Knowing the Vintage

I was up and at it all the earlier again this morning with a list of personal chores needing my attention, so I figured it best to be at my office sooner so to get my Sunday spiritual exercise done before heading out to my first project.

Having not had the best of night’s sleep, I was still a little drowsy when I went to pray in my darkened corner. I spent more time there because I felt a need to get myself all the more refreshed from all the un-necessary excitement I was involved in last week. After finishing up, I was all the more calmed and ready to tackle the workweek ahead.

Most of my morning was spent toiling on some clean-up, but had to cut it short because of the thunderstorm which crept in unexpectedly. I’m not sure where the weather reporters are getting their news because I purposely looked at this weekend’s weather yesterday morning, and that’s all it said was something about possible scattered showers.
What took place this morning, was definitely not “scattered showers”, but very much glad it arrived because of how dry everything was getting. I still can’t believe how so many trees were affected by our drought. With cell phone in hand, I took the above photo of those creepy-dark clouds rolling in which is why it appears grainy.

Having to cut my scheduled workout short due to the rain, I headed back to my office and changed into another set of work clothes and went over to my little project. Today’s tedious chore was to do some stripping of paint which I loathe with a passion, but somebody has to do it, and since I really don’t like using chemicals indoors, I took what needed stripping out into the garage where there was all the more fresh air circulation.

Whatever type of paint they used back in the early 1900’s was made to stick like glue, and unfortunately there were at least four coats needing to be removed. Having stripped such paint in the past, I knew it was going to be a chore, and that it was. By the time I was ready to throw in the towel, I had all the layers off, and left there with just one more clean-up strip before it’ll be good to go. I dare not tell how small the areas of paint I removed, because if you looked at it, you’d think I’d been playing more than working. Not so.

As much stripping of paint and varnish I’ve done over these long years, after a paint-strip job was finally done, I’d insist that I would never again strip something that has that old paint on it. I sure listen to myself don’t I? Perhaps the reason I “cave” is my sensing the vintage beauty of the wood under all those layers, and perhaps my sub-conscious continues to remind me, “Because you know how to bring back the beauty old growth wood, just do it and stop your complaining.”

As chance would have it, I’ve been working with a customer these past months, and he passingly said how he likes re-purposing wood, and some day I may ask him if he’s up for a “re-use” of an old and decrepit reed parlor organ which has some very good pieces of solid walnut lumber in it. I took a real good look at that organ, and it’s mechanicals are in such sad shape, it wouldn’t be worth trying to restore it, and having listened to one being played a very many years ago, they’re definitely not the most pleasant sounding. Back when those were built and sold, they were likely more a conversation/status piece than something one would use on a regular basis.

I just about got a good stinging today when I moved something in the corner of an old garage this morning because unbeknownst to me, there was a nest of those nasty yellow jacket bumble bees which are able to deliver the most painful of stings. You can bet I was out of there like greased lightening. I’ve been stung by them twice in my life, and the pain from their stingers are still registering in my memory banks.

Speaking of bees, I’ve not seen but only two honey bees so far this summer which has me concerned. I’m sure most of you’ve heard how their numbers are dwindling which is not a good thing for many of our fruits which rely on their pollinating skills. As many of us know, they’re under attack from all sides, and hopefully there’ll be more earth-friendly young organic farmers who’ll have their own apiaries and start selling their honey at our area farmers markets. Some months ago I watched a special about honeybees on PBS which caused me to be even more against the over-use of insecticides. Speaking of insects, those Japanese beetle traps I purchased have been working very well, and glad I heard about them more sooner than later.

Before heading home, I made a trip out to Fleet Farm to pick up some supplies, and while there, I noticed again how people in stores are blamefully careless about their social distancing. I’m now waiting for the stores to start installing wide turnstiles at their check-out lanes because for some reason, shoppers seem to like standing too close to the ones ahead of them. They oft times remind me of antsy children who just can’t wait their turn.

The gentleman at the check-out got a good flushed face from me when thinking he’d given me the correct change when in fact he shorted me $10. After realizing what happened, he couldn’t have been more apologetic, but wicked little me couldn’t help teasing him un-mercilessly by saying, “So this is how you’re able to drive that shiny new car you have parked outside?” Yes, sometimes we have to shame people into watching what they’re doing more closely, and especially when it comes to making change. Just these past months, I’ve had it happen to me more than ever before and likely due to the stress everyone’s under with this pandemic along with all the more “plastic” being used.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Take from a man his reputation for probity, the more shrewd and clever he grows, and all the more hated and mistrusted he becomes.

Joe Chodur

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