Friday, June 30, 2017

A New Favorite Picture

After scanning some more pictures that my grandparents found, I have finally been able to spend some time organizing and processing some of them. For processing, I mostly just straighten them up, crop off the borders and adjust the contrast a bit to account for many years of degrading in a box. This has to be my favorite of them all.

The blurry fellow on the left who evidently couldn't sit still for the picture is my grandfather, the same one that just moved up from Florida into a retirement facility here in town. Guessing that he might be ten or so at the time of this picture, that would place it sometime in the late 1930's. Going clockwise, the next fellow is my great uncle (grandpa's brother) who died a few years ago and whom I have written about on this blog quite often. Next to him is my second great grandmother who owned the watch that I recently blogged about after remarrying her husband for the second time. She is also the painter of a picture that now adorns the wall above our piano and is of her family's journey to America and shipwreck off the coast of Maine in the 1700's. The family survived the shipwreck and thus I exist, one of many close calls found in my family tree.

Next to her is my great grandmother who lived long enough that I have many many great memories of her. She taught me how to gamble among other things. Her husband sits at the far end of the table and is my great grandfather. Although I have memories of him as well, they are all after his stroke robbed him of his ability to walk and talk. My memories of him are mostly of the nursing home and the green gumdrops that he loved to eat.

The next lady is my great grandfather's sister and is someone who is shrouded in the mysteries that my grandparents seem to weave. My grandparents aren't trying to lie but they don't always get the facts right with their stories. In fact, they are often flat out wrong. She died three years after my great grandfather but I have no memories of her. According to my grandparents, she remarried five times (said with great disdain) though I can only find records of three. I think from the pictures and records I have seen, she left home at an early age to live, marry (at least three times) and die out west away from the rest of the family and this rubbed some in the family the wrong way. I have written about her traveling as a single lady by ship to distant shores so she must have been an adventurous sort, which also clashes with many of my conservative family.

Next to her is husband number two according to my records. Next to him is my 2nd great grandfather who was the son of my immigrant ancestor on this line in my family tree. His father came from Germany and learned the leather goods trade and was at one point, a rival to Ulysses Grant in the same trade and same town for a number of years. He had a large family here in the states but an epidemic would take five of his children and his wife in the space of three months just leaving behind my 2nd great grandfather and one brother, yet another brush of my existence in my family tree.

I love this picture because it has three generations of my ancestors all in one spot and clearly shows them in prosperous happy times. It is also special because my link to this picture is still alive and living across town which gives it a deeper connection to me than it otherwise would. It will be a picture that I treasure and hope to pass on to my grandkids someday providing them with a personal link to it as well.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Can't Buy a Rain

We can't seem to buy a rain here. I'm not sure where that phrase comes from but it is one in situations like ours. All spring and summer long, storm after storm has approached our town only to split and go on either side or peter out on the edge of town. You can literally go about 5 miles north and they have plenty of moisture. To the south is dry but not nearly as dry as we are since they have gotten several rains that we haven't. At the last check, we were down 3.5 inches below normal just for this month.

Last week my trees that I planted two years ago were starting to suffer so I showed them mercy by carrying each of them a five gallon bucket full of water. Those that have seen my lawn, know that it is almost straight up and down so lugging two buckets full of water back and forth is quite taxing work. But an hour after I poured the water around the trees, they had perked up again so I know they were thanking me.

This week, we had three chances for storms. In fact, it was so serious looking that we have been under a flood watch the entire time. Storm one came raging across the plains and petered out just as it hit town leaving behind slightly less than 0.1 inch of rain. We have cracks in our lawn going down more than a foot deep and the top inch is nothing more than powder. When you get so little rain, the top quarter inch soaks it up entirely and then evaporates under the sun less than a couple hours later.

