Monday, November 29, 2010

On a Train to London

I was 11.  My sister was 12.  We were on our way to London with my mother, a sort of "girl's only" excursion, leaving my four younger brothers and my father at home in Cheltenham that day.  We'd been living in England for more than a year at that point, and, as best I can recall, this was our first trip to sight-see in London.

English trains were different from the trains in the US.  Rather than seats all facing in one direction, each car being sort of like a bus, the English trains had compartments. Each seated, as I recall, six people.  Perhaps they were only meant for four, but regardless, Mom, Jeannie and I sat on one side facing the sole passenger seated on the other bench seat.  Now, in such close quarters, and without the "safety" of simply being able to stare at the back of another passenger's head, one tends to feel something akin to that of sharing an elevator ride with strangers.  When there is only one other passenger it seems even more uncomfortable.  Should I look at my shoes?  Should I look out the window?  Should I look at the outfit the other person is wearing? Should I pretend to read my book?

All of these options were considered as I sat in my seat, not really knowing the protocol.  But I noticed the other passenger kept staring at me, and at my Mom.  And I looked at Mom to see whether she was going to do something about this staring woman.  I was surprised to see Mom was staring back at this woman.  Both were exercising the "stare and look away" move, the one that is designed to avoid direct contact, while sizing up the other person.  So I watched them in this odd game of tag, until such time as the inevitable occurred.  They made eye contact.

I don't recall who spoke first, but the question was, "did you ever live in Cyprus?"  Well, to make a long story short, our compartment mate that day was my first teacher.  She taught me when I was 3-5 years old, living in Cyprus.  Naturally, the rest of our journey to London was spent catching each other up on the six years that had passed since last they'd known each other.  As a child, it was a memorable moment to me, though I do not exactly recall remembering this woman from when I was five.  Still, I thought it interesting that adults seemed so happy to see someone after such a long period.  In my world, I suppose, I did not yet dwell on the friends left behind as we moved to different countries to accommodate my father's career.  I guess I lived in the here and now.

Today, more than 40 years since that train ride, I had that feeling rush over me...that feeling my mother must have had when she had that chance encounter with my former teacher.  I returned from the pond house, where I had spent the afternoon cleaning up the yard, to find a message on my FaceBook account.  The message was entitled, "I Friend From Your Past."

Dad, Jeannie and I -- at the Airport, July 1968
Heading to England

Cheltenham, Gloc. circa 1969

The Everyman Theatre 1969

Dean Close -- 1969

Anna was one of my four best friends who lived in Cheltenham, on my block, during my years in England.  I met her when I was 10 and I moved away when I was 13.  We did not keep in touch, but I thought about her over the years.  When FaceBook opened the doors to many lost friends, I tried to find her.  As can be expected, maiden names are not always that useful in finding friends.  Add the less than unique first and last names, and it can be daunting to find an old friend.  I looked, but did not find Anna, or Simon, or Sarah.  I did find Michael, as he has a particularly unusual last name.

It seems that today Anna found Michael on FaceBook, and in looking through his friends, found me.  From there she also read some of my posts here on Blogspot and knew she'd found the right person, when she read a post describing "the wall" and "the willow tree" that were so much a part of our social life and development in those days.  And so she messaged me.

I now have enjoyed the wonderful experience my mother had that day, back in 1969, reconnecting with an old friend.  I understand it today, at age 52, as I could not possibly understand it at 11.  I'm glad I have the opportunity to catch up with her.  What a lovely day!

Approaching the Pond from the Path

Standing on the Dock, Looking toward the Dam

Empty Osprey Nest,
They Will Return Next Spring

Added for Sam -- Chico is in the middle of the picture
Taken back in the US
about a year after our return from England
Up close picture of Chico (for Sam)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Murph the Serf

Every year at Thanksgiving time I think about a guy I knew a long time ago.  I wrote about him in my post in February, 2007.  I thought it might be nice to post it again.  I learned something about myself from my interactions with this man.


