Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
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Like my brownhouse:
   busted on Dug Hill Road
Wednesday, March 7 2007
The elementary school coat closet, with its nooks for mittens and the parts of lunches that mother packed but which you'd never eat and never be able to trade — Gretchen wanted something like those nooks for the coat closet in our house's entryway, so today I built a vertical shelf of them and bolted it to the closet's wall. I've found shelf building much easier since getting a power miter saw, even though it doesn't have any horizontal travel and I must flip the planks and carefully reposition them to finish the cuts.

Speaking of power saws, the other day (on February 28th, the sixth anniversary of our re-meeting) Gretchen bought me a gas-powered chainsaw. It's a German-made Stihl Farm Boss, and, given that it is of professional quality, I don't even want to know what it cost. I haven't pulled the starter string on it yet, but I expect I'll be using it a lot in the future to harvest downed trees on the side of the road, particularly along our own Dug Hill Road.

That same Dug Hill Road was the setting for a drama that ended this evening in our driveway. At some point I looked out the window and saw an SUV rolling to a stop in front of our garage. It wasn't expected, but such things happen on occasion, particularly in Boy Scout and Jehova's Witness Seasons. What made this visit peculiar was the fact that an Ulster County Deputy patrol car had been following behind that SUV, and after it stopped, the patrol car busted a U-turn in a neighbor's driveway and pulled into ours. I didn't know what the hell was going on, but the dogs were out there barking so I put on my shoes and ran out. I looked into the SUV and a young woman was behind the wheel. She claimed her vehicle had been "slipping" while climbing the steep hill on lower Dug Hill Road and that she'd pulled into my driveway to check it out, but then my dogs had come out. She asked me if I could please check it out. For some reason this request almost sounded reasonable for an instant there but then I looked around in the SUV's cab and saw a number of frightened-looking teenagers. Teenagers look younger and less responsible every time I see them. Yeah right, slipping. At about that time an Ulster County Deputy was approaching with a flashlight. "Do you know these people?" he asked. "No," I said. Turning towards the SUV the deputy said, "I'm going to need to see some ID." I went back into the house while the drama in the driveway played out over the course of an hour or more.
It wasn't long before there were two deputy cruisers out in the driveway, one pointing a bright spotlight at the suspicious SUV. Periodically Eleanor would remember that there was something fun to bark at out in the yard and explode through the dog door and I'd run after her to order her back in. I didn't want her getting shot by a nervous rookie deputy with a pit bull phobia.
Eventually one of the deputies knocked on our door and told Gretchen and me what had been going on. It seems one of the deputies was up on Dug Hill Road to check out a possible escape attempt from a juvenile delinquent wilderness reform facility called Never Alone (it's a couple miles to the north on the road). While up here he saw the SUV acting suspiciously, but before getting a chance to pull it over, it turned into our driveway and cut out its lights. Still suspicious, he'd decided to pull in behind it to see what was going on. He soon discovered that the driver (she of the "slipping" story) had a warrant out for her arrest, one of the passengers was only thirteen years old, and another had a suspended drivers' license. As always in groups of youths this size, one of them proved to be in possession of a trivial amount of marijuana. They were all from the Accord area, and the deputy wasn't sure what they were up to here. He assured us that they were "just kids" and hadn't come to our house to burgle us or anything nasty like that, though this hadn't been our concern. Our vigilant dogs keep us low on most burglars' priority lists. For both Gretchen and me it felt unnatural to be on the "assumed to be responsible taxpayers" end of an interaction with law enforcement.
Since none of the youths were qualified to drive, a tow truck was called in to haul the SUV away. I briefly considered rooting around in their empty vehicle to see if I could scare up any more drugs or perhaps Korn CDs, but then I saw that one of the deputies had stayed behind to await the tow truck's arrival.
The most amusing thing we got from this incident was the certainty that the neighborhood rumormill would now be churning with theories and alternate theories about what exactly had gone down at our house. "I always wondered about that young couple," someone would say. Then someone else would chime in, "You think it was drugs? Or maybe child pornography? I heard he liked to surf those Internets! What the hell else could that mean?"

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