Last night we thought perhaps we might be the problem and with the kids off with my parents for the week, we set off for the urban jungle for a sushi fix. We got to the urban jungle right before the skies cut loose. It rained so hard and so much that cars were bobbing in the streets and then it hailed on them for good measure. We had driven our van which got pounded several weeks ago by two inch hail so the hail so I wasn't much worried about anymore dents. We just went about our shopping and eating sushi. I kept checking the radar map though and saw that there were yellows and reds above where we live for better part of forty minutes so I was hopeful that we finally got a measurable amount of rain.

A couple hours later we pulled into the driveway in the dark and I could swear that it hadn't rained but I knew better. I had seen the radar map. I went out onto the deck and turned over the rain gauge. Only a few pieces of dry dirt fell out of the bottom. I'm not sure how we didn't get any rain out of that storm. Perhaps someone stood over my gauge with an umbrella and we secretly got some.

Today has been a week since I last poured five gallons of water around each of my 21 trees and they now need some more. The last two storms were our best chances for rain for the next ten days. There is a slight chance this afternoon but it isn't supposed to be near the amounts of the previous storms. The rest of the state is talking about flooding and I think we are about to have one of the worst dry periods I can remember. We can't buy a rain.

For the record, the last measurable rain we had was 0.5 inches on May 26th. We were already dry before then.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Kitchen Remodel: Part Seven

Well the design phase is wrapping up and soon I expect to write a check for an expensive few sheets of paper. But at the end of the day, I think it was worth every penny and even the few stitches in my head, but more on that later. Above is very close to what we've been envisioning with the exception of some of the cabinet doors vs. drawers and whatever those blue monstrosities hanging from the ceiling are. I suppose they are supposed to be pendant lights but royal blue?

Per our discussion, the architect stepped up to the plate and brought a structural engineer down to our house to check out how exactly we plan on doing the basement to support the extension on the kitchen. As I suspected, it was a bit more complex than what I had imagined and I think the architect was surprised as well. But now I understand what needs to be done so when it comes time to be doing the work myself or hiring it done, I know what to look for. I will also sleep easy at night knowing that it will be done right.

While crawling up in the attic with the structural guy looking to see if the column on the porch was decorative or load bearing (we suspect load bearing but he will do calculations to be sure), I rubbed my bare noggin up against a rusty roofing nail poking through the sheathing. Normally I would have been wearing a protective cap but he had been in a hurry and so I was in a hurry and didn't go inside to grab it.  At the time, it felt like a mere scratch but when I got down to two feet on firm ground, I saw blood had soaked into the band of my headlamp and soon after in the mirror I saw a pretty good dried stream of it down the front of my face. I cleaned up and it wasn't bleeding anymore so I carried on until they left.

My wife looked at it afterwards and immediately said I needed stitches. It was almost five in the afternoon so I knew I was looking at hours sitting in an emergency room to get stitched up. Fortunately my wife pulled a string and got me in to see one of her colleagues at the end of his very busy day and he stitched me up. I now owe him a case of his favorite beer, which as he said was non-taxable portion of his salary, and I will of course pay what my insurance doesn't cover, which was the taxable portion of his salary! Worth every penny! I also got a tetanus booster for good measure.

We will be waiting for our completed package and then I will begin what I expect will be the long process of finding contractors for some of the structural stuff, pricing it out and getting things scheduled. I fully expect at this point, we probably won't break ground until spring at the earliest but we'll see. I would love to do everything myself but at the end of the day I know that I have to balance time without a kitchen, everything else that goes on around us regardless of our house projects, etc. I still hope to do much of the interior work myself and some of the exterior when feasible but time will tell. This project has already invaded my dreams at night and I've found the only way to stop that is to start.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Another Link to the Past

The little girl in this picture is my great grandmother, the one who taught me how to gamble for nickels in my early teens. Until recently, I had never seen a picture of her younger than her mid 80's when most of my memories with her were formed. Here she is as a little girl with her parents and older brother posing for a picture. Her parents were also second cousins, something that I blogged about some time ago and I often wonder if they even knew that. Both of their lines combine into one line giving me two fewer 5th great grandparents than one would normally have. If my math is correct, I only have 126 5th great grandparents instead of the normal 128.

