Odds ‘n Ends VII

            My life is undergoing a major change. In fact, it may never again be the same.  To see the change happening, all I have to do is look out the window. I see a large excavator and lots of logging equipment.

            Sue and I are putting on an addition that will double the size of our house.  We need the space, as our family is growing. Many of you who have studied here have met our friend Jim. If not, you have heard me speak about him. Jim has MS and lives in an assisted living facility. He is confined to a wheel chair and has limited use of his arms. 

            We have decided Jim will have a much higher quality of life living with us.  Jim is very intelligent and alert. It’s his body that gave out, not his mind.  However, most of the people in the facility with him have dementia. As a result, he does not have too many stimulating conversations. Living with us, he will be part of our very active lives.  Jim has known our son Michael since he was born and has always been Uncle Jim. They are fast friends. This means Jim will also share in the very active life of a sixteen year-old boy.

            The work started a week ago Monday. The loggers began removing the forest that surrounds our house. The goal is to let in more light, especially in the winter. We are opening the yard on the left a couple of hundred feet to a stone wall.  We are opening it the same distance on the right to reveal the stream. We are also removing woods behind the house so we can see the marsh.  The result is that we will be living in a meadow, rather than in the forest.

            The excavator worked on the hole for the foundation for less than an hour before he dug up an old stump. The next scoop brought up another. He had found the stump dump dug by the excavator who had stumped the site when we were building the house. The stump dump was a long, deep trench. As luck would have it, the trench ran in the exact path of the new driveway.  

            The ground above the stump dump was soft and could not be successfully paved. The excavator had to dig up the whole dump.  Then, he trucked in ledge from a blasting site to fill the trench.  This had to be compacted with a roller to give us a solid bed for the drive. Meanwhile, a huge truck came in and took out load after load of smelly stumps that had been under our lawn for 11 years. So, the first day started out with a nasty surprise and an unexpected cost overrun.

            For two weeks, our beautiful ginger bread cottage in the woods looked like it was in a war zone. We would have made a perfect set for a Hollywood director filming a war movie. I described it to Fred and Don as looking like newsreel footage of Seabees carving a landing strip out of the jungle. On Wednesday Susanna looked out the front door and had a meltdown. She recovered and has accepted that we will be living in a mess until next spring.

            Meanwhile, I have a very large pile of 100 year old white pine saw logs in my yard.  I like to walk around them and count the chair seats.  I’ll never get to use the wood.  The logger clears for free in exchange for the timber. If any of it ever comes back here it will first go to Quebec and then be trucked back to my lumber dealer. If that happens, I won’t recognize it.

            Planning the addition, meeting with builders and bankers has taken lot of my time lately. The builder has now taken over, but I know I am not off the hook. Susanna will make all the decisions, but she always wants me there to translate. She doesn’t understand builder talk, and builders don’t understand her.


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            This morning was just another boring day at The Windsor Institute. Before you read on, I have to warn you that this entry is X rated, or at least a strong R. I pulled into the parking lot at 8:30 and found myself looking at a horse nibbling on a bush on the side the main building. Second glance, I realized it was a moose. It was not at all bothered by me sitting in the car staring at it.  Angus, our white boxer sat in the passenger seat and quietly watched along with me.

            Meanwhile, the class had seen the visitor and several of the guys came out to take pictures. I called Susanna to tell her what was looking me in the eye.

            After about 15 minutes, the moose casually walked straight at my car. He passed right beside my door. Then, he stopped.  He was not paying attention to me.  Instead, he  seemed interested in Lord Mike Speck’s bright red pick up truck. The moose rubbed its chin on the tonneau cover. I wondered if was lapping the dew that had collected.

            Nope. The moose began to rub up against the tail gate.  He lifted one leg like he was trying to get into the truck.  That didn’t work. So he walked along side the truck, rubbing up against it.  The hood seemed more to his liking.  He got up on two legs and tried to do to the truck what moose do to make baby moose. The part of his anatomy used in that act was very evident. The moose had fallen in love with Lord Mike’s truck.

            If you would like to read the story in our local newspaper go to http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20081008-NEWS-81008014.  The picture is graphic.  Do not show it to children under 18.


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            I received an email from Jill Tatman, wife of Lord Ron Tatman. Lots of people who have studied here know Lord Ron and will want to learn the news. “Dear Mike, Susanna, and the Windsor Institute:  Just wanted to keep you informed Ron deployed out on Saturday. He is in Fort Bliss for the next 40 days, and then on to

Iraq. He packed over 20 carving blanks for Santa’s and shore birds. No room for spindles or chair seats to scoop.

            He has found out that there is a wood shop at Camp Liberty where he will be stationed. He is hoping that he could find some of the native woods there. Who knows? He may come home with a chair made of olive wood. Please keep him in your prayers and send him an e-mail from time to time. You can use this same address. He will be keeping up with The Institute on the web.

            He went very high tech. We got him a new lap top, Blackberry, Ipod, and a digital camera. Kaila set it up for him and wrote him two pages of instructions. Let’s see if he can follow them. He hasn’t  yet mastered the Blackberry.

            The girls and I may come up to New Hampshire this coming summer so Kaila can go surfing.  It’s not like we don’t have an ocean, but she says it’s better in

New Hampshire. Will let you know and we will be sure to stop in at the Institute and say Hi.

Will keep in touch.  Jill”

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            The Immortal Sir Ken Hall emailed me.  “The news in the blog about Ralph and Caron Quick and their adventures in the movie making business was very interesting.  I performed a Google search this evening and found:


            “It contains info on the movie.”  His Grace Ralph and his wife Caron had cameos in a new movie “We the People.”


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