Friday, December 24, 2010

Dad's watch

The inscription reads: From Doris to Floyd 10-10-62. That was my Dad's 46th birthday. On that day he was 13 years younger than I am today. I was 11 and just that June we had moved to the ranch in Yucaipa. I remember sitting next to Dad in the little church on 1st Street watching the little second hand go around and looking at his hands. His hands were large and rough. The hands of a life-long farmer and rancher. Hands that worked hard and were proud of what they did. They were tanned from working outside and there were some age spots beginning to show. His hair was dark and there were callouses on his palms. He used to look at my hands and tell me I should be proud of having callouses, they were the sign of a real man. I used to tease my friends because they didn't have callouses. Dad and I worked together on the ranch and when he talked (he was usually pretty quiet) he would try to teach me what it took to be a man. Mostly, he said, it takes a lot of work. He taught me to be proud of my work, to sit back and admire it when the job was completed. "Don't rush off, take a look at what you have done". Even to this day, when I get done with a project, I sit back and enjoy what I've done. Sometimes I will just pull up a chair and look for awhile. That is actually one reason I like to put on this blog the projects that I am working on.

Today is Christmas eve. We don't have any family here today. It's kind of quiet and lonely. But we get to spend Christmas morning with Tyler and his amazing family and that will be great. I have worked on a little project for his girls. The paint is drying in the workshop. I will post pics when I get it put together. So I have been reading my kid's blogs and taking a look at what my family has done. I'm pretty proud of them all and hope they all have happiness thru the Holidays and forever. Life's not easy. It takes a lot of work. But they are all working hard at making a good life for my grandkids.

I think now I will put on my Dad's watch, his golden ring, and go enjoy Christmas eve with my beautiful wife. She just brought home a rib eye roast, so it looks like we'll have a good Christmas eve dinner! But before that, maybe I'll go out to the yard and see if I can work up some callouses. Because that's what a real man does.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

October 3, 2010... click here to see when this adventure began. Remember that room?
Our back porch/laundry room serves as a main entrance to our home. Since we park toward the back of the house, and since we use our back yard so much, we use the back entrance the most. So it should look decent, right. Well it is 99% done, just some touch-up to do.

It's hard to get a picture of it all, but here are several views.

Here's the washer/dryer Tyler got for us out of a house he was selling. We'll leave our old white set over in the Little Red House.

So, these aren't as cute as our kid's blogs with pictures of our grand kids, but hey, you blog what you got.

Friday, December 10, 2010

One more day!

I took a day off work to try to get this finished before Sunday when Di's family is coming.
Here is the new entry door to the kitchen. It's kind of a ribbed glass thingie. It's all in and painted... just need to touch up the paint. This is a custom order door and they actually cut it a little too narrow... I had to take off the trim and shim out the case so it would fit. Nothing is ever easy in an old house, but it doesn't help when they don't make the new part right either!

From the kitchen side.
Putting a shelf above the washer/dryer.
Kind of dark, but this is the new floor from outside looking in.

Putting in the floor... I think my pictures went in upside down.

Cabinets installed and painted.

Stopped while painting to get a pic. See the ceiling above the cabinet? Nothing level, plumb, or square in this old house. There is no way to make this look good, it will get trimmed as is.
1 coat primer, two coats paint. Easy when the room is empty.

I don't remember what I was doing when Di took this pic. But see all those spots? That's dust on the flash. I must have been stirring something up!

This is doing the plumbing... under the floor and up the walls. It was easier to cut access thru the floor than work in the 2 foot crawl space. That's the new sub-floor leaning on the wall behind me. After I was done with the plumbing, I put the patches back in and covered it all up with another layer of sub-floor. There were already 3... now there are 4.
So, tomorrow is Saturday and after I take the Scouts down to sell mistletoe for their fund-raiser, I'll be back to install the baseboard, move the Coke machine and washer/dryer in and be DONE!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Didn't make it by Thanksgiving...

I was supposed to have this done before Amy got here with her family for Thanksgiving. Maybe it will be done by Dec 12 when Diane's family is here for Christmas!

Cabinets are built and ready to install and paint.

Plumbing is done (moved inside the wall, it was outside) Had to move the gas line, hot and cold water, and drain. I also installed two additional outlets for the vending machine and the dryer. Installed new sub-floor & insulation (I'm trying to figure out how to get a heater vent in here.)

Actually as of Nov. 23. 2010, the sheet rock is also installed, but I don't have a picture yet.

So, just need to paint, install & paint cabinets, install floor, base & case, and new door to kitchen.