These lines/line are also my sole southern family that moved north during the lead up to the civil war. The rest of my ancestors were on the north side of the line to start with. For reasons unknown to me, my 5th great grandfather, great grandfather to the two adults in this picture, never made it to Iowa. In fact, I don't know where he is buried though I'm guessing it is somewhere near where they lived in Virginia. My 5th great grandmother however did make it to Iowa and is buried on a hill overlooking a tributary that feeds into the Mississippi river on the east side of the state. I have been to her grave in a family cemetery full of her descendants that also overlooks a farm still in the family to this day.

The one thing I haven't been able to figure out thus far is what my 2nd great grandfather is holding in his hand. It sort of looks like a newspaper that has been creased and rolled up in the opposite direction. I don't think it could be a hat. Whatever it is does give him a sort of distinguished look.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kitchen Remodel: Part Six

I can't believe I have written six posts on this subject and we are nowhere near breaking ground at this point. I guess I tend to write posts about what is on the front of my mind and this has been occupying so much of it lately. After smoothing things over with the architect, he proceeded to create a more detailed plan. We've been scouring the internet looking for pictures of design examples that we are interested in. We've also been rethinking aspects of this whole project.

Initially we were thinking about the pantry being plumbed so it could be a future upstairs laundry when we get old. However, the more we talk about it, the more we think we may go ahead and start with it being a part laundry, part pantry, part mudroom. Since really all we care about this point is identifying the space and potential uses, we want to make sure things fit. At the end of the day, I hope to be doing all the inside remodeling so we can make it however we want at that point. For now, we rotated the washer and dryer so you won't see the backs of them through the window and allow whomever is doing laundry a chance to look outside and see where they would rather be!

We've also been flirting with the idea of where the boundaries of the basement addition will go too. The architect suggested all the way out under the porch which would be a huge additional space but I know it would probably triple the costs for that portion of the project as well. For now, we are going to extend the basement out to the front edges of the bumpouts which will create a room roughly 10 feet wide by 23 feet long. I think we will mostly use that space as a work area/storage area for household maintenance items/canvas painting area. We used to do the latter on a wall in the office area but once we remodeled that and put a floor down that we don't want drips on, we haven't had a place for painting.

The plan for now is that the rendering fellow has an opening this weekend and so perhaps sometime next week, I should have some better renderings of how things will look from the ground and with eyes instead of way up in the air and a healthy dose of imagination.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Salt of the Earth Revisited

Two years ago I wrote a blog post about my great grandfather having to work in the salt mine during World War II when the able bodied miners were off fighting a war. Recently while scanning some of my grandparents pictures, I found a series of them taken from the salt mine and thought I would post a few of the more interesting ones.

Caves make me nervous and I've never really enjoyed being inside them though that hasn't stopped me. I just scramble along in the dark never really able to focus on the cave instead of being trapped in one forever. Still if opportunity arises and someday I'm standing outside of the Hutchinson Salt mine which is a tourist attraction to this day, I would jump at the chance to descend and see where my great grandfather worked for a couple years. I'm sure the experience was enough to not take his normal salesman job for granted once the war was over.

From the pictures, it appears as if the process was to saw the underneath side of the open face of the mine with a big saw which gives a smooth floor to operate upon with all the rest of the machine. They then used a jack hammering machine seen in the top photo to bust it into large "rocks" of salt. They then had a machine that swept all the chunks off the floor and conveyed them up into another conveyor cart which is what you see above. That car drove from the spur to the main shaft where the rail cars ran and dumped the salt into another conveyor that deposited them into the rail cars to be removed to the surface, see below.

