October 29, 2011

Halloween Memories

Halloween is fast approaching.
And childhood memories are encroaching...

A tiny old white brick house with narrow doors, sloping ceilings, steep stairs, and thick plaster walls. Outside an old well stood between the house and a dilapidated garage so old, the doors swung out scraping the ground as they opened. Once opened wide, they proved too narrow for a car to fit between.

Now it is a risky business to leave your vehicle outdoors, while ghost and goblins made their way around town. The previous year our car had proved to be to tempting for the tricksters roaming around. The next morning we discovered soaped windows, toilet paper, and old tin cans adorning the car.

The front porch, we prepared for the season. Yarn became spider webs, and old clothes a scarecrow. Other bits and pieces became our costumes, a mob of 5 left out the front door, toting our pillowcases to collect our treats. My brothers running off with their friends, while my younger sisters and I continued on trick or treating. As we approached the third house, we heard a scream. Eerie in the night, especially this night as it filled with screams. 

Around the block we continued, cutting the corner short and though our yard a large ghost appeared from the narrow garage. Loudly screaming, we ran into the house. To find our mother laughing!

Trick or treat, our father tricked, the car windows remained clean, and he safely left for work at 5am the next morning.

I still smile, as I remember, the family tradition begun that evening. The old sheet was used many times and the laughter the next day was fun.  Did you see them run!

October 26, 2011

A Week Away from home...

I have been quiet the last little bit. I took a much deserved break from my everyday life to visit my daughter Deborah in Los Angeles. 

While there, I took on a project. Shelving, with the help of her friend, Karl. We salvaged a wooden bookcase and turned it into over the toilet storage. We found the wooden book case on the curb, waiting for the salvage truck.

The two bedroom apartment she lives in was built in 1954, and is under 600 square feet. It does have some character, with it's wooden paneling on some walls and exposed beam ceiling. The shortcomings: limited storage, no insulation or sound proofing. Deborah shares the apartment with 2 roommates and they all share the one bathroom. Most of the manufactured over the toilet storage measure 25" wide. 

How did we do this? The books case measured 72"H x 36"W x 13.5"D and the ceiling is 7' 10".  For safety the bottom portion needed to be shortened and altered.  By cutting the curve and splitting a shelf I was able to create two narrow 5.5 inch shelves perfect for the extra rolls and storage jars.  

The only tools we used a hammer, screwdriver drill, and jig saw. 

  1. Remove the shelves, toe kick, back and bottom shelf.
  2. The attached middle shelf originally used for stabilization became our bottom large shelf.
  3. Just below the stabilization is where to begin the curve. How did we obtain the curve? We made a trip to the kitchen, found a large bowl. Marking where we wanted the curve to start and end carefully placed the bowl on the dots and traced the curve. We continued the line down the back for the depth of the bottom unit. (1/2 the original depth) We also shortened it at this point. Our unit is now 60" tall. 
  4. Using a piece of paper make a pattern of the shelf adjustment holes, using a screw to punch holes in the paper. Align in the front of cabinet and carefully drill new shelf holes. A piece of tape is a good reminder for how deep to drill the holes.
  5. Split one shelf in half, forming 2 bottom shelves. 
  6. Screw the new bottom shelf into place.
  7. Dry fit back panel, carefully draw a pencil line, remove and shorten.
  8. Replace and secure back panel.
  9. Attach the old toe kick onto the top back of the unit to aide in hanging.
  10. Paint, stain or leave finished as is. We did stain the unit.
  11. Now to find studs, I use a hammer and thin nail to locate the studs.
  12. Using the remains of the bookcase side I cut two pieces to attach to the wall. Securely screwing them into the stud and in two instances using mollies for added strength. I used 4 screws to support the unit.
  13. Lifting the new shelving unit onto the wall cleat, we screwed it into place. 
  14. For added stability, screw into ceiling joist and into wall studs.
  15. We probably added more screws than necessary, but the back panel was 1/8" thick, and bathroom safety a priority.
The cost, a few hours of labor, some 3" screws, and 1.25" screws and a quart of stain.

The girls then added baskets, to finish the unit.

October 1, 2011

Navy Fighters and the Santa Catalina Ferry

In the 1950's, young Navy fighter pilots flew out of Miramar California.
Flying high and low, to and fro over land and water. Experiencing the thrill of going supersonic. Above and in the clouds, these young pilots flew formations and combat patterns. Often they would find themselves over Santa Catalina, a favorite place for them to go.
The local Radio broadcast, upon the Santa Catalina Ferry easily picked up in cockpits would play. The broadcaster would entice the young pilots to appear out of the sky. Down they would go to buzz the ferry, dropping out of supersonic as they came down low, over the waves for a little show. And often times a song would play "26 Miles Across The Sea."
As fast they came, they would leave, to the song on the radio.

Many of those young pilots became Air Line Pilots.