When was a kid, I remember watching my brother build things. During his younger years, he would build model cars to x-wing fighters. He’d build chairs, basketball hoops, pogo sticks and bicycles. As he got older, I watched him build real cars to engines to machines. There’s something he’d build though, that would transcend all of his years (and mine), and the type of building I’m referring to is none other than the famous “Jeff Fort.” My brother built forts like it was his last day on earth. They were in the attic, in the closets and in the back yard. And his forts were cool. They were like little houses – houses so great that I wished I could live in them for the rest of my life.
Back in the day, I tried to build a fort or two as well. While my brother’s consisted of multiple rooms, lamps, stairways and bandanas on the ceilings, mine consisted of a NCR box with a Duran Duran poster on the wall. Needless to say, Jeff knew how to do things right and I knew how to do things – period. Kinda.
I do remember the pleasure though – of sitting in those little club houses he’d build. I’d imagine how it would be to one day have a magical piece of property with tunnels and forts all over the place. I’d have a short little house like the one down on Maple Drive. The one that had a roof only about five feet off the ground. The one we’d bring his plastic ladder down to and climb up, only to be chased away by the owners. Except my house would have moss on the roof. It’d have anything I wanted because I would be the owner and that’s the way I’d want things to be.
Maybe something like a Hobbit hole or a house on a trailer. Something cool – back when I was a kid, I knew one day I’d be living in something cool. Something like my brother used to build.
Well guys – guess what. One day has come. It’s here and do you want to know what I’m living in? A colonial. No, I’m not living in a really neat colonial with tunnels running through the ceiling and trap doors in the basement, I’m living in a beautifully maintained colonial in a cul-de-sac neighborhood. My neighbors have SUVs and minivans. They have Golden Retrievers and pools. There’s even a tennis court up the road. Sounds good, but the sad part is – I don’t see one – not one Hobbit hole.
Here’s the question I’d like to throw out there. Here’s the question I’d like to know the answer to because I’ve been racking my brain and I still can’t figure it out – I’d like to know when the day was, where I decided that I’d throw away every single idea I had about having fun for the rest of my life and traded it in for being a regular ol’ guy. Can you figure it out? Because I can’t.
I remember when I was a kid, all of my friends had wild ideas about what things were going to be like when we got older. More than one said they were going to be rich. We pretty much all thought we’d be doing whatever we wanted, we knew we weren’t going to end up like our parents and for sure – one thing was for sure – we were all going to have really neat living arrangements and have parties all the time.
I think the last time I had a party was a few years ago when I drank two glasses of wine instead of one.
We recently purchased a house down in the beautiful state of Florida. During my search and after I finally got hold of a realtor who would talk to someone who had a price range like mine, I was told that I should make sure to buy something that people would want to buy, should I decide to sell. That made sense at first glace, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was looking for a house to live in and enjoy, not for someone else to live in and enjoy. The realtor repeated this suggestion a few times and finally, I retorted, “Sir, I plan to live in this house. I’m not buying it for someone else to live in.” He smiled and agreed. After I found something I liked and when I stopped by his office to sign the contract, he said that he admired my thinking. He said that, “I knew what I wanted.” He handed it to me. I got a kick out of that and realized at that moment, there are a few of us out there who are stuck in some sort of a trap. A trap that keeps us worrying about what’s around the corner – at the expense of today.
Laura scolds me for this. She keeps on asking when we’re going to start having fun. She says that the neighbors have a garden, but we can’t have one because I refuse to commit to anything near the septic fields (not even raised beds). She says they have a pool, but we can’t touch that idea because it costs too much and would ruin the landscape (not even a kiddie pool on the porch). There’s also no resale value to installing a pool. She says that the neighbors eat on their porch every night of the week during the Summer, but we can’t because I’m worried about someone’s dog barking or a fly landing in my food.
Well let me tell you something, when I was a kid, we had a pool in the living room and ate dinner on the porch almost every night of my life. Even in January. Not really, but you get the idea. We did have a Strawberry patch in the side yard though that I enjoyed very much.
I think I’m blaming myself here. I think you’re probably reading this post right now wondering why I might be referring to “us” when you’re sure it’s “me” I’m talking about. But you do have to admit, things changed along the line from when we had clear heads as children to what we are today. I know what I am and I’ll leave the rest to you.
I just can’t imagine being on my deathbed telling someone, “Oh thank God the people next door found me a man of such common sense!”
