Chapter 21 2000 - Our House

The road trip completed, focus needed to be turned toward creating their new home. After having spent a year on the road, it didn’t really feel foreign coming home to nothing, but they knew that inevitably, they would want a family and a place to raise them, and living in an RV would no longer be an option.

“This is what I envision for our house.” I showed Angela some sketches he had quickly made. “I want it to be a grand home, as we will be living there for a long time. I’m through with traveling for now.”

“I’d like to see us incorporate some of our memories from the road trip. Perhaps something like ‘the best the USA has to offer.’”

“What stands out in your memory?”

“Well, there’s the White House.”

“That would be a little excessive.”

“How about all the state Capitols we saw. Surely there must be some inspiration there?”

“Again, too excessive. We saw ranch homes, famous landmarks, but we didn’t really look that hard how the normal people live.”

“You think we’re normal?”

“It might be time to try to be a little more normal, so to speak. But I don’t want to want for anything either.”

They reviewed I’s sketches, and found that some spoke to their mutual sensibilities, and finally agreed on a direction they wanted to take. They consider a number of custom home contractors, and finally settled on one company whose other work they enjoyed.

“We’ll give them our ideas, then let them fly with it and see what they come up with.”

With that out of the way, I had not forgotten the promises he had made during the year on the road. The first order of business was to contact his uncle Ed in North Dakota and see how things were going there.

“Well, it’s pretty quiet here right now. There’s snow on the ground still, and we really don’t have anything else to do until the spring thaw. We’re used to it, though, and that shouldn’t concern you any.

“My plan was to make an investment in the family farm, and if we can turn some profits in the future, that will benefit you all. We can modernize some of the equipment, and maybe even expand it a bit. What do you consider your first priority?”

“Well…” he paused as if in thought, but I ran with it.

“A well? You need a water supply?”

“Well, I guess yes, a well. We have one, but it needs to be deeper, a better source. Maybe that’s where we should start.”

“When can we start?”

“Right now wouldn’t be good, because the ground is frozen. But once we get the thaw, then that would be a good time to start.”

“OK. I’ll keep in touch, then, and when the time is right, we’ll get started.”

I’s next order of business was to contact the young musician he met in Green Bay. He dialed him up, but got the answering machine. “Hi, this is I Mall. We spoke in Green Bay last year, and I’d really like to work out something with you regarding your music. Please call me back, and let’s see what we could do.” He left his contact information and hoped for a call back soon.

“That’s strike two for today.”

Angela corrected him, “You didn’t get any strikes, you set the path for some future projects. Don’t let the thought of no immediate action get you down.”

“It’s just that I’m ready to get back into some things. After constant moving for a year, I don’t feel that I can slow down right now.”

“You don’t have to stop everything, just take it easy for a bit. Life will catch up to you.”

“Maybe it’s time I did some more music. I feel like that is one thing that I did leave behind, and never really looked back.”

“You old instruments are still at you parents place, and the old studio has been sitting idle for some time. Maybe it’s time to check it out.”

I called up his father, “Hey, dad, I want to fire up the old studio and make some magic. Care to help me?”

“Sure, why not? Everything’s the way you left it the last time it was used. Come on by and we’ll check it out together.”

I met his father at the studio. Through a few years of disuse, it was evident that there would be some work to be done before music was going to be made. First thing up, the exterior needed a coat of paint, after a wash down to remove the accumulated dirt. Secondly, the interior was covered in dust. Fortunately, the sensitive electronic equipment and instruments were covered, and safe from the elements, so after a few sneezes and runny noses and itchy eyes, the place was cleaned up and ready to go.

“I remember the first time we tried to fire up everything all at once. We blew so many fuses that we should have bought stock.”

“That’s an issue of the past, now,” Henry said. “Everything was brought up to meet the needs of the full band. For what you want to do, I don’t think it will an an issue at all.”

“The guys and I sure spent a lot of time together while we we’re working up to be the band we became. It was almost as if this was our house. We even ended up sleeping on the floor sometime. And having that refrigerator there wasn’t a bad thing either. Hmm,” I paused, thinking deeply. “With just a little work, Angela and I could move in here while we’re waiting for the new place to new built!”

Henry and I started making the grand plans for conversion of the studio to a full-fledged living space, and soon had a design that could be implemented quickly to turn it into a decent home.

“It’s not quite the palatial estate we envisioned,” I mused, “but I think it’s going to be a good spot to relax and wait until the new one. And maybe I’ll even be able to record my next hit album!”

With the RV parked right outside, Angela and I began to make their new space into a home.

“It’s nice to be settled sown, at least for a while, a have a solid foundation under our feet.”

“Dad made this place to last,” I noted, “and it’s good to be able to make some use of it again.”

They worked together to domesticate the studio. First order of business was to outfit the room with the refrigerator into a full-fledged kitchen. While there wasn’t really enough space to put in everything they need, a small one, a microwave and a table were added. Some cabinets were also added, and in time, the store from the RV had been transferred.

“I don’t think we need to work on a music room so much. The place is pretty mush all set up for that.”

Henry had already been at work adding on a room that would be of use as a bedroom, and the bathroom and shower had already been a part of the original design. Before long, they occupied about 800 square feet, and decided that would be enough for now.

“It’s only temporary,” they agreed. “Our new house will be ready in six months.”

The time spent modernizing the studio into a studio apartment quickly moved into the Spring, and I once again contacted his uncle Ed about the work they had planned together.

“The ground is workable, now,” Ed told I, and we can start to work on the well anytime.”

“I will make some contacts from here, then, to get the process started. They will work to your specifications, but refer and expenses to me.”

“Will do.”

The crew started the work in a few days, but when they got to the depth where they thought the might be able to hit a [pocket of water, all they got was a black sludge. Moving elsewhere on the fan, they discover the same thing. Ed contacted I.

“It’s no use, all we are getting is black sludge, and we haven’t been able to find any decent water source. It’s a bust!”

“Black sludge? Let me have someone come out and do some analysis. I have an inkling that it might just turn out to be OK after all.”

After an inspection of the black sludge, it was discovered that there was a lot of oil below the surface, and much greater interest was suddenly made in that that in trying to find more water. By the time all was analyzed, The Mall farm was discovered to be worth a l;to more that just farming would provided, and that it was probably best to abandon farming al together. A new oil boom was about to begin, and the Ed and Mary Mall family had nothing to worry about financially from that point on.

I was concern that he had not heard back from the young musician in Green Bay, and attempted contact again, only to still receive an answering machine. Again leaving a message, he implored the musician to contact him. He wrote a letter and within a couple of weeks got it back, with the imprint “No Forwarding Address.”

I was beside himself, and wondered about the lost opportunity that did not materialize. His hope of finding yet another new talent that he felt had as much potential as Reginald Von Happenstance was going to remain an unrealized dream.

Instead, I turned to the studio, and found some solace in composing new music. With no distribution deal, and without a great incentive to make it heard, it instead sat on the shelf, unheard expect for a few close friends.

Finally, the new home was ready, and moving day had arrived. I and Angela bid farewell to their small home, and started to fill out the much, much larger space with the possession they had in storage, as well as new items they had purchased.

In a little private ceremony, I smashed a bottle of champagne against the column at the front entry and declared “I dub thee, our house, Mall Hall!” Looking at the damage caused by the bottle, he also declared. “We’ll have to fix that…”