When I was 21 I worked for an insurance company in Washington, D.C. It was a boring job, but made “fun” by one of the characters who worked with our group. Our task was to transfer paper files to microfiche. This was a boring, boring job and I was thankful that “Murph,” as he called himself, was on the team. He was an old guy (56) and we were mostly a young bunch.

Murph was quite a story teller. He regaled us with stories of his current living conditions. It seemed his wife had died the year prior and he now lived with his brother-in-law, George, George’s wife, Renee, and their pet poodle “Poopsie.” His tales were hilarious and he told them even as he performed his “verification” of the images on the microfiche. He was a good hard worker.

One Friday morning, Murph called into the office and let us know he would be late getting in. It was horrible weather, (tropical storm) and he arrived a couple of hours late, but, of course, armed with a tale of his trip in, taken by taxi. It was quite a delightful tale, and it included his “making up a song.” He sang the song for us.

“Everybody calls me mahva, mavha fahahahka..” were some of the words of his song.

That night, as the storm intensified, we lost power in my apartment building. I was hanging out in the dark when the phone rang. I answered and was greeted by a man singing, “Everybody calls me mahva, mavha fahahahka..” “Hi, Murph,” I said, without hesitation. “How did you know it was me?” he asked. I laughed and told him I thought that was pretty obvious. I asked why he was calling and he said he was drinking a gin and tonic and just wanted to see if there was anyone else alive in the world.

It sounded a little odd, but it was Murph, after all. So, I assured him there were others of us alive in the world and I would see him Saturday morning at work.

Saturday morning three of the four of us that were going to put in the extra time showed up. Murph did not. I told the others of the strange call the night before and they were concerned too. It was not like Murph not to show up. We did our work and left late in the afternoon.

On Monday, I arrived at work and again, no Murph. I was really getting concerned as was my buddy Dave. We decided to go up to personnel and ask them for Murph’s address. We thought we’d go check up on him. Well, clearly it was a different world back in 1979, but the personnel lady gave us the information we requested.

At lunchtime, Dave and I set out on foot to Murph’s address in Georgetown. We found the row house and we knocked on the door. No answer. We started asking people on the street if they knew him. Nobody did. We noticed a window in the top story was open and we tried yelling up to him. Still nothing.

So we did what any normal 21 and 22 year old would do. We walked to the police station and asked them to come and break the door down. We were certain Murph was up in his bed having suffered a heart attack or something. The police AGREED to come help us, and we rode back in the back of the police car.

When we got to the house, I noticed a different car was parked at the curb and suggested we knock again before trying forceful entry. Since it was my suggestion, I got to do the knocking. This time, my knock was rewarded with the door being opened by a gentleman, with a mouthful of sandwich and crumbs on his face. It was not Murph.

“Hi,” said I, “you must be George! I work with Murph and he has told us all about you. We are worried about him since he didn’t show up for work…” I stopped my rushed explanation of our purpose when I heard him say, “I’m Renee.” Hmmm, wasn’t expecting that!

Well, The long and short of our discovery that day was the George and Renee were too kindly, elderly gay men who shared their row house with their dog (not a poodle and not named Poopsie.) Murph, was, indeed, a friend, but he did not live there. In fact, Murph lived at the VA hospital….on the “mental ward.”

This was getting weird even for me! But as it turns out, it was the truth. Murph had been working for the four months I had known him, using day passes from the VA hospital to do so. That Friday, the day he arrived late to work, he had been released from the hospital. Nobody had seen him since that afternoon and I was the last to have spoken with him.

So it was that Dave and I set about hunting down this “friend” of ours. We spent our lunch hours walking the streets of DC, looking for Murph. On Thursday, we found him. He was drunk and disoriented and was wearing the same clothes I had seen him in on the previous Friday. He had been “living” on the streets.

Dave and I convinced him to come with us and ride the Metro back to my apartment, where we were preparing for our Friday night party anyway. Murph agreed and once back at the apartment (that I shared with my 16 year old brother, Ted, that summer) we dispatched Murph to the tub and instructed Ted to take Murph’s clothes to the laundry.