Now that I’m an adult and now that I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in this universe, please check out some examples of very awesome alternative living. Whew, it took a while to get to that point.
Speaking of Hobbits, a few nights ago, I finally finished reading the Hobbit. Close your eyes – spoiler alert – everything for most of the characters turned out okay. The Hobbit was my first fantasy book I’ve read in a good long time and I have to tell you, I really enjoyed it. It was a welcomed change from all the other business I’ve been reading through the years. I’m glad I made the leap to a new genre.
If you’ve read any of my recent posts on my other blog, you’d know that I’ve been debating whether or not to get a tablet. I’ve actually had a multi-level debate – whether or not to get a tablet and whether or not to join Audible.com.
Interesting thing happened as soon as I finished the Hobbit – I found myself in a half empty house with very little literature available. Even Laura was out of her seemingly endless supply of books (that’s where I got the Hobbit). With evening drawing close, I was forced into a situation where I had to get creative and a situation that may have given me some closure to my debating.
Weeks prior, I had discovered a whole bunch of free classics in the Kindle section of Amazon.com and began adding them to my account ad nauseum. I suppose I had plans for them, but through the days that followed, those plans sort of fizzled. Well, as it turns out, and since I was sort of forced into a situation, I began reading, The Mystery of the Hidden Room by Marion Harvey. Great reviews on Amazon, not so much on other Ebook sites.
Originally, I was nervous that reading a book like this on my phone would be a very uncomfortable chore, but I have to tell you, my Droid RAZR Maxx is handling things like a champ. I am flying through this book and within only a few days, I’m already on chapter 8. I read in bed, I read in the car and I read in the doctor’s office. All three of which I’ve been in the past two days. By the way, Laura went in for an eye checkup today and when the receptionist asked what she did for a living, she asked me if she should reply, “Magician.”
Of course, the phone’s not the size of a tablet, but now that I’ve seen the power and simplicity of the phone, I’m not sure I even need a tablet. The only thing I was going to use the tablet for was reading anyway.
Last night, I was driving back from Jiu-Jitsu, while listening to one of Laura’s old 80s New Wave albums. You know the stuff – A Flock of Seagulls, ABC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Yazoo and Echo & the Bunnymen. Yes, that’s right, Echo & the Bunnymen.
They have a really good song called, “Lips Like Sugar” that I’ve been teasing Laura with, telling her that I would’ve insisted on that song being our song had we ever gotten married. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard Lips Like Sugar.
Man, that song brings me back. I tell her that I’m glad I was a child of the 80s and she just smiles at me. Even as I type this right now listening to it, she’s in the kitchen saying, “What is it with that song?!?” I don’t have a reply because I don’t know.
Lastly – I promise. Lastly, Laura and I were sitting on the downstairs futon last Monday talking about the fellow we met at the Hebron Maple Festival. If you haven’t read my post on the whole thing, let me tell you that Bob was a man of approximately 65 years of age. He was a candle maker and a story teller all in one. Honestly, he was one of the most interesting people I’ve met in a good long while.
Chili Bob Whatley In Hebron, CT
As we were watching Bob make his candles at the event, we listened to him tell his stories. He told us of the hawks he would watch over the river across the street, down in Norwich where he lived. He talked about the “great expanse” of their wings and the way they would “swoop” down to take hold of mice in the fields. He told us stories of such intensity, they had no choice but to linger with us for days. I do love a great story .
Bob got me thinking. The day we met him, we only spent limited time with him because I guess it was customary to leave after a certain point. I didn’t want to hang around too long, perhaps making him wonder if we were weird or something. But I did enjoy his stories and even though we left, I wanted to hear more of them. I’m sure he’s got more to say.
Laura and I talked about this. I asked her if it would make sense if we started, sort of, interviewing people in an effort to get some stories that may never be told. Stories that may never be asked about because people either don’t want to pry or simple don’t know exist. Stories though, that people would undoubtedly want to hear. She answered that it would, indeed, make sense to do something like this.
So I think we’re going to do it. I haven’t decided yet if it’s going to be a blog all of it’s own or perhaps right on this very one you’re reading. You know, I didn’t resurrect this thing for nothing.
Guys – I miss you and am glad you decided to be friends with me on Facebook. Yesterday, I was a lonely soul and today I have half my family reading this post. I plan to get back into my more personal side and would like to extend a very hearty thanks to my own Uncle Bob. Somehow I have a feeling he was behind all my new friends.