Boneheaded move of the week

Over the weekend, the boys and I decided to move the futon from the downstairs library to the upstairs guest room. Well, I decided, and the boys helped. Well, I decided.

When I disassembled the futon frame, I noticed that the sides were a bit loose. The tenons had broken free of the glue joints in the mortises. A quick and easy repair in the workshop. Over the weekend, I disassembled one of the ends and re-glued all the mortises.

Monday, I took the one that had been re-glued, and set it down by the workshop door. Across from the remaining piece that needed to be repaired. I then noticed that the workshop door had been blown shut by the breeze. I walked over and propped open the workshop door and back to the pieces. I wasn’t paying attention, and grabbed the piece that I had just glued up (not the one still needing repair). I took it over to the workbench and had knocked it mostly apart before I noticed that it wasn’t the right piece. I now have two pieces to reassemble. Plus fix the cosmetic damage from breaking apart a properly glued joint.

Sometimes ADHD will bite you. I don’t have any pictures of the project, nor will I share the language I used when I realized what I had done. But it is a good story, and maybe in a couple of days I’ll even find it funny.

Kitchen Island (Finished)

The new kitchen island in place in our kitchen
The new kitchen island in place in our kitchen

I have been working on a kitchen island for quite a while now. I finished it the week before the wedding. It replaces a table in the kitchen – and it is nice to have a proper-height work surface in the kitchen. It is also narrower than the old table, which fits the size of the kitchen better.

The base is made from white oak, with pegged mortise and tenon joints. The top is made from hickory.

I’m pretty pleased with the project. The top is maybe 2-inches narrower than I think would look the best. Another project may be to make a new top, or add a strip of cherry or sapele in the middle to widen the top.

The joinery isn’t perfect, but it is better than some of the work I’ve done in the past.  I think a shelf on the bottom would look nice (and be useful), but I forgot to build in a shelf when I constructed the base.

It is nice to finish another project.

More Family Photographs

As threatened earlier, here are some more scans of old photographs of me. I decided to include them in a post rather than in a photo gallery. Every year I print a book from the posts on this website. This way, the pictures will show up in the printed book. It is too hot outside to do much, so here I am, scanning pictures.

Bill and Me. Date unknown (best guess by when the picture was printed is sometime in 1982)
Bill and me. Date unknown (best guess by when the picture was printed is sometime in 1982)
Bill and me. Easter 1976
Bill and me. Easter 1976
Me on Mother's Day 1984 (location unknown)
Me on Mother’s Day 1984 (location unknown)
Me in 1974
Me in 1974
My dad and me. Picture from 1977 in Warrington Township, Bucks County,  PA
My dad and me. Picture from 1977 in Warrington Township, Bucks County, PA

A long Saturday sail

_WillStandingonBoat Yesterday morning we took a family day to go sailing. We motored south of the submarine base and put our sails up and sailed to Pine Island. We dropped anchor near the island and the boys kayaked to shore.

Eventually I swam to shore to walk around with the boys (and I needed a break from the sun).  We didn’t feel comfortable going out of sight from the boat with it on anchor, so we didn’t get far in exploring the island.

After we ate lunch I pulled up the anchor and we motored over to an old concrete quay wall, nosed in and tied a line around a broken piece of concrete.  The wind was perfect to push the boat off the wall. Whenever we wanted to get on or off the boat, we would just pull the boat up to the wall. Of course, with only one line tied to a rock, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the boat.  Maybe next time we will find a second tie point and be able to picnic on the island.

I think we all spent too much time in the sun on the water, and are all a little tired today, so this morning has been a quiet day lounging around in the air conditioning.

A couple of lessons from yesterday’s sail:

  • The kayaks fit on top of the boat, but it made getting forward on the boat a bit of a climb.
  • I need to find a way to add shade to the cockpit. Maybe a bimini top if I can find one that fits
  • Cold water is a must. We brought ice, but didn’t use it as much as we should for drinks.
  • Susanna shouldn’t read below decks – it is a good way to get seasick.
  • I need to redo the rope ladder – it is way to short to make getting on the boat easy. Or better yet – install a permanent on on the stern.
  • The wind really seems to die down once you get north of I-95 on the Thames River.
The boys eating lunch on their kayaks (while tied to the boat) - Pine Island
The boys eating lunch on their kayaks (while tied to the boat) – Pine Island
Enjoying a swim off the boat.
Enjoying a swim off the boat.

A pretty ambitious project for a hot and humid Friday

Will playing with his robot arm after completing the project.
Will playing with his robot arm after completing the project.

I’m pretty impressed with Will. Yesterday we went shopping – no going shopping isn’t impressive. While at the mall, we wandered into the education store. He found a robot arm kit in the store for $60. After thinking about it for a while, he decided that he wanted the robot and wanted to spend the day building it. He used his entire allowance savings to purchase the kit.

It took him over six hours to build it. I had to help solder a couple of broken wires for him, but for the most part, he did the work. Later in the evening, when he lost pieces, he didn’t get frustrated. He came downstairs and waited until I was finished with what I was doing and then asked for help. That isn’t always the case when kids get stuck in a big project.  It is an even bigger accomplishment for a kid with ADHD (and even more so on a medication break day).

Good job Will! I certainly didn’t get as much accomplished yesterday as you did.