Murph ended up staying at my apartment for the next three months. Ted had returned home a couple of days after we found Murph, as it was the end of the summer and the start of his Junior year in high school. Murph took Ted’s room in my apartment. We never discussed his tall tales of his life that were pure fabrication. He returned to work, but not for long. As it turned out, Murph suffered from what they now call bi-polar disease. We knew it as manic-depressive. Eventually, Murph got so bad off, I had to readmit him to the VA hospital (no easy task, I can assure you.) That was the week of Thanksgiving.

I saw Murph twice more after that day. Once, about two weeks later, when I had just come out of recovery from surgery on my eye, I opened my good eye to see him standing in my hospital room. He had brought me a plant. To this day, I have no idea how he knew I’d even had to go into the hospital for this emergency surgery, but he had gotten a day pass and was my first visitor.

The second and last time I saw him, was the following March. As I sat in the break room with my co-workers, Murph appeared in the doorway. He was holding a very large package. From across the room he announced in his loud voice, “Judith, this is for you.” All I could think, as I took the package from him was, “I cannot open this here.” I had no idea what it would be, other than he told me it was a painting he’d done in his “therapy.”

When I got back to my apartment that afternoon, I unwrapped the brown paper from the painting and looked at my gift. On a white, stretched canvas, were straight lines. All lines were “painted” in bold, primary colors. The lines were painted every which way. The lines had been painted using a brush but also using a ruler. It was not an embarrassing painting, as I had feared, but it was a confusing one. I never hung the large painting. I just leaned it up against the wall.

I don’t know what became of the painting, or of Murph. I do know that he taught me a little something about the willingness to believe the “stories” others tell of their lives, past and present. And I do know that he introduced me to the reality that those who suffer from this particular mental disorder, can be witty, intelligent and engaging, even as they themselves are sinking into the mire of their illness.

I still think about my friend, who liked to introduce himself to others, “Jim Murphy, you can call me Murph, Murph the Serf, international jewel thief!”

One Good Eye

Last night I had an experience I have feared since I started driving.  I am thankful that this has happened only once in all those 35 years, but it was just as unpleasant as I anticipated it would be.  I had left, shortly before dusk to make my rounds to the pond house, the post office, the grocery store and back home.  All went perfectly well.  I did not encounter a mob of unruly shoppers in Wal-Mart or anything that Black Friday would suggest I should.

By the time I left the store, with the items I'd needed, it was dark.  My driving vision is especially iffy at night and I prefer not to do it if I can avoid it.  But last night I thought nothing of it, put my groceries in the trunk, and pulled out to drive the 15 miles back home.  Most of the trip is spent on a four lane road, with just enough traffic to be annoying, but not subject to traffic jams.

About three miles into my journey it happened.  I'm guessing it was an eyelash that decided at that moment to end its life by dropping into my eye -- my ONE good eye!  It hurt.  I tried to "look around" it, but my eye was handling the problem its own way, watering, and trying to close.  The net result of my blinking and my eye's natural response was that I was, for all intents and purposes, BLIND, driving 55 miles per hour down a dark highway.  My right eye tried to pitch in, but its attempts were feeble, offering me a kind of "kaleidoscope on a trampoline" experience, which left me increasingly nauseated.

I did the best I could, pulling off the road and sitting there for a few minutes while my eye continued its magic healing method.  I tried to speed things along with a quick and sturdy eye rub, but that proved only to aggravate the situation.  No, this was something I needed to let Mother Nature handle.  And she did.  Within five minutes, I was pulling back onto the highway, my eye still sore, and the feeling that the "thing" was still in there, but my vision sufficiently returned.

