Monday, April 16, 2007

The weekend at Fritz's was busy. I drove up very early Saturday and settled in for a day's worth of work on the Sweat Lodge. We lucked out on the weather as there was damp ground and chill but no active rain. M, our "architect" and chief carpenter on the project arrived a little after 8am. We unloaded a generator as well as an extensive tool supply and a lot of cedar lumber from his big pick-up and got it all transported into the woods. G & S (who do NOT write operettas) joined us an hour or so later and the work began in earnest.

M had built a beautiful little one foot wide octagonal oculus or dome-top window to sit high over the pit where the red hot rocks go and provide a little natural late afternoon light from the sun, or at night from the moon (something like this one although just a wee bit smaller). In short order it was suspended on the eight roof joists. Plywood sheathing began to go on. Fritz and I had to run out to the lumber yard to get two more sheets at one point and he left again around noon to get lunch ready.

Everyone wondered where D was. He'd said he'd come work with us and M began to look a little hang-dog as the morning progressed--he and D had begun a little "thing" recently, and M was seriously looking forward to seeing him again.

After lunch I looked over the progress and told M I'd like to take on a separate project, building all new benches around the inside of the sweat to replace the old rotting ones Fritz and I removed the week before. I knew that my stage carpentry skills were completely adequate to the job. So there was a crew working outside on roofing and insulating, while Fritz worked the chop saw for me for the inside work. In three hours the job was complete with seven brand new and completely level segments of cedar bench around the inside wall, leaving only the eighth, the door side, of the Lodge open.

In the middle of this, D arrived and M just glowed. By five thirty when Fritz called a halt for the day, the bench had been finished, the plywood and all the styro insulation were in place on the roof, tar paper was on and some of the cedar shingles were in place. Because the caulking/flashing around the oculus hadn't happened and because of the huge storm that was forecast, we put everything inside the Lodge and covered the whole thing with a big tarp. Clean-up was finished just after six. Fritz announced dinner for seven, inviting M and D to use the guest bedroom and bath to get properly reacquainted before we all ate.

The storm hit on Sunday morning and intensified during the day. We did inside things (I'd brought work up from MIT) and tended the woodstoves for the Masters Degree class that was meeting in the Center. After noon, we drove to Exeter and found wonderful antique cast iron grates that we need for the new house for air passage between the upper reaches of the Great Room cathedral ceiling and the second floor guest room and bath. The many very florid arched Victorian gratings were lovely but not the house's style which is more Arts and Crafts/Frank Lloyd Wright. Lucky for us--the Victorian ones are wildly fashionable now and go for up to $175 each--the more geometric ones that go perfectly with our style sell for $45 each. We got the four we need for just $5 over the price of one Victorian.

We'd planned to end the day at a meeting of the Town of Raymond Historical Society, but we were the only people to arrive other than the officers who had just decided to cancel due to the weather. So I drove him back home and headed down to Boston early in torrential rain and a constant struggle to keep in the proper driving lane in the teeth of fifty to sixty mile an hour broadside winds.

This morning, it's still going on. The Boston Marathon IS going to take place, albeit with major medical back-up for runners who may succumb to hypothermia, falls on the wet pavements and/or exhaustion from running directly into the gale. The Red Sox have only delayed their scheduled game from 10am to noon in what I think is the totally vain hope of playing today; rain in some form or other is predicted through Thursday. But, you know, they make us tough up here.

This morning, also, Fritz woke up to no electricity--bad news for someone with a group of 42 coming in for a class on the Meyers-Briggs personality type system. Fortuantely that's his biggest speciality and he can teach it even without a projector and slides. But 42 people will need the bathrooms a lot and without electricity the pump from the well won't provide any water. Fritz is at his most wonderful in a crisis like this. He set out the five gallon maple sugaring buckets under the drip lines from the Center's roofs and gathered several buckets of water to place by all the toilets. He'll give a charming speech on everyone cooperating to make it all work and they'll have had a great experience by the time it's all over, I'm sure.


I love this. The late author Kurt Vonnegut was controversial and never shied away from speaking what he held to be the truth. On May 4, 2003 he made a speech at the Hartford, Connecticut house of Mark Twain. Even before Iraq had clearly slid into civil war and become an appalling human disaster, Vonnegut delivered this scathing indictment of the Bush presidency:

I note that construction has stopped of a Mark Twain Museum here in Hartford -- behind the carriage house of the Mark Twain House at 351 Farmington Avenue.
Work persons have been sent home from that site because American "conservatives," as they call themselves, on Wall Street and at the head of so many of our corporations, have stolen a major fraction of our private savings, have ruined investors and employees by means of fraud and outright piracy.

Shock and awe!

And now, having installed themselves as our federal government, or taken control of it from outside, they have squandered our public treasury and then some. They have created a public debt of such appalling magnitude that our descendants, for whom we had such high hopes, will come into this world as poor as church mice.

Shock and awe!

What are the conservatives doing with all the money and power that used to belong to all of us? They are telling us to be absolutely terrified, and to run around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off. But they will save us. They are making us take off our shoes at airports. Can anybody here think of a more hilarious practical joke than that one?

Smile, America. You're on Candid Camera.

Yeah, I usually keep the beard trim in the winter and shave to a goatee in spring but I just had an urge to experiment. The goatee returns around the first of May.

Thanks for stopping by, it's always nice to meet new friends.
So do you have time in your retirement plan for reading? I hear A Man Without A Country (Vonnegut) is great.

Your eldest.
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