m gonna let it go now I promise.)

So I called up my excavator friend Steve to see if he was ever going to get me a price on backfilling this old hobbit house. He said he would but that he was really busy and would try and get me a price by week’s end. Which is fine. I’m in no rush. I am hoping that he can get to it. We’ve had some warm weather up here in the Northeast and it’s supposed to stay warm for at least another week. This would allow him to get quite a bit done being that the soil hasn’t had a chance to freeze. I hope this works out.

So what we wanted to try and get done before backfilling begins is footing drain control. Meaning drainage issues. So what we have to do is cover the footing drain stone with filter fabric. What this does is prevent the footing drain stone from getting clogged with dirt over time. The filter fabric allows water to pass through it but prevents dirt from getting through. Pretty simple, but critical for the long term. Most drainage issues on homes arise from poor drainage. I did a few extra things here as well so let’s get to a few pictures. For a second I bet you were thinking I used all those white tee shirts for filter fabric material didn’t you? That I somehow forgot that I took them out of drawer number two in my bedroom. Hmmm. That’s not what happened. Right Ethan and Jude?

The picture Jim. Oh yeah. I really am having trouble letting this go aren’t I?

Dreaded Northeast corner.
Dreaded Northeast corner.

So the Dreaded Northeast corner is  a little bit different. in this area I didn’t want any soil coverage. The gravel at the top that you see is the finished grade. What I did do is put a 4 inch layer of stone down for drainage, cover that with filter fabric and then put another 4 inches of stone for drainage. This way I know that over time my primary drainage layer will always be clear of debris. This little area will have to be maintained every year. Just a bit of leaf raking when fall is done. That’s all.

North side drainage.
North side drainage.

So what I wanted to do here is add a layer of styrofoam down to increase our coverage for our Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (FPSF). You forgot about that didn’t you? You did. That’s okay that’s why we’re writing this blog. Tis our fate. Anyway this is a bit of overkill but I wanted to add it just for old time sake. My underside of footing, when the final grade is in place, is going to be close to 36 inches. If you look at the FPSF charts I don’t need any extra styrofoam because of my depth. I had the extra stuff so I just threw it in there anyway. But this is what you would do if you only had 12 inches of cover.

West side drainage.
West side drainage.

So what I did here I thought was a good idea. I had my Mira drain coming down off the side with about 4 inches of depth from top of footing to my footing drain gravel. (Terence and I were taking the extra gravel from the front of the house, shoveling it into a wheel barrow and then walking it to where we needed it, if you were wondering.) So instead of trying to fill this difference in height with gravel I used some extra 4 inch styrofoam I had and kept it off the edge of the footing about 5-6 inches. We filled this void with gravel and then covered the whole assembly with filter fabric. This way the final edge of the Mira drain drains directly into the footing gravel. Now that’s an A-1 drainage job. Only you and I are ever going to know it though.

West side ready for backfilling.
West side ready for backfilling.

I just used some rocks or whatever was handy to hold the filter fabric in place.

For the record we started the East side but I was exhausted with all the shoveling and the wheelbarrowing. I went home took 2 ibuprofen and a nap.

Got a call from the window guy this week. We should be receiving windows sometime next week. Not that we’re even remotely close to installing them but it will be interesting to see them.

Hope all is well on your end! Enjoy the holiday season and try not to get too bogged down in the gift thing. It’s about a baby being born.

Enjoy your week!



4 thoughts on “That is Your Fate….What Happened to My Tee Shirts!?!?!?!?”

  1. I know it’s a little late now, but would round skylights be easier than round windows? How about putting in a square window, then using a decorative round frame?

    I hope your dirt guy can get to you soon.

    • Hi Sally! I hope all is well with you and your family this holiday season!

      The window thing is tricky. I have numerous sketches using a square or rectangular window with some form of curvature added to give you that rounded Hobbit look. A couple of them came out pretty well.

      It still isn’t a round window though.

      The skylight thing is a different animal altogether. If you look at most artists renderings of Hobbit homes you will see that most of them are like a singular window in the middle of nowhere. Very difficult to produce architecturally. And a round skylight wouldn’t really give you the feel that a window would.

      Hobbit house architecture. It isn’t easy.

      Have a great holiday!

        • True….and that is the dilemma we are up against. Everyone knows what a Hobbit House should look like but nobody has really thought about the difficulties in building one.

          There are a lot of critics out there Sally.

          We’re going to proceed on our path. There and back again.

          Enjoy your holiday,


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