At the surface the salt was dumped into various grinders to reduce it to power and processed to remove impurities. I don't know if Carey (the name back then) or Hutchinson (the current name) ever packaged and sold salt or if they just saw the raw salt in bulk quantities. From what my grandfather remembers, the salt my great grandfather sold was more industrial salts and not table salts for food. I'm sure if I ever went on the tour, I would learn much more and so I have a note to do so the next time I'm in Kansas, even if I will be nervous as heck the entire time I'm below the surface.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kitchen Removel: Part Five

About three years ago, we started along this very path that we are journeying along now but with a different architecture firm. Living in rural America, there is only one home architecture firm within a 100 mile radius to choose from and so we chose them. We had a great first meeting and were promised that things would start happening right away. Six months went by without a word and eventually we were notified that they had gotten busy and it would be another six months before they could get back to our project. A year goes by at that point (18 months total since the start) before we receive another email asking if we were still interested. Thoroughly disgusted by their lack of communication thus far, we politely said no thanks and left this dream of ours on the back burner for another year until present day.

Flash forward to present time, my wife's office is moving to a new building and through inquiring at the architecture firm that designed the new building, she got the name of a past management person who was now doing home design projects as a hobby in retirement. He lived of course 100+ miles away but was willing to come down and meet with us on our project. Our first meeting went well and we explained what we were looking for. In essence, we had a layout in mind but needed someone to help us with all the structural design work and who was capable of providing us with a complete set of plans that we could hand out to various people or follow ourselves to build the addition we wanted. Everybody seemed in agreement and following a month of tying up loose ends, the architect was ready to start on our project.

We did lots of communicating back and forth (a huge improvement over the first firm) to firm up what we had in mind for the interior and exterior details and then he proceeded to send us several revisions of the layouts I have shown in previous posts. However, in the second batch of prints, he mentioned that he would have someone else do more detailed renderings of the exterior layouts, I assumed in his included hourly rate we were paying him.

Then the third batch of drawings arrived with another email stating that he wanted to get everything laid out in the interior how we wanted before he handed it over to the exterior rendering fellow in order to save us money, i.e. we would be paying someone else for that work whom we hadn't met previously or even knew. I had made a few prior suggestions for cabinetry in the prior batch and in this communication he said that his software couldn't do that much detail work and that we would have to bring that up with whomever was going to design the interior cabinetry layout.

So at this point, he had only provided us with rough interior layouts using software that I already own and starting with a rough layout I had already created and was evidently planning to pass on or tell us to go elsewhere for the rest of the design work on our own dime. Not one word has been spoken on the structural details which is what I was most interested in to begin with. So I sent him an email saying we needed to take a step back and discuss what the deliverables were on this project and what we had expected would be provided after the first meeting. He agreed to call us to discuss this the following evening.

The call started off tense on his part because I think he thought we were firing him. We explained our concerns and he addressed them appropriately. He explained that while he wasn't able to address structure issues due to his licensing, he would contact the appropriate people and would include that information in our packet. He addressed the cabinetry by explaining that he would have sizes nailed down and locations but at the end of the day, whomever we selected for making/purchasing the cabinetry would identify all the specific details to make it functional to our needs. He said that from his past experiences of designing 30 or so kitchen remodels, he has always been told that he has supplied too much information to the contractors rather than not enough. The outside rendering is being done by a trusted former employee of his that does it as a part time gig and is only about two or three hours of work.

Although we are still going to have to pay two to three other groups to finish this process, the overall budget he quoted was still well within what we were expecting so at the end of the day I'm okay with it. My fears have been calmed somewhat and we are proceeding again with the design process. It's a reminder that when money is flowing only one way, that communication is key to ensure both parties remain happy.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kitchen Remodel: Part Four

In my last post, I mentioned that we were pretty happy with the interior layout but felt like the entrance would look too much like an entrance to a cave. After hours looking for inspiration and finding none because the most common entrance in a ranch style home is through a front porch that is open on three sides, I thought up of a brilliant solution. Add on a front porch that is open on three sides!

