Sabra, now that she is mostly retired from her job at the veterinary clinic, has become even more fastidious. Yesterday, for example, I found her on the top step of a small ladder dusting the hooks that the pots and pans hang from in the kitchen.
“How can you tell they’re dusty if they’re over your head?” I asked. You’d think after 14 years of marriage I’d know better than to ask such a question but then some things never change. “Well, I can see them while I’m on the ladder,” she replied, not amused at being slowed down with silly questions.
Watching her made me weary so I got a beer out the refrigerator, leaned against the counter, shut my mouth and watched her a little longer. Then I noticed something that has escaped me this past decade: the reflection on the door of our refrigerator made me look at least 20 pounds thinner.
The unit is a fancy-schmancy Sub Zero that came with the house. Neither of us like it very much. I don’t care for the side-by-side configuration, which makes it hard to get at the ketchup on the refrigerator side and the French Fries on the freezer side. What were they thinking? Sabra doesn’t like the gloss black finish, which shows every little smudge and print as if projected into three dimensions. Neither of us like that the door is plastic thereby defeating the institution of using funky little magnets to post photos of the grandkids and their artwork.
The thinning effect of the door is a plus, however. Do you think GE designed it that way?
When I’m not watching my spouse clean I’ve been scroll sawing. I find it very relaxing. I sit on a stool under a heat lamp in the garage. The saw is one of the few power tools that doesn’t make a ton of noise so I can listen to the radio while I work and the time flies by. Currently, I’m making little wooden Christmas ornaments that I designed myself and will be giving as gifts this year.
The other garage project is making giant-sized Jenga® games using two-by-fours. We saw and played the on-steroid version of the popular game at a restaurant during a bicycle trip in central Iowa. Jenga®, especially the oversized one, is a fun game and great crowd pleaser as people “ooh” and “aah” as the tower grows ever closer to tumbling.
A quick search of the Internet turned up dozens of instructions for reproducing the game with two by fours. The simplest called for doing no more than buying a good grade of dimension lumber and then cutting it into ten-and-a-half inch chunks. The most complicated called for the boards to be planed, routed, sanded three times with ever-finer grit paper and finished with tongue oil. Guess which method I liked, which one Sabra liked, and which one we’re actually following?
The great thing about Sabra is that she doesn’t complain when she has to do a job herself to get it done to her specifications. In the case of the Jenga® project, this means that she’s happily sanding away in the garage.
She did let me help with the cutting, however.
When we moved here I invested in a compound miter saw with a 10-inch blade and plenty of horsepower. Get that puppy running and it’ll cut through about anything up to a six-by-six inch block of hardwood. As mentioned before in this space, I’m from the school of “cut twice before measuring,” and I use the saw a lot to turn mistakes into kindling for the fireplace.
Since I wanted the pieces to be uniform and the job to go quickly, I set up a stop block on the saw’s fence to make every piece identical. It was enough to satisfy me but not my sweet spouse. As I lopped off piece after piece she dutifully measured each one to make sure it was exactly ten-and-one half inches.
For me, I’d be happy as long as the final product was within a 16th of an inch, but she measured each to the nearest 128th.
It was a little frustrating, so I got a beer and stood in front of the refrigerator.