I recall when I first attempted to get my driver's license in Virginia, having moved here from Florida in 1988. "Look in the box and read the letters in the box," the lady instructed me as she turned off the view through my left eye, leaving only my feeble right eye to obey her command.  "There are no letters, or, for that matter, a box," I assured her, presuming she had forgotten to flip the box-o-letters into the lighted screen...I DID see the lighted screen.  "YOU ARE BLIND IN YOUR RIGHT EYE" she announced to the world...well, the world inside that little trailer which was the DMV in those days.  There was much ado about her not wanting to issue me a driver's license.  I asked, "how do one-eyed people get a driver's license."  She informed me they needed an extra on the right side door.  Well, I had that. But, I wondered, what would the extra mirror do for a person like me with no reasonable vision in my right eye?  Well, she could not answer that one...just knew it was the rule.  She begrudgingly issued my Virginia Operator's License.

I thought about that last night.  The extra side mirror did me absolutely no good when, in the dark, the eyelash fell.  I was also imagining the calls that would have soon been bringing the scanner to life, had I not pulled over immediately. "possible DUI, car all over the road..."  How many times I have heard that over the scanner, I cannot tell you, and I wonder now how many of those calls were about some pathetic one-eyed-woman with an eyelash in her eye!

Photo Taken in Poor Light Three Nights Ago....
Cannot Tell This Photo is of a Thermometer...
This is Similar to What I "saw" Last Night
with the Eyelash In my Eye

Friday, November 26, 2010

Miles of Smiles

If there is one way I will remember this Thanksgiving Day, it will be the beautiful smiles on the faces of those I love family.  Joe and I were the last to arrive at my sister's house in Maryland today.  In fact, by the time we arrived (one hour before the anticipated dinner hour) the good cheer, stories, laughter and mile-wide smiles were in full swing.

Judy and Joe Arrive -- Greeting Tim

Sisters -- Heather and Jillian
Chris and Kendra

I asked my niece, Alicia, how the "first annual turkey run" had gone, since it was my understanding this was to be the start of a new tradition for the family.  I had to laugh when she informed me it never happened, because,  "they all got interested in cutting down this big tree and now they are too tired to run."  I learned more about the tree-felling story later, and, though I am not completely clear on the details, it seems there was a dead cedar tree which, the family consensus deemed, was time to fell.  My brother Dan apparently cut the tree, and ALL of them helped try to bring the tree down.  I imagine they were eventually successful, though I never went out to see the now-fabled tree. I'm sure we will hear again the stories of my two nieces, assuring my brother and others that they were in no danger being in the path of the falling tree as they positioned themselves for a decent photo-op, and how my brother was insistent the tree WOULD indeed fall on them if they did not move....  all I know for sure is, the tree fell as Dan predicted it would and nobody was hurt.

My sister Jeannie and my sister-in-law Michelle carved the turkey and they, with the help of several of the "kids" (this is the first year that EVERYONE at the table was over 21) delivered all of the food to the table.  When the call went up that dinner was served, none of the 19 of us needed to be told twice.

Michelle and Jeannie, Consulting on the Bird Carving
Food to Table

We all made our way to the table, selecting our seats without any squabble, and awaited grace.  My niece, Alicia, offered the prayer of Thanksgiving this year, and then the clockwise food progression began... well, mostly clockwise... there are, apparently, a couple of definitions of "clockwise" because I was being delivered bowls of tasty goods from both directions, but I assure you, I did NOT complain.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Good Family, Good Food, Good Fun

The food was all good.  The conversations were fun and entertaining, but did not interfere with our successfully filling our bellies to that point just a wee bit beyond comfortable.  And when we'd finished eating, we talked some more, laughed some more, told more stories, groaned at Dad's (bad) puns, and generally had a good time.  There were the typical "after huge dinner" activities....

  • massages,

Alicia Giving Jillian a Massage
Dan, Massaging Michelle's Shoulders

  • book give-aways,
Jeannie Hands Out Books

  • dancing with the battery operated stuffed turkey,


  • the traditional family game of GOOF,

and more.  Before we knew it, it was time for desert and we started, once again, down that path of "eat 'til you bust."  I, personally, tried a little of EVERYTHING served, and to be honest I still cannot recall the names of some of the deserts I tasted... I DO know, they were all delicious!