It would be a covered porch with pillars and a decorative railing and would mesh well with our current sidewalk shown on the left side. The only drawback is perhaps the amount of light that will reach the two kitchen windows, even though the view won't change. We have deep overhangs now and only in the heart of winter so we ever get direct sunlight through those windows. I don't think it is much of a concern to us at the end of the day. We also might entertain the judicious use of some light tubes to funnel natural light into the kitchen through the roof which I think would be better anyway.

Just as things were progressing nicely with the new design, a problem arose which we weren't expecting. But I will save that for another post. Instead I will close with an interior rendering of what the concept will look like though no colors or materials have been chosen at this point. It is more just a visual representation of the spacing of things.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kitchen Remodel: Part Three

So here was the first revision based upon our feedback. We made a number of changes compared to our previous revision.  Starting at the stop by the stairs, we got rid of the offset doorway from the hallway leading towards the right and the bedroom area. Instead we aligned the doorways to give a clear sight line and creates a blank wall for the hutch to sit again. It meant that we had to give up two cabinets but since we still have twice as many cabinets as in our kitchen now, I think we will still be able to fit everything in with room to spare.

On the right wall, gone are the double ovens and in the same space is an overhead microwave which will be next to our combination gas cooktop/electric oven. By moving the microwave to that wall, we are able to fit two windows into the south wall above the sink to let more light into the kitchen.

On the left wall, we moved the refrigerator up against the pantry and made it cabinet depth to give a clean line and to eliminate the tiny nook formed when it was 12 inches further north. The island has been reduced in size to give four feet wide aisles on all sides and half the cabinets underneath removed to create a seating area with two or three short stools. Not too noticeable but something that bugged me until fixed, the end cabinets on the east and west walls are in line now creating a more symmetric horseshoe shape.

We also bumped out the two bump outs that will form the new entry and pantry two more feet. The more we stare at things, we think we might not wait to have an upstairs laundry and instead might create a dual pantry/laundry area. At first I was a bit hesitant but after searching online, it appears quite common these days. as a bonus, it will make the new basement room two feet wider (10 feet total) which will open up options on its use. Right now I'm pushing for a basement work/project room of sorts.

We are pretty happy with this interior layout though we still want one more change. We want bookshelves on either end of the island for cookbooks of which we have many. That is a pretty easy change I think.

With things looking pretty firm for the interior, we started focusing on the exterior and quickly ran into problems. With the two bumpouts and deep covered porch, how does one style it so it doesn't look like the entrance to a cave? I spent hours and hours looking at pictures online trying to find something that sparked my interest but for ranch houses, the most common entrance is through a porch open on three sides, not a covered porch enclosed on three sides like what we have. After struggling with the concept for several days, I finally figured out how to fix the "cave entrance" problem. More on that in another post.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Salt and Pep

While visiting my grandparents recently, they handed me another stack of photos that they found, most being in the really old range of 100 or more years old. I've been scanning them and when I have a chance to go back and process everything, I hope to post some of them on here. Among them however was a much more recent 15 page pamphlet entitled Salt and Pep with my great grandfather on the cover. He was the son of a merchant who worked in the grocery store business and the grandson of this line's immigrant ancestor who was a merchant in the leather goods business. Somehow, my great grandfather opted to step out of the merchant lifestyle and became a farmer after his return from World War I. He bought a series of farms, each one leveraged by the previous one, which even in good times is a house of cards just waiting to fall.

While the Roaring 20's was so named for the economic boom times going on, it was a period of falling farm prices followed by the huge stock market crash in 1929. My great uncle was born in 1922 at the start of the farmland price decline and my great grandfather was so leveraged that he soon lost everything, including all the farms. For the next seven years, he led a nomadic lifestyle at best trying to find and hold down various jobs mostly as a traveling salesperson. Eventually he found a stable career working for the Carey Salt company as a traveling salesperson and in 1929, my grandfather was born.

