Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Family Catch Up

Painting the barn
On the first "breathable" day after the fire, Bob painted the barn. He painted it the "suburban red" color that it was when we first moved here thirty one years ago!  Although the air quality index stated the air was "good," the air was too smoky for me. After taking this photo, I had a coughing fit so I spent the remainder of the day inside!

After he had completed the painting, he researched gutters for the barn. Bob determined what he needed. The structure had never had gutters. When it rained, the water would splash on the lower boards. Over time, the boards rotted. These new boards are destined to last longer than the previous ones did!

Bob purchased his supplies, brought them home and he laid out the pieces. He found he was a few pieces short. In his working days he estimated materials for building highways. He was excellent at his job. He had to know why he was short. The reason, he discovered, was a misinterpretation of the packaging information. The package read 'contains two' which Bob thought was two separate pieces turns. Actually,  the total package contained the parts to make one piece of the gutter. He solved that mystery!

Bob assembled the gutter pieces so that when his friends came the following day to assist, all that remained was to put the parts in place and attach the parts with screws.

Ensuring the supports were in place
It took less than two hours to complete the gutter project. We have had rain since the completed installment. We watched how well the gutter system works. Painting the barn will happen again; but, we won't be replacing siding because of rot!

I was glad that his friends came to help as this was a two person job with the third person acting as ladder holder and "gofer." "Gofer" being the person who goes for this and goes for that!

My pen pal, who is my eight year old granddaughter, has written me eight letters. She told me that although balancing letter writing with school was challenging, she plans to continue writing for a good long time. Truly, since we've been writing to each other, mail has become much more important!

She still address the envelope to "Gran," which makes both me and her papa smile. She often shares a story and often asks questions. Her penmanship has improved greatly since we started. Sometimes, it is a bit of a puzzle to figure out the word that she spelled; but, I love every minute of reading! Her first letter arrived at the end of July.

Greg and Rod ensuring the project progresses smoothly
We also have a "phone day" which she gets to call and chat after she has finished school and her homework. My day is Monday sometime between 1:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. She calls her Papa on Tuesdays and her Auntie on Thursdays. She calls her other Grandmother on Wednesdays. Fridays she spends with her dad because he doesn't work on Friday.

I treasure these days because with technology, we get to FaceTime. I get to see her and her sister too. I miss our face to face visits and the overnights that we had. They are growing up fast and COVID keeps us from hanging out together. Her two last calls were without video. 

A Gladiola that Bob planted this year

The first time that she called not using FaceTime, I asked her if she wanted me to call her back because we weren't on FaceTime. Her response was, "Today, I'm calling on our old fashioned phone. Daddy says I need to learn how to use it." She went on to describe all the features of the phone. It had a base and a cord so you can't walk far. She concluded, "Daddy calls it a landline. What a funny name for a phone!" I had to chuckle over her use of landline and old fashioned.

I remember eating shredded wheat cereal in my grandmother's kitchen while she talked on the phone which was a wooden box that hung on the wall with a receiver and a crank. You cranked a specific number of times to get an operator who connected you to your party! It was also a party line so if you heard voices when you picked up the phone you were supposed to put it down. Although, there was a lot of listening in! I wonder if the game "telephone" originated from this experience!

Each household had a particular ring so you knew which call was for you. We progressed to a ring which just for you and went to private lines. Phones changed over time too. 

Evidence of the lunch delivery

The crank went to a dial model and you sat next to the phone to talk. I remember how cool it was to have a sleek princess phone in a color! Later, the cords became long so we could do other activities while we talked. The dials became buttons so we could dial faster. Answering machine options became available as did caller ID and call blocking options too. 

Now we have cell phones and landlines are few. Watching episodes of popular TV shows produced in the 80s and seeing the portable phones in that day makes me appreciate technology improvements and advances. Now, it is possible to watch videos, take photos, send e-mails, and much more in addition to talking on the phone. So yes, dear granddaughter, that landline is old fashioned to you!

On the other hand, my husband asked the youngest granddaughter if he could drop some fresh apple cider at their house. He said she didn't even pause with her "That would be splendid, Papa," response! My grandma used to make apple cider. It was the drink at Halloween, Thanksgiving and IF the apples had stored well, Christmas. It was my favorite drink. 

Along with the cider, Bob also dropped off lunch. With COVID, the granddaughters don't leave the house but to kick a soccer ball around or to take a neighborhood walk. This lunch delivery was special. Photo is courtesy of their dad, J! Ah. . .family. . .I'm so fortunate to have such a special one!

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