Finally, with a three hour drive ahead of us, we said goodbye to all and there were hugs all around. 19 people each hugging 18 other people is an amazing sort of "hug fest."  Without a doubt, my nephew Richard holds the first prize for the biggest, "bust your rib cage" hugs!  Always makes me laugh.

Richard... Champion Hugger

Three hours later, Joe and I rolled into our driveway.  As we relaxed from a lovely Thanksgiving celebration, we looked at the 300 photos we'd taken.  Smiles, miles and miles of smiles.... smiles from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Missouri, and Virginia....  the only smiles missing were of my brother and his family in California.... they could not join us this year, but we did a short "group" phone call ... so at least we got to "hear" their smiles.

Alicia and Jillian
Benoit and Dan
Pile O' Cousins
Dan, Joe, and Tim
Jodi, Mike, Kendra, Chris and Alicia

Yes, it is the everyday things for which I am most thankful. The hugs, the crazy stories, the comfortable "togetherness."  But above all... those smiles.

Jenn and Alicia

Jenn and Heather
Miles of Smiles

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And to the Patient

Well, no, I am not particularly patient.  I am resigned to the fact that things always will take longer than I'd like, but I don't believe that is the legitimate definition of "patient." And when things aren't moving along quickly enough for me, I tend to find "other things" to do.  So it was that, with the no-shows this weekend, I found myself once again perusing the listings on Craigslist... looking for items we might be able to use here at the old farmhouse.  I found a listing for an old set of deck stairs with landing... the price was right and I figured it was something we could use around here.  I made the inquiry to the seller yesterday morning.

I find there is another "truism" in my life.  As soon as I give up and turn my focus onto something new, the thing I was resigned would never happen, starts to happen.  Sure enough, yesterday, just after the moon took over for the sun, our carpenter dude arrived, ready to start on the semi-trailer side door installation.  He and Joe worked for several hours, and when he left, promising to return tonight to finish the installation, the tarped hole in the side of the semi-trailer gave me a lot better outlook on the week.

Cutting Hole for Door
Hole in Side of Semi Trailer
Tarped View Following Morning

As agreed, we set out just before noon today to make the 80 mile round trip to pick up the deck stairs.  For a few moments we weighed the wisdom of leaving, when guy number two, who'd failed to show last week, was supposed to show up THIS afternoon to complete the chimney cleaning, chimney cap installation and wood stove insert installation in the old farmhouse. But, we reasoned, we were tired of wasting all of OUR time waiting for others to show up.  If he did arrive before we returned, he could start without us.  He knew what was to be accomplished.

The seller of the old deck stairs was very nice, and true to form, we left with MORE than we'd originally bargained for.  Along with the stairs we had a small load of firewood, three marble slabs, and several odd pieces of plywood and boards.  We had an enjoyable time chatting with the seller, and she promised to let us know before she lists stuff on Craigslist, if she thinks we might be interested in it. She refused to take more than the $25 she'd asked for the stairs... said we were doing them a favor taking the other stuff.

On the way back home, Joe pulled into the driveway of a service garage.  He'd seen a row of barrels outside and, always on the hunt for "burn barrels," wanted to see whether the guy had some for sale.  As it turned out, the guy GAVE him the only two he was not using for old oil.  Joe was thrilled and loaded the two barrels and the metal bucket this guy gave him onto the trailer.  Suffice to say, we made another decent haul.
Joe Loading Another Haul

Sure enough, when we pulled up to the old farmhouse, the chimney guy and his helper were there, just setting up.  Within minutes they discovered the chimney cap they'd brought was the wrong size, so, with the afternoon light in distinct jeopardy, I headed off to Home Depot to try to find the right size.  Thankfully, they had ONE available, which I purchased.  An hour after I left the old farmhouse, I was pulling back into the driveway with the chimney cap.  By this time they had cleaned the chimney and had very nearly completed the wood stove insert installation.  With less than 20 minutes of dusk left, they managed to get that chimney cap installed.
Chimney Sweep
Wood Stove Insert Installation -- No Floor in Farmhouse