My grandfather has often told me he was born right as the stock market crashed and that his father, my great grandfather, had called from on the road urging my great grandmother to sell all their stocks before they became worthless. However she was in the hospital giving birth to my grandfather at the time and they lost everything for a second time. While it may be true that they lost everything for a second time, my grandfather was born a full month and a half before the stock market crash.

Regardless of the truth of the details, my grandfather insists (and I believe) that the reason my great grandparents only had two children at a time when many had a dozen, was due to them losing everything they had not once but twice.

Salt and Pep is apparently a pamphlet put out by the Carey Salt company as a safety reminder slash company bulletin board.  It was interesting to read the pamphlet and all the antidotes on safety for a pretty hazardous occupation (mining salt) liberally scattered throughout. It is even evident on the cover description which reads as follows:

On this month's cover is pictures [Vic], Territory Salesman for the Carey Salt Company in the Omaha District. Vic is pictured here landing a 20-pound fighting northern pike from the Canadian waters. Vic took no chance on this big one getting away as the big hand hook through the pike's mouth indicates. Yes, he played it safe, but the big fish was a "sucker" for an unsafe condition. You, too, have a choice when on the water, or in the water - either play it safe, or end up like this 20-pound pike did. Nice going, Vic. Is this a record?

Friday, June 9, 2017

First Responder by Default

An event over Memorial Day really shook me up a bit. I participated in a mass out at the local cemetery affiliated with my religion and then went down to the club for some coffee, donuts and a bit of socialization. I spent quite awhile socializing while I downed my donut and juice but eventually the people I was talking too had to leave. The other tables were all lost in their group conversations however the manager of the club was sitting all by himself.

The manager of the club is kind of an odd duck. His wife died a handful of years ago and he has kind of went downhill since. His personal appearance is what I would consider a bit wild and disheveled in appearance, he definitely never pursued higher education or even graduated high in his class and one doesn't have to do much when having a conversation with him because he does most of the talking. Most of the others avoid him but over the years I've found him to be quite affable despite his appearance and quirks and I have made a point of befriending him. On this Memorial Day, he looked like he really needed a friend so I sat down at his table and struck up a conversation.

Axel, (not his real name) recently lost his car to a fire that began as he was driving it. It burnt clear to the ground and due to his financial position in life, he didn't have any insurance on the car nor does he have the money to replace it. We talked about trying to find another car he could afford to replace it when he started become withdrawn (totally not his style) and pale. I finally asked if he was feeling okay to which he replied no. He said his chest was really hurting him.

Axel is not really what I would consider a healthy person. After his wife died he had immersed  himself into drinking and has always been a smoker. Judging on what I have seen being around him as one of his employers to run our club, his diet is also quiet lacking and mostly consists of drive thru food or junk food found at the local gas station or pub. So when he said he was having chest pains, my thought immediately turned to a possible heart attack in process.

I immediately offered to drive him to the emergency room but he was wouldn't have anything to do with it since he said he didn't have insurance and couldn't afford it. He got up and decided to go to the restroom and I knew I had to wait to make sure he didn't keel over in there. After ten minutes I was just about ready to go check on him when Axel came out and sat back down. Immediately he started saying his lower back and neck were hurting along with his shoulder. I asked him if he wanted me to call 911 and again he refused.

Within a minute, he announced that he was getting down on his hands and knees and I got up and started around the table but before I got around, he was already on the floor and was crying out 'help me' over and over. I pulled out my cellphone and called 911. About that time that I hung up with them, others noticed what was happening and immediately rushed over. Axel was still consciousness but was in obvious pain that was still spasming. Within three minutes, first responders from the fire station were coming in and took over the situation. The ambulance arrived a couple minutes later while we were dragging tables and chairs out of the way for a stretcher to get in with ease.

