Friday, October 21, 2016

More memories ...

More memories ... from my mom's photo collection...

This is an undated modern copy of an older photo; I don't have the original.  In my mom's writing on the back: “Aunt Mattie”; someone my mom mentioned often, but whom I don't recall ever meeting.

This photo is also undated, but it's an original; looks like it was taken with an old Brownie or the equivalent (from the square aspect ratio).  My parents owned an actual Brownie when I was young, so I'm guessing that's what took this.  There's no note on the photo, but from the knotty pine paneling and the bed, this must be the bedroom that my brother Scott and I shared as kids – and that's Scott in the photo.  He looks to be about 3 or 4, so this must have been taken '56 or '57.  I don't remember the stuffed dog at all.

Now here's a real mystery.  I found this photo buried amongst a bunch of family photos.  There's no note on the back, and it's undated; it's an original printed on old-fashioned thin high-gloss photo paper.  I don't recognize the location at all.  Someone's shoulder is partly obscuring the peacock, but I've no idea who that might be.  I especially don't know why my mom decided to save this one!

This is another undated modern copy of an older photo that I don't have.  My mom wrote on the back:
Family Picnic
Ralph - Lillian - Pat Paterson - Marilyn - Ralph - Mom's cousin (don't remember her name) Buster + Mom
This annotation isn't as much help as it might have been, as her sequencing is a bit ambiguous! :)  I'm guessing that it's clockwise starting with the young man at the lower left.  That's certainly her mom (my grandmother) at the lower right.   I like the eclectic collection of chairs they assembled. :)  I can't tell where this is.  My grandmother's appearance is a bit hard to make out, as the photo is of pretty poor quality – but she looks roughly like my earliest memories of her, which would put this around the early '50s.

Like the preceding photo, this is an undated modern copy of an older photo that I don't have.  In my mom's handwriting on the back: “Mom + Paul Jay”.  I sure wish I knew who Paul Jay was!  That's my grandmother on the left, looking like she's about to whack Paul Jay over the head with a shovel or something.  He's doing something with bricks – perhaps he was a mason?  He must have thick calluses to be handling bricks like that, without gloves.  He's puffing on a big old stogie.  Nothing about the scene looks familiar.

Finally, here's one last undated modern copy of an old photo I don't have.  In my mom's handwriting on the back: “Bonnie”.  That would be her sister (my aunt) Bonnie, and at a very tender age.  Sure wish this was dated!  The other things in the photo sure look old-fashioned, don't they?

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Yesterday was another very busy day.  I was really tired by the time I went to bed!

I've finished the fireplace door mortaring.  The first step was to mask off all the beautiful hammered steel.  The first photo below shows that process underway.  It involved most of a roll of duct tape, a few square feet of polyethylene film, a pocket knife, and a few bruised knuckles. :)  The second step can't be seen in the photos.  It involved cutting up pieces of 1/2" hardware cloth to make “armatures” that I could place mortar on.  An aside: when I went to our local hardware store to buy the hardware cloth, I couldn't find it.  So I asked a store employee – an older fellow who specializes in hardware – and he had never heard of hardware cloth!  So I described it for him, and then he led me right to it.  His face, when he saw the roll was labeled “hardware cloth” was absolutely priceless! :)  I needed these armatures because in several places I had 1" or larger gaps, too big to slop mortar into without something to support it.  The third step was to actually place the mortar.  This I did by mixing small batches (a few pounds at a time) of relatively stiff mortar, and then making little balls in my gloved hands and shoving them into place.  I have much more control with my fingers than with a tool; this worked really well.  I could squish mortar into some fairly small crevices this way.  Once I got enough mortar into any given location, I used a finger to smooth it out and leave a rough-finished texture (like the rest of our fireplace).  Finally there was the cleanup.  The photo at right below shows the aftermath of that, along with the primary tools: a bowl of water and some rags.  Much elbow grease was involved in this operation!  This afternoon, after 24 hours of curing, I'll be removing the masking – and we'll know whether to celebrate or cry. :)

Our builder showed up yesterday morning around 9 am, far earlier than we were expecting him.  On talking with him, I discovered that the inspector was due at 10 am, and he had a few things to do before the inspector showed up.  Construction inspections around here work just a tad differently than they did in California.  For starters, instead of a busload of inspectors (one for each construction specialty), here there is just one.  Really – just one, responsible for inspecting every aspect of the construction.  Secondly, the inspectors here are not at all adversarial – they take their job seriously, but the goal is quality construction, not obstruction as certainly seemed to be the case in California.  They use their judgment a lot here, which is quite refreshing after my experiences in California.  But nevertheless, I was a little anxious about this inspection, because my electrical work was going be inspected along with all the work that our builder did.  I have zero knowledge of the electrical code up here, but I do understand electricity.  I needn't have worried.  The inspector took a quick look at my work, asked a few questions about my relay box (something he'd never seen before), and then pronounced it all just fine.  Whew!  He found no problems with anything else, either – our sun room and our mud room are both good to go.  The photo at right shows our mud room as of yesterday morning.  There's now one additional white plate just above the arched window, for the motion sensor.  I've also fixed all the wiring that the builder had to remove in order to fit the arch into place.