It was dark by the time they left, and, since the carpenter dude had not yet arrived to complete the semi-trailer door installation, I thought this might be a good time for us to eat our first meal of the day....nearly 6PM.  Of course, just as the food was ready to serve, the crunch of gravel in the driveway announced the arrival of carpenter dude.  Joe helped him get started and then we ate.  Afterward, the two of them worked to successfully complete the installation!  Carpenter dude will return Sunday to complete another landing and set of stairs for the semi-trailer's new side door.
Almost Done

Finally, finally, we are seeing the results we wanted.  Joe will install the windows in the semi-trailer himself, so soon, we will  have that project completed and the trailer fully functioning as a storage shed.  Then there will be only 999,999 projects left to complete!

As my one-time-mother-in-law Dot used to say, "patience is a virtue.... of which I have NONE!"  Thank goodness there are so  many other things to do, so I don't have to actually LEARN to be patient!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Excuse Number 85

Well, as might have been predicted, the side door in the semi trailer did NOT happen today.  The carpenter dude was supposed to be here "bright and early," to get started.  Suffice to say, when I returned from church, there was no carpenter dude.  Rather, there was a resigned Joe, working in the trailer, getting ready for the carpenter dude who had called, promised to be here at noon, apologized for being late BUT.....
and here came the excuse for not living up to "the deal."

This week alone we have endured similar excuses from not one, not two, but THREE would-be workers, guys who we are employing to do work here.  The first was supposed to show up Friday to help Joe clean the chimney in the old farmhouse, and install the wood stove insert.... it was originally set for Wednesday, but he called, and changed it to Friday... at around 4PM Friday, he called to say he would have to postpone until Tuesday...  And yes he had an "excuse."  (I've lost track what this excuse was.)

The second was supposed to deliver a load of firewood on Saturday.  He was to call in the morning to confirm delivery time in the afternoon.... he never called... he never showed....

And today, this carpenter dude had,
  • dropped his cell phone in a puddle
  • was getting a new puppy
Now HOW those two things constituted a  failure to show for the agreed-to job at the agreed-to time, I have no idea.  It was approaching 3PM before he rolled into the driveway.  He then spent the next hour telling Joe (I was too ticked to listen) his trials and tribulations.  The bottom line?  Well, MAYBE he will return to do the job over the next three  nights... we shall see.

I guess I expect folks to show up when they agree to, and to perform the job they agreed to.  I can understand everyone has "life" happen, and hence the excuses, but GEEZ LOUISE, three in three days?

Planting "Twigs" -- Pruned from Some
Guy's Pear and Apple Trees in September
Never mind. Joe and I had stuff we could tend to today anyway.  I worked more on my eBay trailer and Joe worked on getting the "sticks" planted.  Our great "fruit trees from prunings"  experiment is officially underway.  The little make-shift greenhouse is filled pretty much to capacity, and is maintaining a decent temperature, even on these colder nights.  We'll have to see how well it works when we dip into the teens, but hopefully, that is still a long way off!
Many of the "twigs" already leafed and blossomed...
this one looks like an established tree
The Makeshift Greenhouse is Filling Up
Judy, Taking Killian out for a Change of Scenery
More Merchandise to Load the eBay Trailer Shelves

Overall, the weekend was a good one.  I have made quite a few sales on eBay this weekend, which is always a welcome sight.  The weather was truly delightful, and tonight, though I did not manage to capture a picture of it, the moon was full and shining bright in the black sky.   In the next few days, I will be enjoying time off from work, and just piddling here around the old farmhouse.  Maybe, just maybe, the wood stove insert WILL get installed on Tuesday.  And maybe, just maybe, the door will get installed in the side of the semi trailer and the stairs and landing built to access it.  And for SURE we will be cutting and splitting more fire wood to keep the wood stoves burning!

