The Cross House

The NE Corner. Three Days.

The upper upper NE corner. BEFORE.


The upper upper NE corner. BEFORE.


The upper upper NE corner. AFTER.


The upper upper NE corner. AFTER.


The upper upper NE corner. AFTER.


Today, save some touch-ups, I finished the upper upper NE corner.

And today, and during the last two afternoons working on the upper upper NE corner, I experienced a Zen-like calm about the work. Arriving at the house each day, I clambered out onto the scaffolding, got to work, but all the while listening to: The Day the World Came to Town.

The Audible book is about:

When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

Listening to book was a reminder at how fabulous humanity can be. During these dark political days, I have been nourished by this. And, not for the first time, I have been reminded, too, that working on the house is not really about working on the house, not always, but rather about enjoying a good book.

Thank goodness for technology for I am honesty convinced that I could not be restoring the Cross House without Audible books.

Today, and during the last two afternoons, while working on the house, time flew by as I fussed with 1894 shingles and fussed with replacing shingles as required and fussed with filling holes and fussed with sanding and fussed with caulking and fussed with priming and fussed with painting.

But…all the while my energy was being expended on restoring the upper corner, my mind and soul were engaged with an intense event from seventeen years ago and my heart was touched and moved. Today, and the last last two afternoons, were, well, tranquil and emotionally intense and deeply satisfying.

During these hours, I was detached from my normal concerns and worries as I became engrossed in a story beyond me. Yet somehow, like magic, actual work got done. And somehow, like magic, a big old house was incrementally improved.

Like magic.

After finishing today, I left the house and drove home, stopping to get groceries. After getting out of the car, I decided to step into the adjacent thrift store. While there, I found a lovely 1920 bathroom ceiling fixture for $16. I purchasing it, and then did my grocery shopping,

As I was checking out, a women approached me.


Then she said: “Didn’t you just buy an old light fixture next door?

Oh! I recognized her as the cashier. I replied yes.

She said: “I am soooooo sorry. Today was half-price day. I forget.” And she handed me $8 in cash.

My eyes ever so slightly watered up and I replied: “You are a treasure. Thank you.”

And in the moment, I was not just reading about how fabulous humanity can be.

I was offered real-time proof.




28 Responses to The NE Corner. Three Days.

  1. That book is added to my list! I cherish the moments that restore my faith in humanity, thank you for sharing yours. Oh! And the house is looking so beautiful!

  2. That was lovely, Ross. I’m so glad you shared it with us.

    There has been something about this corner of Cross House being completed. Maybe it’s because it’s over halfway now? But turning that corner for me has felt like a grand house is becoming a home.

  3. Looking good Ross! Really crisp and neat 🙂 And every day when I read about what new terrible things Trump and his administration are up to, and all the horrible things that come to light, I think about how aweful it must be for you and others in USA to see that happening in your own country. I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone who considers themselves to be Christians and family values-oriented can support this. I remember Trump mocking Hillary during the election over her husband’s affair and him lying about it. Really? No shame, at all

    • Hi, Elin!

      I frequently remind myself that 80% of America did not vote for Trump. And there now seems the serious likelihood that Trump would not have been elected without the help of Russia.

      Also, people who get their primary news from Fox are almost entirely unaware of the almost daily honors unfolding from the Trump administration and the GOP Congress.

      Another interesting fact is that a large block of college-educated Republican voters have switched to the Democratic party this year, in unprecedented numbers. The same thing has been happening with Independents; they have been switching to the D ticket.

      Let’s not forget, too, that kids are STILL in cages due to Trump.

      • Get over yourself Ross. Kids are in cages because an adult brought then across our border illegally. We’re already doing a piss poor job of helping our native born poor and unprivileged. Enough is enough.

        Though I get news from a variety of sources, I suspect that you’re watching The View and CNN entirely too much.

        • Those very kids were brought her because they came from horrible conditions, as bad and far worse than what we experience here. True, we need to be helping our own poor and unprivileged, but I feel we cannot do that till we learn to truly care for EVERYONE, regardless of their backround.

          And you’re wrong. Those children are in cages because of an oppressive, hatred filled, racist, corrupt regime. Not because of “adults that brought them illegally” The same thing happened not so long ago in Europe, 1933-1939. At first it was likely despots and the shamed. Then it became the citizens, the rich, the wealthy, the kind, the healers, the activists. Everyone. Tread carefully where YOU go, its a very dangerous path to allow to happen and shame others.

        • Hi, Travis!

          You know I adore you, so your comment is…startling.

          I cannot fathom how anybody can rationalize children and babies being torn from parents, and then put in cages.

          Such actions are the polar opposite of the extraordinary humanity shown by the people of Gander, Newfoundland, on 9/11 and the days thereafter.

          You state that you get your news from a variety of sources. But do you know that the deportation of illegal immigrants was way way way UP during the Obama years? And that, during Trump’s first year, a significant drop in deportations occurred?

          Did you know that illegal immigration into the US has been going down down down since 1990?

          Did you know that most of the children and babies torn from parents came not from people trying to emigrate illegally, but rather legally? Then the Trump administration decided that ALL immigrants should be treated like criminals. Then the administration decided on the breathtakingly inhumane act of ripping children and babies from parents and, in hundreds of cases, not even bothering with the paperwork of how to reunite these families. HOW can such inhumanity be rationalized?

          And how can brutalizing children and babies for the actions of their parents ever be rationalized? How can brutalizing children and babies for any reason be rationalized?

