With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Chapter Thirty-Four: The Trollwork Team Arrives

It was a week and a day later that the Trollwork team arrived.  They all had cute names like Dandelion, Purslane, Sowbug, Roly-poly, Sorrel, Thistle, Earthworm, and Nematode.  They seemed enthusiastic, young, sincere, lively, strong, eager, fit, multicultural, and enthusiastic.  

The Troll himself was a chubby, balding white guy with a Brooklyn accent.

He looked out the window at the twisted, blackened remains of the building and said, "Had a little fire, didja?"  

When the communards all grimaced, he smiled and added, "Not to worry.  We can tear this mother down and replace it with anything you'd like."

"Well, I know something we really wouldn't like," Sal said.

"I was thinking of something using crammed dirt, lumberplanking, and corn on the cob," Luna said. "I also wanna make sure it's sturdy and can take a lot of heavy use."

"And fire-proof," Ken added.

"Done, done, done," the Troll said.  "Let's get this baby in motion."

Earthworm and Thistle handed him some plans which he unrolled and motioned to the communards to look at.  

"I think this design here has all the features you want," the Troll said.

"Notice the extra supports in the walls and flooring,"  Earthworm pointed out.  "That makes it extra sturdy."

"It's also heavy on the crammed dirt and corn on the cob and fairly light on the lumberplanking," said Thistle.  "Which means there's little that can catch fire in this model."

"Also notice the quintuple paned windows and thermic bulk," Earthworm added. "This is a pacifist sunshine design that can heat your home from sunlight on a cold winter's day."

"And we do get cold winters here," Cat said.

"Wow," Viv said.  "It has everything we wanted."

"And more," added Marge.

"Do you think that you're the first ones who wanted those specifications?" Thistle asked.  "Sturdy and fireproof are common concerns--and we sort of had a guess on them after we heard you had a fire.  And crammed dirt and corn on the cob are more appropriate for this area than adobo."

Earthworm pointed to the exterior walls.  "We could add some hay buck construction here for extra insulation.  Add a log oven to the pacifist sunshine design and it's going to be quite a toasty place, even in frigid weather."

"And the lumberplanked eaves will give you lovely ventilation in the summer time," Thistle explained.

Luna looked at Ed who nodded at her.  She looked around at all the rapt faces of her comrades.  "Sold," she said.  "When can you start?"

"Would tomorrow be soon enough?" Thistle wondered.

Dan glanced over at the Troll who was sitting way back in his chair and grinning.  He grinned back.  "Sounds good to us."

The entire Trollwork crew let out a big cheer.

"We'rrrre rrrreadeeeee," yelled Dandelion.

"Uhn-huh," said Thistle.  She whistled and the whole team followed her out the door.

"Back in twenty-four," said Earthworm as he departed.

"What did you think?" The Troll asked.

"Scary," Sal said.  "But satisfying."

"I think you're just what we need," Luna said.

"You won't regret this," said the Troll.


The next morning the commune woke to the sounds of the burnt house disappearing.

"What time did they start?" Cat asked.

Will looked at his watch.  "I woke at three AM and I thought I heard work going on.  Their idea of starting first thing in the morning must have meant after midnight."

Sal walked in and grumped, "Back in twenty-four?  I don't think they waited ten..."

Dan looked out the window from the room they were all eating breakfast in.  "They're doing fast work.  Most of the old building is gone now."

The Trollwork Team tore and toiled, cleared and cleaned, all day long.  By the time the sun was getting ready to set there was only a large hole in the ground to mark where the old house had been.

Over the next two days, the team cleared the snow, the grass, and the brush around the entire area that had surrounded the structure, and did a lot of basic preparation on the site, including moving huge pieces of lumber in and expanding the size of the hole, and clearing away anything that would interfere with them bringing in even more supplies.

Finally, on the fourth day of work, The Troll showed up again and he and Thistle and Earthworm called the communards over to look at the site and make any last minute decisions before the actual building began.

"So here's the plan," Thistle said.  She pointed out an area marked with a stick on one side and an area marked with a stick on the other.  "The ground floor of the house will extend from there..." pointing, "to there..." and again pointing, "and will come from here..." and now pointing nearly down to where the hole began just in front of her feet, "all the way out to there."  And there was yet another stick nearly at the far side of the hole away from them.

Earthworm went on to say, "We plan to soil berm the basement and use hay buck construction on the exterior walls above it for maximum insulation."

Thistle pointed up in the air over where the building would be.  "This plan would give you a three story structure with a sloping front and skylights in the south for the pacifist sunshine.  The place will have an atrium, a patio, and a porch."

She looked around at all the fascinated faces. “Any problems with the plans?”

A few of the folks said quiet ‘no’s but most just shook their heads.

“Okay,” Thistle said. "So there's only one question left."

"What's that?"  Nancy asked.

"What do you want to call the place?"  Earthworm replied.

"How about Groovy House?" Sal said.  

Nancy gave her a look but Ken said, "Wow, yeah.  I like that."

"Me, too," said Chuck.

"Cool," said Grace.

Marge and Will were nodding.  Cat gave a slight grin.  Ralph and Ed were in the back, giggling.

Luna looked over at Will.  He shrugged.  She turned back to Thistle and Earthworm.

"Groovy House it is," she said.

"Okay," said Thistle.  "We'll be back tomorrow to start on the building."

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