By Dec 12? Piece of cake!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On with the remodel (and the rest of life)

When I first started this blog it was just to record a few things from our life that I thought would be fun for our kids to read on the web. Since I got such a hoot out of reading theirs, I figured I would do one too! Diane quickly took over and became the more frequent blogger, but she has now moved on to Facebook and doesn't come here any more. So, I am pretty much back at the helm. The previous post, The Front Porch Floor, promised updates on the continuing remodel of our "vintage" 1932 Wrightwood cabin between vacations, scouts and other distractions of life. So, on we go... I need to get this back porch remodeled to match the now "relatively new" kitchen.

This back door serves as the most frequent entrance for us and most visitors... not very attractive.
But first I had to take the Scouts to Camp Whitsett and a few other trips.

Like the West Rim Trail in Zion National Park

And a little trip up Mt. Baden-Powell, and a couple others you can see on the Scout Blog

And we had to do a Family Reunion at my sister's beach house in Capitola

It was cool weather and cold water (yeah, spoiled by Hawaii), but an awesome time!

And a beautiful house to gather great kids and grand kids for crafts and fun

Di and I took a little weekend trip to Sedona, one of our favorite places

Had breakfast at our favorite breakfast spot

This is Di's self-portrait at the information center, I guess they were warning us to beware of the local wildlife!
We went up to Lake Powell and took a river raft "float" down the Colorado. A "float" means there is no white water and it's not a very exciting ride. Beautiful scenery, and nice to be on the water, though. And I have always wanted to see this stretch of the river.

And last weekend we went up to TeriLe's birthday party in Washington.
Here are all the Washington grand kids!

And we got to spend some time with Tyler's family here in SoCal. Here are the boys at the lake.

And we went to Grandparents day at Taylor's school.

Here we are waiting in line for pictures. But, what the heck, we had a camera too!

And just this weekend we got to have the twins up for a sleep-over. That was super-fun.

We went to the park

And took more pictures

But now, it's time to get to work. This is almost a before picture... I have already moved the water heater down to the basement and forgot to get a picture first. But the water heater used to be in that corner behind the Coke machine.
It's new home is in the basement. I tried to move the existing one to save some money, but it didn't move well. So we now have a new one all snug and secure in it's blanket under the house. It was nice that a flue, gas line, and water lines were all conveniently located.
Next project, the door.
Now, remember, nothing in this old house is level, plumb, square, or standard size. The original entry door was only 28" so I needed to open it up for a 32" 9-lite entry door. To do that, I needed to move the light switches and the porch light over 4" as well.
Here is the new door.
It makes the house look crooked (which it is) because the new door is now level and plumb.
And on we go. Next, move the plumbing to move the washer to the other side of the dryer under the window so we can put cabinets between the washer/dryer and the Coke machine. Then repair all the drywall, put in a new sub-floor, build and install the cabinets and install the new flooring to match the kitchen and front porch. All before Thanksgiving? Well, maybe. We'll see. Di has said I can move the washer/dryer to the Little Red House so I don't have to work around them. She also said I should take some vacation days to get this done. I think she wants it done quicker than the kitchen!
So, long post, but I figure I'm the only one who reads it anyway!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Front Porch Floor

When started to remodel the kitchen over two years ago we bought enough flooring to do the front porch and the back porch when we remodeled it. Since it's been awhile, I figured I'd better get busy. So before I tackle the major job in back, I figured I'd better put in the front porch floor... it's been sitting in packages at the end of the porch since November 2008.

Tyler says, "after 15 years, NO AstroTurf"! It was really an indoor-outdoor carpet. But it did look like AstroTurf!

I just moved the furniture back and forth as I worked across the floor.

And a couple of shots of the finished project.

Now to put screens on the windows and a shade on the west end to block the hot sun and we'll have our new "sun porch". I think I'll refinish Grandma Brack's table, too. It's pretty old and weary, but it seats 8 so it's nice to have.

Next to come in the back porch... move the water heater downstairs, build cabinets to match the kitchen, scoot the washer & dryer over under the window (move plumbing), new doors, paint, & new floor. Sounds like a fun summer in between vacations and Scout outings... and work.

Monday, April 26, 2010

As Andy would say, "Trampoyeen!"

OK, so I'm not all that techie and don't know how to actually put this video on the blog... so just click on the link.