          You state that we are doing a piss-poor job of helping our native-born poor and underprivileged. On this we agree, but did you know that the GOP Congress has been focused on giving trillions in tax breaks to the most wealthy? And then cutting social programs which help our native-born poor and underprivileged?

          You seem to think that immigrants are, somehow, taking something from America when, in fact, recent immigrants to the US contribute billions to the national treasury.

          Did you know that even undocumented immigrants contribute? The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a report in 2016: “11 million illegal immigrants in the United States are paying annually an estimated amount of $11.6 billion in state and local taxes.”


          We have a lot of problems in America. But demonizing desperate people, and brutalizing children and babies, is solving nothing. Indeed, such policies have profoundly damaged our international standing and sickened tens of millions of people in America.

          Oh, and I have never watched The View, and loathe CNN.

          • From my Canadian perspective, I can only shake my head at those who embrace the aggressively inhumane policies of Trump and his reprobate advisers and GOP supporters.

            They are bereft of empathy and compassion, promoting instead policies borne from cruelty, racism, and vindictiveness.

            The current US administration is an abomination that sullies the international reputation of the US. I hope that the tide can be reversed come the November midterms.

            I have no doubt that Trump is someone would bulldoze a beautiful old restorable Victorian home and erect a tacky gold plated condo tower.He is soulless. Boo Trump!

          • In response to Travis’s comments. Kids are in cages because their parents brought them to America to seek asylum from their war-torn country or to get away from gangs and drug cartels. They entered illegally because the legal entry point was closed. Thanks to the Trump administration. They had no choice but to enter illegally after traveling hundreds of miles.

            And on another note, right now the avocado crop and many other fruit & vegetable crops are rotting in California because the undocumented workers that pick the crops have been deported. Americans will not take a job like that. What a shame, all that food gone to waste, with so many hungry people in our country.

            Ross, the house looks great, won’t be long before the NE corner is finished.

            [From Ross: Thank you, Cindy, for your humanity. It must also be pointed out that, every year, Trump hires non-Americans to work the season at Mar-a-Lago. He claims that no American citizens will work as hard and for so low of wages. His hypocrisy is breathtaking. And….he married TWO non-America-born women. Classic do as say not as I do.]

          • I’d rather read and comment about your work on the Cross House; there are plenty of sites dealing with politics already. I come here to get AWAY from that stuff! Kids were in cages under Obama, too… this policy is not new! Did you complain about it then? No? I didn’t think so. I don’t like it either, but at least recognize that this did not start with Trump. The country is divided enough as it is already without adding fuel to the fire.

          • You miss THE important difference.

            Obama put children, unaccompanied by a parent, who entered the US illegally, into holding facilities.

            Trump tore children and babies (babies!) away from parents and put them into holding facilities, no matter if they were entering the US illegally or to declare asylum.

      • Lets hope things change during the next election. I know you like Hillary, but personally I would like to see Bernie Sanders be president.

        • Hi, Elin!

          At first, I was intrigued by Bernie.

          Then I studied his long record in Congress. And found that he had very little to show for it. That was a warning sign.

          Then came the moment when, after railing and railing and railing about how terrible the big banks were, and that they should be broken up, he was asked in live TV how he planned to do that. He could not answer the question.

          Then I studied his environmental plans which were sophomoric as compared to the dazzling brilliance of Hillary’s environmental plans. The same for his plans to help single mothers and to help children. Just simplistic as compared to the amazing comprehensiness of Hillary’s plans. Bernie also largely ignored the issues facing black voters, unlike Hillary who, again, had comprehensive plans after working with the black community since the 1960s.

          Moroever, Hillary was astoundingly accomplished with, in just one example, having provided health care for 8 million children, an act she accomplished as First Lady. Nothing that Bernie has ever done can remotely compare.

  4. Those are such beautiful stories! I teared up and then wiped tears away. I have experiences like that as well or do the same such as returning too much money when cashier didn’t notice or pay for persons items if they were short.

    I love your anecdotes and the beautiful work!

    Reading your blog is such a blessing!

    Can’t wait to see what you do with the bathroom lighting fixture you bought.

  5. So glad to hear about your wonderful day and to see the crispyness of the Cross House!

    If you ever get a chance to see the Broadway musical Come From Away based on this same event please do. It’s on tour through the US right now and when I wasn’t laughing I was crying. It is fantastic!

    • OH, I didn’t spot that someone with the same name had commented before me, lol. Let the confusion begin! 😂 Jackie from the UK

  6. As always so much work involved before painting. Looks great! Seeing it completed will be a thrill.

  7. Hi Ross… I am a long time stalker on your site. I am so in love with what you have done. From a long time ago post, you mention a on-line drapery company that you like. what is the site? thanks Ken

  8. YOU, my friend, are a treasure!! Thank you for starting my Friday off on such a good and positive note!!

    Patty (Craig) Crespo

  9. If the Cross House could sing, the old girl would be doing a karaoke version of the 80s Heart song “Magic Man”, LOL : “…try, try, try to understand,
    he’s a magic man, he’s got the magic hands…”

  10. Awwww! I love this, I too got teary eyed. What a wonderful way to end a tiring day? I love and enjoy reading your posts. The book sounds great, I will have to read it.

  11. This long-time reader and proud Newfoundlander is glad that the story of our wonderful people and province could bolster your spirits. 🙂

    Keep up the amazing work Ross!

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