Author Archives: Devin Donnelly

About Devin Donnelly


Adventure day wouldn’t be the saga that is has grown to be without apocalyptic weather phenomena, spectacular car crashes, banquets of fried pig, and the fall of the entirety of Europe to Iceland. Our well-conceived plan, as all good intentioned meticulously configured Latitude 38 plans go, began to fall apart when the East Coast woke to find themselves buried in hundreds of millimeters of frozen hell. The switch boards lit up as, soon to be action hero, Jeff Erkelens phoned to confirm that he would be picking me up any minute. I attempted to persuade him, but the allure of trying out his new four wheel drive won the day.

After some time had passed and I was beginning to feel certain I would have to hitch my crew of snow dogs and set out in search. However, to my surprise, Jeff made it with only a few less horses in his windshield wiper motor. After the opening credits, we began our journey across Middle Earth. At the bottom of Whippoorwill Hollow, I commented to Jeff that, “this is where everyone gets stuck.” This statement is apparently the toggle switch on the universe for at the exact moment we began sliding sideways into a powdery ditch. Our attempts to rescue the car were thwarted as any attempt to escape were met with freezing, fluffy quicksand. On the bright side, Jeff managed to scrape clean enough road with his snow shovel to safely land a 747.

Eventually we both made it into town. The rest of the crew was already elbow deep in bacon and eggs supplied by Master Chef Joey. Breakfast bliss was broken with news that an entire redwood tree had fallen in the middle of the street and the Super Friends 38 would be required to clean it up. Jack and I took a stroll down the street in time to move a few twigs off the road, watch Jack fall in a snow puddle, and help save a car from an unscheduled trip to the IGA on its roof. Good deed for the day done, Eagle scouts returned to Latitude headquarters.

At that point, a heated discussion of the strategic disadvantages of Kamchatka began to take hold. Risk began, most of the crew left, having never rolled higher than a 2 in their lives. Tom stayed until he remembered he needed to wash his hair. Jack was next, after his triple front war fizzled in Great Britain. DeBellis surrendered as he was in a complete daze the whole game. He later reported that he had been smacked in the face by one of his “friends,” and ruptured his eardrum. This was not a Latitude 38 friend, we solve our differences with hugs. Game given to Jeff and I, we called a cease fire. The mere action of ending our war had the effect of parting the clouds and bringing warmth back to the Earth. The snow melted and Adventure day ended.

– Devin

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under roof…

It wasn’t quite an old fashioned barn raising with the compressor drowning out any neighborly conversations and the hydraulic lift dangling 150 pound roof trusses over our heads. With a crane operator who casually planned out his next adventure on the phone while simultaneously steering the crane with the unearthliness of Vishnu playing x box, we got the roof assembled with minimal stereotypical “construction workers standing around doing nothing” moments. The following day, we lofted the roof sheathing into place employing only the brute strength of some exceptionally exceptional builders. We rolled out the ice and water shield as if rolling out the red carpet for the rapidly setting sun. At the base of the scaffolding, we were met by the owners and a thank you loaf of pizza bread and Eight Point lager.


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In the White Rooms with No Curtains

I am acutely aware that I am dribbling drool into my paint cup. I slip in and out of consciousness, each time in a different room of the house, somehow having completed work and even eating lunch without the awareness of having done so.

Occasionally, while staring into the bright white of the painted wall, I will become disoriented as to the direction of the Earth’s pull and lose my balance. It can only be described as the sensation you would feel being deep in a cave in perfect dark, except it is perfect flat interior latex white.

I have had a few conversations with bugs, being very concerned of their well being surrounded by treacherously sticky paint. Of course, as soon as I blow the spider off the wall, undoubtedly saving his life, a fool gnat will fly onto the freshly rolled wall, becoming a permanent part of Riverbluff.

Another nuisance comes from the latex nature of the paint. If the paint tray is left unattended for any matter of time, a little bit of the paint will dry into what I have dubbed paint boogers. The roller picks up these paint boogers and then deposits them all over the wall, joining the gnats, creating a lovely lumpy texture.

I have nearly mastered my paint up, paint down technique which came in very handy when I was attacked by a gang of the Cobra Kai. In order to trim out the closets, one must contort one’s body into an “S” shape around the closet shelf while balanced on top of a ladder. At this point, I drop a drip of paint the infinitely far distance down to the floor. I can feel bulbs in my head popping. Therapy will fix me later. While some of this is based in experience, it should be noted that I do really enjoy painting, and there is nothing nicer looking than a fresh coat of paint.

(Editor’s note: We like to think Devin’s zen like stupor is due to the monotony of paint touch ups and not the fumes of the paint as we use no and low voc paints.  Completely unrelated: check out updated construction in progress photos of Riverbluff on the projects page.)

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