Family Photographs

One of the wedding decorations (thanks to Rebecka Petersson) was a wall of old photographs. My mom brought up some old pictures of me, so here are a few scanned in. The dates are a best guess.

I’ll scan and post more on other slow days.

Me (2 1/2 years old) and Bill (1 1/2 years old) in December 1975
Me (2 1/2 years old) and Bill (1 1/2 years old) in December 1975
My first birthday (June 1974)
My first birthday (June 1974)
Me in December 1975 (2 1/2 years old)
Me in December 1975 (2 1/2 years old)
My dad (Ted Curtis) in Maine (Summer 1977)
My dad (Ted Curtis) in Maine (Summer 1977)
Me and Bill with my Uncle John (Bill is 2 1/2 and I am 3 1/2)
Me and Bill with my Uncle John (Bill is 2 1/2 and I am 3 1/2)

Wedding Day Memories

Standing in the back yard (picture by Brigette Laroche)
Standing in the back yard (picture by Brigitte Laroche)

Some stories from the wedding and party (in no particular order). Of course, names were changed to protect the innocent. Okay, maybe they weren’t:

– The reception (for us) started when we pulled into the driveway. We were met at the end of the driveway by Vicki Sawyer, dressed in a nice white and blue dress.  Covered in mud from playing in the yard. We knew that was a sign of a good start to the party.

– There are some very fun Swedish wedding traditions. One of the most fun is the tradition that allows people to kiss the bride when the groom is out of the room. I would like to thank the navy guys for leading the charge in maintaining Swedish tradition when I first stepped out of the room. However, the rule works both ways; when Susanna stepped out of the room, I was open to be kissed. And in the fine Swedish tradition – it is not gender specific. So I would also like to thank the navy guys for not leaving me out of that tradition. Just for the record, it wasn’t just the guys that kissed me (or Susanna for that matter).

– Leaving the sugar cubes out for the coffee wasn’t the best idea. The kids didn’t go for the alcohol. They went for sugar cubes. As far as I know, Tyler has the record with 11 sugar cubes that night. It also explains why he didn’t sleep very well.

-Yes, the Swedes and Americans can party. Lots of beer and wine helped. However, the 3rd and 4th graders can party as well. The boys were crazy after about 10pm. I think the sugar cubes helped. I think the boys stole lots of kisses from all the Swedish girls at the party (I won’t mention names…).

– And yes, 3rd and 4th grade boys will dance. If they are tired  enough and given enough sugar cubes.

– Tucker was quite the center of attention at the party. He even wore a bow tie. However, the wait staff fed him enough people food that he didn’t want to eat anything at all the next day.

– Will and Ben loved pretending to be the Secret Service when dressed in their suits. They spent the half hour before the wedding ceremony at the door to the hall where we were waiting to make sure that people went into the correct door of the church. But they didn’t want to get out of the car at the end of the street and jog alongside for our drive to the reception. Go figure.

– In the strangest twist of behaviors – Will fidgeted less during the ceremony than Ben.  However, both boys were amazing during the ceremony.

– Susanna cries at everything. Susanna’s sisters cry when Susanna cried. I think that made the first song they sung at the ceremony a little more difficult to get through.

– Rebecka and Sofia are wonderful singers. They sang two beautiful songs during the ceremony. Even if they weren’t “Does your mother know” and “Dancing Queen” by ABBA as I had requested.

Paparazzi photo of the boys helping get things ready for the wedding.
Paparazzi photo of the boys helping get things ready for the wedding.

– Our neighbor was the perfect wedding photographer. She even spent time during the days leading up to the wedding day taking photographs of us getting the house ready. She did this without telling us. I felt like a celebrity – we had our own personal paparazzi.

– The boys were super excited about the party, they even cleaned out the second floor of the garage (including vacuuming, until Will vacuumed over a toy sheep), and made it a hangout for those 12 and under.

– If you send a wedding invitation to the President, he won’t show up. But you will get a card congratulating you on the wedding. Not sure if it is the same if you send an invitation to the Swedish King (in hindsight maybe we should have sent him one).

I am thankful for all of our friends and family that were with us (in both person and spirit) to help us celebrate the start of the next big journey in our lives.

Ben reading a congratulation card before the ceremony.
Ben reading a congratulation card before the ceremony.

Wedding Day

Maybe not the most formal wedding picture - but one of my favorites
Maybe not the most formal wedding picture – but one of my favorites (photo by Brigitte Laroche)

July 1st was a perfect day for our wedding. It rained all day, and poured during the ceremony. But it didn’t rain at the reception. It was hot and humid. And it was perfect. We both had fun. The boys had fun (maybe a little too much fun). I think all the guests had fun.

We had a small group of friends and family join us for our wedding and reception. We enjoyed a mix of wedding traditions. But of course both the Swedish and US traditions involve having an open bar. Though we apparently the Swedish weddings normally go later than we decided to party.

After a busy week getting ready, and  long day enjoying the party, we are all trying to recover. We are all still a little rough around the edges – Six Flags yesterday with the boys didn’t help, but was worth it. I think today should be a good quiet day to recover. I’ll take some time later to post more pictures (and tell more stories).

Wedding Portrait (photo by Brigitte Laroche)
Wedding Portrait (photo by Brigitte Laroche)