My Workbench, Kids, and a Dead Chicken

Hi everyone. I trust that none of you have been concerned about my absence, thinking maybe my advance age is the cause. That’s not it, at all. Though the ‘advanced age’ part is a daily issue, you shouldn’t worry about me. It happens to all of us … we age, we get some incredible wrinkles, our skin loses it’s elasticity then we shrivel up and die. Unless, of course, we have a chance encounter with a Tri-Met bus, or a semi truck, or just some schmuck who decided to spend too much time in a bar and had to rush home to beat his wife, killing you along the way. Or, you happen to be in close proximity of someone who wishes to kill themselves, and everyone in his or her vicinity, in the name of all that’s holy. It happens every day and, I suspect, will continue happening till the end of time. People are also killed every day in seemingly innocent accidents … they just happen. No apparent rhyme, or reason, they just happen.

I believe, however, that everything happens for a reason. We just have to be patient and wait a while to see what the reason is. Sometimes it takes so long that we forget the association between the event and the reason.

I don’t worry about those things. Whatever happens, happens. That’s why I’m seemingly careless in pretty much everything I do but that’s because those observing my activities have dissimilar thoughts of what constitutes careless behavior. There should be a standard of careless activity to which everyone can be held accountable instead of leaving it up to individuals to make the call.

The past few days have been filled with tasks that, once again, reaffirmed my appreciation of all that she does. That’s because she went out and caught a cold, probably from Jeran, and it really drug her down. She’s been through three boxes of kleenex so far and the she’s not done. She’s better, but not much. Not a lot of coughing, just a lot of draining. I always find it truly amazing how much mucous a body can produce in a short time. Anyway, so I’ve been taking care of her, as best I can, as well as continuing with my woodworking efforts with the baseboards. I’m ready to move into the living room area, now. Doing this serves a couple of purposes … it keeps me out of Diane’s hair, and it keeps me away from all the germs clinging to her body. So far it’s working and I have been spared, but I fear it won’t last long. I’m bound to catch something.

While working on the baseboards, I decided to dismantle my workbench. Not the entire thing, just half of it. I couldn’t do it all because I needed a large horizontal surface on which to stack everything from the part I took apart. My plan is to lower the working surface to a more manageable, for me,  36 inches from its current height. For me, that’s just below my nipples, too high to make it comfortable. It will be different for everyone because no one’s nipples are the same height above the floor. Also, as we age, they actually get closer to the floor. We all know that’s true.

At this time, I have the dismantled side pretty much clean, and yesterday I cut out six pieces of 3/4″ plywood which will serve as supports for the new work surface. Each piece is 29 3/4″ x 35 3/4″ and I cut them all from the same piece of plywood. If you do the math you will discover that the original piece of plywood was a bit larger than the more common 4×8 foot sheet. It was, in fact, 5 x 9 feet and it was once the playing surface of a ping-pong table used by the previous occupants. They left it when they moved, probably because the lone occupant was moving to a smaller facility and she had no future desires to play ping-pong. So, I’ve had it stored, on edge, next to the basement stairs for the past 5-6 years. Amazingly, it’s still straight and true.

Cutting proved to be a little problematically because I didn’t have the space to whack it up, and it was far too large for my table saw which made it unnecessary for me to remove all the clutter stored thereon. Plan B turned out to be my handy-dandy B&D jig saw which allowed me to take it apart one piece at a time. I drug the large piece of plywood as close to my shop area as possible then drew random lines on it approximating the six pieces I ultimately obtained from it. Knowing the approximating wasn’t the right thing to do, I got my tape measure and drew nice straight lines … One in the middle across the long way at 30″, and two others for the short side cuts marked at 36″ intervals. In a perfect world that would have resulted in 6 almost perfect 30″ x 36″ pieces. Using a jigsaw to make the cuts, however, doesn’t result in perfect cuts.

After squaring up the pieces, as best I could, I wound up with six 29 1/4″ x 35 3/4″ pieces. I find that remarkable. I also was amazed that they are all within 1/16″ of being square and the same size. A few skinny shims here and there and I’m good. Now all I have to do is decide how many draws and sliding shelves I want so I can finish it, load it, and move on to the other half. Since I don’t have another giant piece of plywood, I’ll have to procure some normal size pieces and make them work.

It’s 1406 in the afternoon and I’m still in my jammies. So is Diane. I’m cooking a chicken so I can make some soup for later, then I’m going to watch Lydia play a basketball game against Silverton. She’s still on the JV team, but rumor has it she will be called up to varsity for the next game. It’s interesting because basketball isn’t her favorite thing to do. She has mixed emotions about the move but we all know she will give it her absolute best effort.

The other day I picked Jeran up from school because Jennifer couldn’t get away from work. When I got him home it was just him and me so we played the piano. He’s been taking lessons for about a year and he’s doing real well. I got to hear his next recital piece, then we messed around playing duets like Chopsticks, and a couple of others I remembered. He’s a quick learner and really enjoys it. The piano he’s using is pretty pitiful, but he doesn’t mind. We got it from a yard sale for $50. I suspect he’s hammered all the spiders, that were living in it, to smithereens so they are no longer a problem.

Now I must desert my bride, who is reviewing one of the many stacks of magazines she’s been saving for moments just like this, crossing her name off the labels in preparation for delivery to the local emergency room and various doctor’s offices in the area. Because of her contributions, many of the doctors have cancelled their own subscriptions. We’ve had threatening phone calls from Publisher’s Clearing House demanding that we cease and desist this practice, but we won’t. That’s a lie, of course. PCH has never called us even once.

Now I must quit and move on to the dead chicken in the boiling pot. It’s been there long enough that I should be able to just pluck out the bones and add the noodles.

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