July 31, 2011
As we settled into our hostel bunks for the night, I realized that I found “home” rather cute really. I considered straightening things up for aesthetic, photographic, purposes, but then decided against it. So here we are, my folks and I bunking up as we wander through Europe in a decidedly unstructured and, I think, unconventional, manner :-)
July 29, 2011
How could I resist? There could not have been a more perfect setting for yet another “foot photo”: a children’s park with a sign inviting young ones to take off their shoes and enjoy the sensory experience . . . the actuality of a long-awaited and much-anticipated family gathering . . . a leisurely after-dinner stroll . . . and, of course, yet another continent in which I find my feet not-quite-firmly planted. Even my sister, who did the honour of snapping this shot, knew before taking the camera that it was definitely time for one more in the foot-photo series :-)
July 27, 2011
What is one to do when there is one day only in which to enjoy anything Western-hemisphere-centric? I think I did it decently well today: Cooking Oma’s dumpling recipe in GramB’s kitchen. Travel talk with my grandparents. An evening outing with a dear old friend. And now, one last look at the nighttime view from high on the ridge, where my grandparents’ home looks out over the city lights.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget: a trip to the best local coffee bean roaster I know, to get some of today’s roast “to go.” I did find it amusing to see the display in the shop, of the bags displaying respective bean countries of origin. Fitting because of my recent flag posts, and the way these international sacs are parallel reminders of places to go, people to see . . . cups of coffee to be enjoyed :-)
July 24, 2011
July 22, 2011
At the worksite today I had some unfortunate news broken to me concerning the kitchen cabinets I have been painting. So I consoled myself by playing with putty. My putty-playing skills were congratulated by my grandfather but I think he might be biased :-) Here is the beginning of the job, as I watched the pro before taking on the job . . .
July 19, 2011
It was a moment to make Do-It-Yourselfers everywhere proud. Being the extreme DIY-er that he is, PaCharley was determined to install the necessary new window without outside help. So yesterday we took the measurements, intending to order the proper size this morning, in advance of an anticipated 10-day ordering span. But this morning, he was amazed to learn that the shop actually had the needed size in stock. So a quick pulling out of the old one ensued, and a speedy rallying of the “troops.” This afternoon we stood there, PaCharley on the left side, my great uncle on the right, my grandmother on the inside, and me on the outside. “I hope it’s the right size,” PaCharley commented. “Charley,” GramBea scolded, “don’t you dare say that–of course it’s the right size!” We figured out logistics as best as we could, hefted that window up, and eased it into position. It seemed to fit. GramBea sighed audibly. PaCharley grunted in satisfaction and grabbed the leveler, showing us all the centered bubble. “But, PaCharley,” I interjected, “it’s level side to side, sure–but not top to bottom. Turn it on its side.” I was right, having noticed the slant towards my feet when I looked down. Sure enough, the leveler betrayed the uneven settling of the window. We stared at each other with looks of “What now?” clearly running though our heat-muddled minds. PaCharley then offered that he could probably get the extra beam out from the bottom of the frame. We all saw then that an added beam was slid in there. With the crowbar and a hammer, he slid the beam out to reveal the original slot for a window to sit in. I audibly wondered why an extra beam had been there to begin with. PaCharley shrugged in that way he does when there’s no point explaining all the reasoning behind his modus operandi. Sometimes, what works just, well, works.
At any rate, we now had renewed hope that the window would slide all the way in. We paused for a breath, counted out a lift, and hoisted that window on up again. It slid in beautifully. “Quick,” GramBea hollered, “Screw it in!” We were all eager to see the window secured in place by this point. So now it sets, levelly screwed in . . . a few telltale smudges and handprints from the hands and heads involved in the activity. But even those proud “battle scars” will soon be gone and it will be just another normal front porch window.
Admiring our handiwork then, GramBea turned to me. “I can’t believe you knew what the problem was!” “Well,” PaCharley commented, “she does have a Masters degree.” GramBea huffed, “Sure, but not in house-building!” We all laughed then, and returned to admiring that “normal” window.
July 17, 2011
As I carried on with cabinet-painting this afternoon, I thought about how much I like them. They are nothing to . . . write home about [:-)], but nice in a simple, solid sort of way. A few days ago my grandfather mentioned a small fact about these cabinets that made me not so surprised about how much I like them: turns out they were built by his brother-in-law, in 1960. And I had also forgotten the history behind this place that is now, unfortunately, a not-so-pleasant rental property: it was actually built by my grandfather’s uncle. The history behind homes and landscapes is always bittersweet when time has not been so kind to the location . . .
July 15, 2011
When I asked PaCharley for a bucket this afternoon, ready to mop the [un-tiled] floors, he paused for a moment then said he did. “But you have to promise you won’t laugh,” he added. I made no promises. We walked to the utility closet and he handed me the most lovely-hued mop bucket I’ve ever had the privilege of using. I held the bucket up to my conveniently matching pink t-shirt. And I laughed :-)
July 12, 2011
As the evening light faded yesterday, my grandfather walked in from the office to look for me. “Hey, do you have a second to come look at something?” he asked. I pulled myself away from my highly urgent TV remote fiddlings, and walked out with him. “The strangest thing,” he began. “Which direction does the sun set in?” I repeated to myself my memory tool, . . . rises in the East and sets in the West, and proudly announced, “West!”
“Well,” he continued, raising his hand to point to the Eastern horizon, “What do you make of that!?!” There in the East, with no tell-tale sun lingering in the West to tell any different, was the most blazingly beautiful “sunset” you could imagine. But of course, you don’t have to just imagine it, do you? That’s what I’m here for :-)