Friday, February 3, 2012

Little House on the Hillside

My favorite view on a gorgeous day.

My wife Anne and I built our house from September 2006 to November 2007. We used a kit from First Day Cottage, a company in Walpole, NH. But lest you get the idea that it was a bunch of pre-made pieces that we snapped together, this was only a kit in the nominal sense. We had to cut, nail, install, erect (hee hee) and finish every element of the house ourselves. Some tasks we ended up hiring out--the excavation and site prep, the foundation, most of the plumbing, finishing the floors and a few other things. But we did just about everything else, day after day, through all seasons and in all weather. It was a defining moment in our lives and a turning point for me personally. My life was instantly divided into pre-house and post-house periods, and no challenge that arose post-house seemed insurmountable anymore. Given time and some resources, we could achieve anything.

During the building process I maintained a blog called 'Little House on the Hillside'. What started as an easy way to keep my friends and family informed of our progress soon turned into another labor of love that grew alongside the original one. When I say labor, I mean it, considering we were on dial-up internet and updating pictures and posts was a long and tedious process. But the writing fed the other side of me that I did not get to use while on the work site. I didn't realize how starved it was until it began to grow after finally being given some sustenance.

The original hosting site for LHOTH closed down unexpectedly a few years back, and while they dutifully transferred all of my posts to Typepad, they did not send over any of the painstakingly uploaded and captioned photo galleries. Much of the writing in the posts refers to pictures in the galleries so the whole narrative became disjointed. I had an idea that I might upload them again but the task was too daunting to ever get started. So LHOTH languished for a few years in limbo. Then my daughter was born. As you can imagine, this was another defining moment in my life.

I started writing again, journaling about my rookie dad experiences and, after Anne returned to work, my stay at home dad life. Once again I was involved in something that other people wanted to be kept informed about. Once again, I started a blog. All Dad, All Day is turning out to be not quite exactly what I envisioned--I am talking a lot less about teething and diapers and a lot more about politics and food--but it is keeping me in touch with some people and allowing me to meet some others. 

I am going to attempt to recreate my housebuilding blog here on ADAD, one post at a time. As my layout and programming skills get better I hope to be able to maintain two separate dynamic streams, but for now they will undoubtedly get in each others way. The tab just below the header should bring you to a page that is solely posts from LHOTH. These I will add periodically, starting with the ones way in the beginning, back in the summer of 2006. I am not yet sure how I will handle large amounts of pictures, for now they will be contained within the posts. By doing this I hope to not only revisit this incredible time in my life but also share it with people I wasn't lucky enough to have met yet. And maybe even give hope to someone else who is thinking of taking on a similar project.

Writing is never simple. But for me, when my life is consumed by a momentous undertaking, the right words are easier to find. Spending every day with my daughter and watching her grow has opened the floodgates and the right words are there for the taking. This hasn't happened to me since, well, I built a little house on a hillside.
Still smiling.


  1. A lovely place to have a family.

  2. giggle, you wrote erect..LOL...just teasing. I think it was a grand undertaking and it turned out beautifully. We built our home in 2005. I mean we hired the people who did all the building. My husband and I did the finish work, landscaping, etc. But the actual structure was built by contractors. You did a great job it is lovely. Hugs!

    1. Thank you, isn't it a great feeling to just take a moment every now and then to look around and say, 'Wow. We did this.' Pure contentment.

  3. The house from a kit idea is so rad. And I am 100% behind the blog resurrection!


Thanks for checking in!