Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Decapitation Was Successful, and the Patient's Head Was Re-attached

Yesterday was a beautiful day, as pretty as today.  But today I woke up at peace, while yesterday was full of anxiety and dread.  Yesterday was the scheduled surgery.  It had never been done before- cutting into the smooth surface with a carbide tipped saw, and then attempting to re-attach the severed portion - like making a prostheses from an amputated limb.  No directions, not diagrams or drawings, no photos.

Ok, well maybe that is a little dramatic.  When we still had kids in the house and struggled to balance time and space, I found our oldest sleeping on a mattress on the floor - and not for just a night. For a lot of nights, and I felt like a terrible father.  I don't remember exactly what happened to his bed...... but he was sleeping on the floor.  And out of this came the 'Great Bed Building Project'. Talk about a project taking on a life of it's own.  I started building beds for all of the kids.  They would have six drawers under the mattress, and no springs....the mattress would lay on top of the bed.  The beds would have a head board that could be removed  so each child could have a night light, some books, or what ever treasures that they wanted to have and we would be able to move them from room to room.  I wanted them to be strong, so we built them from 5/8" oak veneer plywood.  They are strong, but they are really heavy and kind of clunky.  When you get all six drawers in there, and the teen agers fill them with rocks or other equally heavy treasures, they are really hard to move.

My dad rescued me in this project as it was way too big, and I had not enough time, money or space to complete it.  He built the beds for the girls, and I built the beds for the boys.  He had a nice big shop, and was retired and a master carpenter.  I had a little bitty shop, and little bitty budget and as my brother and dad agreed one time - they could always tell when I had worked on something as there was a nail bent over and hammered flat.

Although my skills have improved somewhat, and I didn't leave any nails bent over in these beds, you knew early on that the beds that he built were things of beauty, and mine were things of utility.  But, while Dad was good, he wasn't omniscient.  We built the beds too long to stand on end and pass through a standard doorway.

D3 was the first (and only so far) child to want her bed.  We were tickled to take it up to her, and using the combined muscle of a couple of sons-in-laws on weekend, we wrestled it out of the basement, up the stairs and into the waiting truck.  A quick run to SLC, more hired (ok, borrowed... but hired sounds cooler) muscle and we had it into the house, on end and were sliding it on the carpet towards the new "big girl bedroom" for M.  But it was too tall.  The door frame would clear 79-1/2", and if week took the door jam trim off, maybe 80-1/4".  But we needed about six inches more than that.  Hmmmmm...... tear up the door framing?  Cut up the bed......

In the end, we cut up the bed - yesterday- and re-attached it.  But I was really depressed  at the thought of cutting into the oak veneer,  cutting through all of the structural parts and then having a hope of putting it all back and making it strong.  The bed sat in the garage for about 6 weeks while I stewed and fretted, and blessedly, in the rush that was June, I had kind of forgot it - not really forgot, but tried darn hard to.  Then we got a call from D3 asking if we were still planning to come up on Pioneer Day weekend and work on the bed.  The moment of truth was coming.  Could the ham fisted wood butcher from the small obscure town really cut into the finely crafted furniture and lovingly made heirloom keepsake and come out with anything better than firewood?  I hate questions like than, especially when I have to ask them and have not got a good answer.

It was kind of one of those things that you dread more than you need to, but then once you have applied the saw to the wood - well, it is done.  Then there is no sense in worrying, because you can't ever go back.  In the end the operation was a success, and while the patient was never living, it can go on being a bed in an animated Disney-esque kind of way, and not end up warming a room for a night in a wood stove (not exactly going out in a blaze of  glory).  Also SIL3 and D3 can take it apart if and when they ever move, and know that it will probably fit in any house they buy or build.  So I guess the operation was a success.  I'm just glad it's done.  Happy Pioneer Day to one and all.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catching Up

After having so much fun with kids and grand kids I looked out my window, and what did I see?  Well, not popcorn that's for sure, but mostly weeds. 

Big gardens are a lot of fun to look at when a summer rain comes and we can sit outside on the glider and listen to the thunder and watch the rain and everything grow.  But we haven't had much rain except for the artificial kind and the weeds are doing really well.  That artificial rain works OK if your system is all 100%, but if it is only 80% or so, you are rather like a runner with a rock in his shoe and in a tight race.  You can still run but you are thinking about the rock, and altering your stride and not at your best.  We had a valve that for some reason, electrical or mechanical, would chatter and set up a really loud water hammer.  It isn't that hard of a job to change out a valve, but it takes an hour or so, and you have to have all of the tools and parts and I didn't.  So I have been watering the front system kind of by hand, off and on.  Sometimes we could go through the whole sequence and not have a hammer, but not too often.  But today I did get it changed.  I'm still behind as I wanted to change the oil in the truck and maybe one of the cars.  But I guess that will have to wait for another day.

Also, in things having to do with water, some of the plants in the garden has grown high enough and dense to  enough to block all the water from the rain birds or the oscillating sprinkler.  I raised these up on some cinder blocks, and wired them down tight.  Hoping that everything gets a little water now.

Annie is on vacation from Choir for a month or so.  The Days of '47 Pops Concert was last weekend, and it was a two night concert.  Plus a dress rehearsal practice on Thursday - that is a lot of driving and she is still tired a little from that.  She is not a girl to sit and watch the grass grow, or watch the paint dry.  She has dived back into some quilt projects that she feels are a little behind.  No rest I guess. 

Today it is a little rainy.  I'm trying an experiment - an adaptation of something that I saw on 'Barberque U' which I think I have watched only twice.  But I should watch it more I think.  In the show that I remember, they barbecued a turkey - whole.  My experience with grilling and barbecuing is that chicken never gets done without getting burnt.  But in the BBQ-U episode, they took a really big grill and put the coals around the edges, and the turkey in the middle with a pan underneath to catch the drips.  We have a gas grill, and no matter how low I turn it down to, I end up burning it.  So today I am trying charcoal grilling on the gas BBQ.  I have about 20 coals, and most of them are on a little tray that I made out of a #10 food storage can.  I left about a 1" lip around the bottom, and then cut some slits in the bottom with the side grinder (yes you should get one, even if you don't have a welder).  I put the chicken on the top shelf, but not over the coals.  It seems to be cooking very slowly, and I'm hoping it will get crisp and falling-off-the-bone done.  Rather than really crispy on the outside and tough and rubbery on the inside.

Well, I had better go.  Hope you are having a good day.