Sunday, August 1, 2010

The road goes ever on and on

"I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains! And find some place quiet where I can finish my book."  My sentiments exactly.  Yesterday, I had three things I wanted to accomplish: work on the hobbit-hole, go on a hike, and write in my book.

I live close to mountains, so seeing them is not something I have to wish for, but what I don't do often enough is get up into them.  In fact, sometimes I get so busy with the day to day that I hardly look at them, and I begin to feel like I might as well be living in the Great Plains for all the attention I give them.  I love hiking, but I don't get much of a chance to do it, mainly because I have a hard time convincing the rest of my family that hiking is fun, and because I would feel guilty taking off for hours on end without them.  Yesterday, it had been long enough since the last time we hiked that the kids had forgiven me and forgotten about the tiredness, the sweatiness, and the soreness.  So I managed to coax them all into the car, drive for 45 minutes, and hike a four mile round trip to a waterfall.

Before we left, I did get a chance to make a little progress on the hobbit-hole interior, getting it prepped to put up the paneling that will cover up the corrugated metal on the inside.  Normally, my habit would be to plug away all afternoon and evening until the sun goes down, but I disciplined myself to stop, for the sake of spending time with my family.  They may have been happier if I had kept working and spared them the hike.

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, it was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.  The kids had a great time; the kids had a lousy time.  We all had fun; we all thought it was lame.  In the end, we were all tired, sweaty, and sore. But most of us were glad we went, even if we might not choose to do it if we had to start over again.  My wife and I, at least, felt like we had accomplished something significant, and we found ourselves drawing numerous parallels to life in general.  It was character-building, but don't tell the kids that.

For their part, the kids wished we would have hung around at the trail head the entire evening, where a decades-old amphitheater made of stone sits decaying among tall pine trees, reminiscent of an English castle ruin.  The kids played pirates and Romans and medieval knights for an hour before we headed up the trail. And in spite of all the tiredness, and the setting of the sun, they begged to play there again after the hike was done.  We finally got them to agree to come away from there and pile into the car on the promise that we would return in two days.  After all, we have paid the national forest fee for a three-day pass, so we might as well take further advantage of the six dollars.  The hope of a return to their hidden fortress, and the Wendy's value menu on the way home, were enough for them to forgive us again and wash their memories of this latest hiking ordeal.  Still, I'll give it some time before I attempt to drag them on another adventure.

Oh, and my book?  No, I didn't get a chance to work on that yesterday.  What is it about?  That's another story.  Believe it or not, it is not a fantasy.  Well, the idea that I could write and publish a book may be a fantasy.  I should finish the hobbit-hole first.
A hobbit-hole in my backyard? It may sound crazy, but I can tell you that my kids love it. It is the coolest playhouse ever. Plus, they can enjoy the grassy hill for sledding in winter and water sliding in summer. This was all my wife's idea. She dreamt it, and I got to be the one to bring it to reality. I'm not a construction expert; this was a total do-it-yourself job by a complete amateur. It has turned out rather nicely, I think. Here is the story of how it came to be.

Since this is in blog format, the posts are in order from newest to oldest. To read this in chronological order, start with How it all Began and use the "Newer Post" links. Or click on the links under Blog Archive, in order.
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