Nothing is quite as good as Grandma & grand kids giggling!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Irene Teresa Brack Boylin

(I know this is long, but so many people have asked for it, I thought I would just put it here)

Irene Brack was born in 1921 in Hurley, Wisconsin, the 1st child of John and Mary Brack. Her mother had immigrated to the United States from Italy when she was 18, and had crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. Her father was a shoemaker and owned a general store and shoe repair business in town, and for a time, they lived in an apartment above the store. She had one sister, Dorie, and one brother, Mario. Irene lived in Hurley until she was 18 – surrounded by extended family and a large community of Italian immigrants. She had fond memories of family picnics at the lake, the men playing bocce ball, wonderful food, and lots of friends to play with. She attended Catholic school and remembers one nun in particular who had a little red curl that would creep out from under her habit. Before she saw that, she thought the nun’s had no hair.

After High School Irene got a job working as a nurse at a sanitarium and moved out of her parent’s home. A few years later, after the start of WWII, she decided to serve our country and see the world and she joined the SPARS, the women’s division of the US Coast Guard. The SPARS sent her “out into the world” (San Francisco, California) where she soon met a handsome Coast Guard sailor from Utah who literally swept her off her feet at a USO dance. As Irene told the story, Don escorted her home. She said, “As we were going down the hill, he said “I’ll throw you over my shoulder and run down the hill. I said, “You wouldn’t dare!” He threw me over his shoulder and ran all the way down that hill – it was one of the steepest in San Francisco. Then we went on the cable car and we began dancing on the cable car. Somehow or another, they used to have those fruit stands out in the front, and the next thing I knew I had a lemon in my hand. When we got to the barracks and Don went to kiss me goodnight I stuck the lemon right in front of him and he kissed the lemon instead of me.” After three months of courtship, they were married and when she called home to say she had married a Mormon, her family asked, “what’s a Mormon?”

When they had finished their service in the Coast Guard, Don and Irene Boylin moved to Southern California and promptly had 3 boys, Denny, Rick, and Bud. They lived in Oakland, South San Gabriel, East Los Angeles, Wrightwood, Victorville, and San Bernardino. In South San Gabriel they attended the Mission Park Ward. The Anderson’s and Wilmott’s attended there too, and Herb Anderson was a 6 year old in her class. After serving for a time as a Primary teacher, Irene finally joined the Church. She went on to serve in many callings including Librarian, Relief Society President, and Junior Sunday School Coordinator.

For those of you who don’t remember Junior Sunday School, here is how meetings went before the three hour “block.” First, Primary was in the afternoon on a weekday and the Youth Auxiliaries met on a weekday evening. On Sunday, the Priesthood would meet early in the morning and then would go back home to get the family for Sunday School. Then we would come back in the evening for Sacrament meeting. In Sunday School we would have an opening song and prayer, we would have the Sacrament; a couple of 2 ½ minute talks and song practice and then break for classes. The Primary aged children had their own Sunday School, with opening exercises, their own Sacrament (a few young men would be assigned to this coveted duty) and songs before they separated to their classes. The leader of this wonderful auxiliary was a sister, similar to a Primary president.

Sister Boylin was Junior Sunday School Coordinator in San Bernardino 2nd and 4th Wards for 15 years. She served countless children as the leader of their Sunday School, as well as supported and served many teachers through the years. The Waterman building in San Bernardino had a Jr. Sunday School room with child sized pews that made it easier to maintain order and reverence with all the children. Many times the Priesthood tried to remodel the room and take out the pews and use folding chairs… But Sister Boylin wouldn’t have it. As long as she remained, the pews remained and the children had their own little chapel for Sunday School.

Irene enjoyed being a homemaker and mother. While living in South San Gabriel, her oldest son, Denny, contracted osteomyelitis and was hospitalized in Los Angeles. Irene didn’t know how to drive at the time but learned quickly so she could get to the hospital to see her little boy. After several years (and after moving to Wrightwood) Don and Irene finally had the little girl they had hoped for, Diane. During their 3 years in Wrightwood they owned and operated the Laundromat. They were one of only 3 LDS families in town and the only one that was active in the church. They traveled each Sunday all the way to Victorville to attend worship services. Since some of the camps couldn’t pay their laundry bills, making ends meet in Wrightwood was difficult, so Don and Irene sold the business and moved to Victorville, where their last son, Keith, was born. They soon moved to San Bernardino, bought a new home, and lived there for 36 years.

While living in San Bernardino, the Ward they were attending was divided and she really didn’t feel that she fit in to the new Ward and didn’t have many friends. Her husband talked to the Bishop about it and the next thing she knew, she was called to be the Relief Society President. She would reminisce that back in those days the Relief Society earned their own budget, so they would put on an annual Bazaar. She and her sisters in Relief Society would work together all year on crafts to sell at the Bazaar and she learned to love the women in that Ward. When the Ward was divided again years later, she would really miss them.

When her children were young, she served often as a great taxi driver taking them to all their activities. She drove a variety of old vehicles including one with no windows and one with doors that had to be tied shut. But the kids got to all their activities.