In the end, they had to muscle Axel off the floor and onto the stretcher and after some questions to me about what had led up to this event thus far, they were out the door and gone. I stayed behind to clean up the club and lock it up and then went home myself. Later towards evening, I figured that Axel would be stabilized by now and called to find out his room number so I could go see how he was doing since he didn't really have much in the way of family around. They didn't have any record of him. I figured the options at that point were that he had been transferred to another facility or morgue or had been discharged. I called another board member and they had just been informed that he was back home and was resting.

The next morning, I swung by the club and saw the back door was slightly ajar so I went in and found Axel sitting in the very seat he had been sitting in the night before. He definitely looked alive and much better than when I had last seen him the day before. I learned that he had an acute gastritis attach and not a heat attack. That sounded much better to me than what I had been fearing. I was also happy to learn that when he said he didn't have insurance the day before, he meant that all the paperwork had burned up in his car fire and that he was still insured through the ACA. He may also be insured through worker's comp through the club but not being an insurance expert, I don't know for sure. Regardless, Axel was back at work and looking a lot better. Still, since it was the first such episode where I've called 911 for a specific individual, (I've called it for a traffic accident I witnessed once on an interstate), I find I'm still shook up a bit as I write this. I'm glad that I was there and able to help him since he has no recollection of the event after coming out of the restroom. It could have been a lot worse.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Proof Positive

It wasn't but a few weeks ago that I was writing on here about my grandfather telling my that my 2nd great grandparents had been divorced and remarried at one point and hence the second wedding gift was a gold watch I was holding in my hand. You can read about that HERE. I had hoped to get a date of manufacture of the watch by finding the serial number but I wasn't able to narrow it down any. I figured it was another question that was permanently lost to history.

I have an online tree that I check now and then in hopes of new information popping up. It will provide me with hints of information that might pertain to my family and invites me to check them out. However, it find way more hints than I can possibly ever check so I pretty much limit myself to those pertaining to the current generation through my 3rd great grandparents and to anyone I am currently researching beyond that. So when I noticed a hint next to my 2nd great grandfather's name, I clicked it to see what it might contain.

It turned out to be a birth certificate for my great grandfather. It wasn't very remarkable but it did list my 2nd great grandfather's middle name as Washington, not William which is has said on every other document I have. It through me for a bit of a loop so I started reviewing all the documents I had on my 2nd great grandfather when I noticed I had two marriage certificates for him and my 2nd great grandmother and they were both different. They were dated 35 years apart!

I had made a notation on the second marriage certificate questioning if the dates on it were incorrect but then at the bottom, I noticed the clerk had written this message at the bottom:
P.S. After the parties were gone I noticed the answer to 8 and 15 as being both one. It seems to me the groom who filled out the above in pencil did not rightly comprehend the answers. If either party were married before , this marriage was the second.
Questions 8 and 15 asked "the number" of this marriage. In different, heavier script than the rest of the application, someone has written "Second. Remarried". So in other words, I guess the story is true that my 2nd great grandparents were divorced and remarried and my 2nd great grandfather had mistakenly written down "one" since he was remarrying the same person. I found it interesting to see there was some confusion over this and that it was still causing confusion nearly 92 years later. But now I have an answer to when their second marriage occurred.

28 September 1925

Monday, June 5, 2017

The River

I wrote about our spring river boating trip HERE but I never got around to cleaning out my SLR memory card until just the other day and I found these two pictures that I thought I would share. This stretch of the river has always been one of my favorites due to the long uninterrupted stretch of cliffs that bound the river as it curves. There are many places along the river with bluffs, some three or four times as tall as these, but none in as long of a stretch or quite as beautiful in my opinion. It was a perfect spot for an early snack break on the huge gravel bar on the other side of the river.