Another Fire in the Wood Stove

I am really looking forward to Thursday when we will travel to Maryland to share Thanksgiving dinner with family.  My brother Tim is actually coming up from Florida to join us, which is particularly awesome.  I don't get to see him nearly enough.  Unfortunately, I doubt my brother Ray and his family will make it, as they live in California. But at least we did just get to see them twice when we were in San Diego last month.  Still, the table will be filled to overflowing at my sister's house, and we will, I am sure, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

So, tomorrow is another day and I suppose another opportunity for what, excuse number 85?  Hah!  I hope not!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mother May I

I don't know whether this happens to anyone else, but certainly around here, working on projects is like a gigantic game of "Mother May I?"  Did anyone else play that game as a child?  Was there even a POINT to that game, except to provide us a glimpse into the reality of life?  As I recall, someone was "Mother" and the rest of the "players" occupied themselves with repeatedly asking the "Mother" whether they could take one step forward., or one GIANT step forward, or whatever, but if they forgot to say the magic words, "Mother May I," they were required to take two steps BACKWARD and further delay their successfully reaching "Mother," and taking over the role.  So too, apparently, if we don't step JUST correctly around here, we end up moving two steps backward for every step of progress forward.

Today's special chore was one of those two-step backwards chores.  The semi trailer we'd purchased at the end of the summer, and which we are using for storage, has a couple of issues.  The huge, heavy back door is the older style, relying on hinges and cables to role it up and pull it down.  The day the trailer was delivered, the guy selling it to us opened the door and one of the cables broke.  He apologized profusely, and assured Joe that if he lubricated the track, he'd be able to still raise and lower the door.  It was heavy, but it worked that way until Tuesday. While I was working in Maryland this week, Joe was working around the old farmhouse, getting the million and one project whittled down, one by one. He went to close that semi trailer door and several hinges gave way, rendering the door essentially useless, stuck in the more-closed-than-open position.

Stuck Open
For the next few days, because there were other, more important chores to complete, the open door was simply tarped against rain and such.  Today, a beautiful Autumn day, was the day we tackled the "fix."  Joe's fix involved using lots of drill bits, nuts, bolts, washers and wood, and a notched trowel. Standing on ladders on either side of the infirm door, we worked to reengage the old hinges, and to create a new "handle" with which to open the door from the inside.

Old Farmhouse in Autumn
Tools for the Job
While we worked, the tape player in the trailer was playing the recordings one of our first "jam" sessions.  It was amusing to listen to us learning to actually make music together--Joe playing the accordion and I playing the guitar, and both of us singing, old songs, songs we both knew, some better than others. And so, this afternoon as we worked, I sang along with our tape, the old fashioned kind, played an an old fashioned tape player, and thoroughly enjoyed again those songs, "Green Green Grass of Home," "Unchained Melody," and more.  These songs we still play today, though we have mostly figured out the chords by now!

It was a truly pleasant afternoon and when we finished, the door which previously had to remain open when we were inside, because there was no handle with which to close it, now sported a notched edged trowel for a handle! (Did I mention Joe is a recycler of EVERYTHING?) And the door does, once again, open and close.  We still have to reinstall the cable, but we are waiting for help from a guy who apparently actually knows what he is doing in that department... he should be here to help on Tuesday.

New Bolts, New Handle
Clever Handle, Huh?
Interior of Semi Trailer / Storage Shed
Success-- Door Goes Up!
Success -- Door Closes!
I spent a little more time getting my eBay merchandise onto the shelves in the eBay trailer, as afternoon was giving way to night.  On the radio in the eBay trailer I was treated to what must be a nightly offering of "Play that Funky Music, White Boy."  I laughed as I resolved (again) to NEVER try to play that one on the guitar! I still remember when that song was popular, the beginning of my senior year in high school.  I wondered why then, and I wonder why today!

Inventory Filling Shelves
Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, our carpenter helper will be installing a side door on the semi trailer. I wonder if it will be another Mother May I moment, or whether this one will just be a single, successful, GIANT STEP FORWARD.... for if it is a success tomorrow, we should be able to really move quickly on completing the move of boxes from the garage into their new home, thereby freeing up the garage for ITS next project!  For tonight, it was nice to just come inside, relax and eat a nice bowl of soup that had been cooking in the crock pot all day... another lovely autumn day in these parts of Virginia.

Autumn Moon