After the kids were grown Don was in a motorcycle accident and received some money in a settlement. Irene was thrilled to get new cabinets in her kitchen and a new family room addition for family gatherings. They also bought a used motor home and took a vacation across the country. She was excited to travel and see the sights of the country and was only sad that they couldn’t see everything. She really wanted to see the Amish country but they were traveling with friends in another motor home and had to keep on schedule, so they didn’t have time to stop. She said she wanted to try their food, but I think she wanted to see how they did their crafts!

Irene’s husband, Don, passed away in 1981. Irene was shy and not out-going but her children were pleasantly surprised to see that she kept herself busy with Church and social activities. She even attended a few singles activities but later told me that there were too many single women for the few eligible men, but she wasn’t interested anyway. She had the love of her life and would wait to be with him again.

Irene became fast friends with Wilma Bomboy and went walking with her often. Wilma had lost her husband also and they would walk and talk and cheer each other up. Later, Wilma made a little homemade plaque for Irene with this poem on it that she had written:

You made the day brighter
For me, my friend,
Because of your cheery smile,
Because of the words you said to me
When you walked with me awhile.
So when the day is done, my friend,
I think of you the while,
Of the cheery things you said to me
And your warm and friendly smile.

In 1994 Irene moved back to Wrightwood because she wanted to live closer to her daughter, Diane. She moved into a little cabin 3 doors down from us and lived there for 5 years. She loved to sit at the window and watch the squirrels and birds and neighbors. She attended Church with us and came to love the ladies in the Wrightwood Ward, just as she had done in San Bernardino so many years before. Soon she began to need a little more care and moved into her daughter’s home. We settled her into an upstairs bedroom and she loved it there. She told me she felt like she had her own little place in the mountains. Our bedroom is downstairs, and as she became less mobile we offered to switch bedrooms with her but she would not have it… she liked her room and she was going to stay there. When the nurses started coming to care for her a year ago they suggested she move downstairs so they could serve her a little easier. But just like with the Junior Sunday School, Irene stood her ground. She had her room and nobody was going to change it.

Her joy during this period was when people would come by to visit. Many friends in the Wrightwood Ward would drop by to chat and see how she was doing. When we went out of town we never worried because we always had lots of volunteers to drop in and see how she was. Sometimes I think she liked for us to be gone because she got more visitors! She loved when the whole family came to visit. She usually didn’t like leaving her comfortable room, but when the family came, she would pull her oxygen tube all the way down the stairs and watch all the action. At Christmastime when we would squeeze 30 or so people into our little living room, she would just sit and watch and smile. She couldn’t hear well and wasn’t part of many conversations, but as she told me, she would sit until she had worn herself out watching.

Sister Boylin was named after her mother’s sister Irene, her Godmother Teresa, and her confirmation sponsor Angeline. I’m sure all of them, and all of us, are very proud of the wonderful life that Irene Teresa Angeline Brack Boylin lived.

Perhaps her granddaughter Elaine summed it up best, “ We will miss Grandma Boylin’s ability to make each person feel as if they were the very person she most wanted to see walk through her door.”

Irene was a true follower of Jesus Christ, doing good where ever she went. May we, in her honor, declare ourselves to be more fully deciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not in word only, but also in deed, as she did. May we stand by Jesus Christ at all times, and in all things, and in all places that we may be in, even until death. For surely, that is how he, and she, stood by us.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Acorn Trail

My nephew Dustin called last week and said he was going up the Acorn Trail on Saturday. I said, you'd better have ice axe and crampons! (I thought I was really warning him of something!) He said, yeah, I've got 'em... where do I park? So I told him, and then on Saturday morning I went out and thought I'd meet him on the trail for fun. But he was running a little late and after I went about a half mile up I had to turn around because I didn't have ice axe and crampons! It's still pretty deep up there. I finally saw him just as he was parking down below the "private road" sign and got to say hi and that I was jealous. He and a friend were planning on going up to Dawson to build an igloo and spend the night.
My first thought when seeing this track was Mountain Lion! It's a pretty big track. I was out in the morning when cougar like to eat breakfast, so I was a little nervous and considered turning back since I was solo. Then I noticed the toe nails (read = big dog). A cougar track is also a little wider at the top of the pad behind the toes. So, on I went.

Snow is patchy at the beginning but makes it hard to follow the trail if you don't know where it is.

The trail is pretty well covered from about a half mile up. There was no way to continue without crampons. I decided I need to add those to my equipment list. I don't know if one can be a "real" mountain man without them. In fact, I'm pretty sure. Craigslist, here I come.