Near this spot on around the corner on the other side of the river and a bit upstream is Bee Bluff named after a giant honeycomb found there in the 1850's. After years of watching bees fly in and out of a hole in the bluff, in 1916 some locals decided they wanted some of that honey and devised a plan to kill the bees with burning sulfer and then open up the hole with dynamite. Honey came streaming down the cliff but several hundred pounds remain attached to the face. The two locals climbed up again and lowered bucket after bucket of honeycomb down to the waiting crowd but when they were done, the spectators had run off with all the honey leaving them with none.

Friday, June 2, 2017

No Longer Little Abbey

My longest readers (all one or perhaps two of them) will know that Little Abbey refers to my oldest daughter. When she was born, I marveled about her and fatherhood and just baby development in a series of posts entitled Little Abbey Updates. It seems like just yesterday and yet, she just graduated from elementary school, turned 11 years old and got her first pair of glasses all a few days ago. I thought in honor of that occasion, I would do an update reminiscent of old.

I remember dreaming about the day my daughter would start talking and telling me what she needed/wanted so I didn't have to guess amid the tears and hollers. Then she started talking and I wished she would just play quietly and let me have some peace for a few minutes. These days I find myself engaged in all sorts of conversations with my daughter and I enjoy them to the point I treasure them. I just love seeing her mind develop by the types of questions she asks. I feel like she has matured to the point that I know what kinds of things interest her deeply and which things are simply part of a passing fad. I suspect as she approaches and enters the teen years, all things dad might start becoming "uncool" so I'm really treasuring these talks while they are occurring and hoping that in doing so, she will always feel comfortable telling me anything.

My daughter is making the transition from elementary school to middle school which varies a bit from my youth and even other districts. Here, 6th graders are treated the same as those in 7th and 8th grades and housed in the same building although in their own wing. We attended open house of sorts for parents a week ago and got her schedule, met her teachers and checked out the class rooms. They have placed my daughter in an advanced math class that will stuff both 6th and 7th grade math into one year so that by the time she reaches high school she can take some advanced math if desired. The is also taking a special stem class for the advanced sciences which is more to her desire than advanced math. She will also take part in the talented and gifted program as well although we won't know for sure until August. One of my dreams of raising kids as intelligent or better yet, more so than me is being realized and I couldn't be happier. Also like me, my daughter is already counting the days until the first day of middle school when the ink on her 5th grade diploma hasn't even dried yet.

Another sign that she isn't so little anymore is that she has her first pair of glasses. I wear glasses and my wife just got her first pair of progressive glasses, so we pretty much knew the chances would be high that my oldest daughter would also wear glasses someday. Though she hasn't displayed signs of needing them, we took her for a checkup when we went to get ours and found out that she is right on the border where she needs them for nearsightedness. At first she was sad at the news but cheered up when she got to pick out a pair from the racks of frames. After much debate, she picked the perfect pair much to the delight of her mom and dad and they sent out the order. The next day she went to school and saw that every girl in her class that wears glasses (and that is all of them) had a different style than she selected. She came home and was in tears. We had a long talk about always following sheep and that sometimes it is better to do your own thing and eventually she went back to excited. She now wears them occasionally when she needs clear vision of things far away and is happy with them.

Summer break is upon us now and it is far from the quiet summers of working on the farm I spent in my youth. My daughter already has one week of learning hand bells and two weeks of learning the violin in a boot camp type setting scheduled plus a week spent with my parents for swimming lessons and another week doing community service with my parents by cleaning up rivers in our state from trash and debris. She also has two all day sessions scheduled at the local community college to learn advanced science and another subject which I have forgotten off the top of my head. The summer is certain to fly by from my perspective.

I'm happy as a father that she has turned out so well thus far and since I still have one that will be starting 4 year old preschool this fall, I probably won't be sad at the loss of childhood just yet since I have another way to get that fix. However, as she is starting to blossom into womanhood, I pretty sure I'm still not ready for all the things that brings yet and won't be for several more years, perhaps never. When she was younger I was always wishing phases in her life would hurry up and arrive. Now I'm hollering for them to stop!