Rest in Peace, Boru

Our dear friend Boru the cat left us today. He was very sick, first suffering from diabetes, then Lymphoma and finally kidney failure. We think we extended his time with us in a meaningful way, but eventually, no matter how painful it would be for us, it no longer made sense to prolong the inevitable.

You will unfortunately never know how much we miss you Boru. You touched everyone who met you. You make cat-haters love you. You comforted us. Rest in Peace.

A Tree Falls in Tappan

You actually would have thought that a tornado passed through my parent’s neighborhood in Tappan yesterday. When I got the call that a tree came down in their yard…and took out my childhood bedroom, I was a bit concerned. But then came the added “but there is not water coming in”, I started to get a bit curious. A quick drive over to the house did show a great deal of damage, but all indications were that my old room was intact.

This was a pretty major tree. It took out the gazebo attached to the house, the little porch swing my dad built in the yard and the storage shed attached to the house. Amazingly, nothing touched my mom’s new car..leaves all around it, but not a scratch.

The bit of serious house damage was to the soffit (just over my old room). It could have been much worse.

Personally, I think the most serious damage will be this whole in the side of the house. It just appears to be superficial, but replacing the siding will be a joy, I am sure.

Click here for more pictures.

Happy Birthday, William!

William celebrated his third birthday with a pool party for a bunch of his friends. It was actually a bit cool in the shade, so many of the kids spent their time playing on the swings and climbing the castle.

It’s pretty clear that William had a great time!

On the day of William’s Birthday, we celebrated with a big backyard BBQ (officially, a Shrimp Boil). The Spiderman theme followed over from the pool party, including a delicious cake and a Spidey pinata.

The Playhouse

So, Tristan and William’s dad got bored of spending his days in front of a computer and needed to pound a hammer and rip some wood. This has resulted in plans for a playhouse for the boys. Originally, this was supposed to be a simple kit from Toys R Us…

but when Tom found out that the shipping was as much as the playhouse, alternative options were explored.  After all, there was a simple playhouse at the boys’ nusery school…how difficult could it be? (And after reading the reviews, I am pretty glad we did not go down this route.)

Early Inspiration

Tom had a basic idea of how to build the walls. Studded wall are everywhere. He had even been lectured on the need for “headers” and the such around doorways and windows. The problem was how do the walls attach to one another? You see, 2×4’s are not square. When you butt them up at 90 degree angles, they don’t match up exactly. Enter the internet. Have you noticed how this is a great resource for almost anything?

Well, it turns out that this is not really a problem if you don’t plan to using interior wallboard. But the web research did result in a basic plan that would provide many of the ideas for Tristan and William’s playhouse.

The Rockler design was just what Tom wanted…but he refused to pay $9.95 for the plans. It would be much easier to work them out from scratch.

The only problem with the internet is that sometimes your kids are watching over your shoulder. One day, Tristan was watching as dad browsed the various links to various playhouse plans and he saw this Gothic Americam Playhouse.

While to Mom and Dad, this looked more like a country church, to Tristan, the dominant feature was the peaked front door…which looks just like the door to his real house. Suddenly, dad’s vision of a rustic log cabin started to morph into a bizarre amalgum of design styles. The initial sketches were not pretty…

Dad’s Initial Sketches
Designs did evolve…and it appeared that the door situation could be left “open” for the time being. Trips to Home Depot were scheduled…and wood was purchased. Taking two toddlers to Home Depot to purchase wood is not a trivial task. The real problem is trying to figure out how to get two 4×8 sheets of plywood and 20-odd 2×3’s into/onto your SUV while there are car seats in the main section. It’s not like you can just have the boys sit on each other’s laps in the front seat…straddling the 2×3’s. So this meant the wood had to be strapped to the roof. This also meant “committing” to the purchase…cause once you have the wood out in the parking lot, you need to get it strapped to the roof in some manner. This also tends to mean a very slow ride home…with hazards flashing…so pieced of wood don’t go flying hither and yon down the Saw Mill River Parkway.
Once the initial load of wood was purchased, the first part of the project was to establish a firm platform for the construction project. I specifically do not use the word “foundation” as this platform was just some weather treated 2×4’s set on a level plot of dirt…leveled by some available bricks/rocks. Anything more permanent would potentially have zoning implications. With the platform in place, Tom could start to work on the sections of wall that we talked about so long ago…
Finally…studs
More to come…