Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Sixth Decade

I turned 60 last week Saturday.  

Yep, the Big Six-O.  

 I remember in the past, a few acquaintances of mine said they wanted to stay in bed all day upon turning thirty.  In our youth-oriented society, they now felt so old; all the good times were over.  Alas, they failed to remain forever twenty-one.
Don't let the sun go down on me.......

 Curiously, I don't recall ever feeling sad or alarmed on my milestone birthdays.   Forty was noneventful.  Fifty was half a century.  And sixty?  Well, I woke up on my birthday, cautiously stretched my limbs while I was still in bed to check for any new malfunctions, and decided I felt pretty much the same way I'd felt the night before; not great, but still here.  

I've been accused of going from zero to sixty many times in my life, so now I have the actual years behind me.

 There I am at fifty-nine and seven-eighths, a rather rare picture of me....I was buying new eyeglass frames without lenses and since I cannot see myself, Carl insisted on taking a picture of the ol' gray ghost at the optometrist's office in early March.  

Though I'm ok with the passage of time and the ravages to my appearance, apparently not everyone is.  I was at church one day and an elderly lady asked me why I was letting myself go, "I didn't even recognize you!  Why don't you dye your hair?  You look so OLD!"  

You'd think I would have been offended, but I wasn't.  I suppose I should have been?  Her unfiltered commentary did unnerve me a little bit at first, but I feel I've earned all the gray hair on my head.    It makes me look more mature, even though I'm not as wise as I should be yet.  I feel as if my age is finally catching up to my personality.

Since my father was forty-five and my mother was thirty-eight when I was born, I have been around older people all of my life.  My friends in school used to say they felt sorry for me because my parents looked like my grandparents.  The odd thing was, I never noticed; in fact, I used to feel sorry for my friends because their parents didn't look dry behind the ears yet.   How could those mere children be parents?

Well, moving on.......the winter passed by so quickly, it has all been a blur.  We've been spending countless hours at the assisted living facility with Carl's parents.  They are doing as well as can be expected, but we've had many adjustments and challenges to deal with since they were admitted in November.  I'm just about done with my mother's estate, thankfully.  So many lawyers, financial institutions and hoops to jump through, and it all takes a vast amount of time.

Due to our life at the moment, for the second winter in a row there was nothing done with our stained glass obsession. Well, I guess I shouldn't say nothing has happened; we didn't finish any stained glass projects, but we certainly did acquire more stained glass to work with.  Yes, we added more to the hoard we already have.  I know.  When will we learn?

I was having a hard time sleeping one night, and wandered over to Craigslist online to see what trouble I could get into there.  That site and me have a scary history; I keep finding things I think we can use.  Yes, just what we need, more projects.  (Has no one invented a Sarcasm Font yet?)

Back in September, I found the listing for the tree grates (we still haven't found the perfect spot for them, yet, nor have I drawn up or created the stained glass inserts, either) but since we already owned two of them, we had to have four more.

Carl is hard at work making some frames for the grates.  With any luck, we'll have them done before summer.  But I won't have the stained glass ready, that I do know.

So where was I?  Oh, yeah, I was bumbling around in Craigslist when I came across an ad for twelve pieces of stained glass included with pictures of some very high quality material.  I was immediately interested.  We don't have a wholesale account so we have to purchase glass locally at retail prices (or make a run directly to a factory nine hundred miles away when they are open to the public for sales.)  Retail stores don't carry much in the type of glass we need, either, so it was worth the one hundred-fifty mile drive to pick up a dozen gorgeous sheets.

Long story short, the seller was about three hours from us and we had a bit of a problem coordinating our schedules, but we finally made the trip two weeks ago.  We decided for a small amount of glass we did not need the trailer, so we clambered into the Buick and headed to southern Wisconsin.

When we arrived at the seller's home, we were stunned to find he actually had over one hundred sheets of stained glass of various sizes and a myriad of colors he was hoping to sell at some point to someone.   His uncle was an artist and had passed away a few years earlier and the family was trying to sell off his inventory.  He'd listed the twelve sheets as a start to see if he could move a little at a time.   So far, prospective buyers had not been interested in the stash because it wasn't suitable for suncatchers; many people prefer very transparent (or cathedral) glass for hobbies.  The glass in question was not see-through; this was true high-quality art glass, ideal for lamps and the type of work we do. 

We made him an offer for everything he had and he accepted it gladly.  He was very happy to have it out of his basement and his garage and we were thrilled to have found such an amazing collection of stunning art glass at a wonderful price. 

The only downfall was we hadn't brought the trailer or a crate to haul our purchase with.  We didn't have the time to make the six hour round-trip to get the trailer and come back,  so Carl made the decision to load up the car and hope for the best.  

FYI: Stained glass should never be stored horizontally and never stacked more than a few sheets together due to the weight.  Unfortunately, we had no choice but to stuff it into the Buick's big trunk with cardboard from the seller's stash between each sheet.  
The LeSabre trunk load
 There was some cathedral glass in with the art glass, but that is fine; we can use everything we purchased (if we live to be one hundred, but hey, we're a little bit goofy, so don't pick on us).   

 Once the trunk was full, we started stacking the bigger sheets in the back seat along with totes full of glass cut to square foot dimensions:
Even as we were loading it, we heard glass cracking, but there really wasn't much we could do about it at that point.  We drove very cautiously all the way home.  Luckily, only ten pieces broke which is a shame, but they are all still useable.  

We called Joel when we arrived at home who came out to help us transport the glass into the house.  We stacked it up on every available wall in the dining room, living room and hallway.

We've been slowly but surely trying to find room in our racks in the basement for the new acquisitions.  Much of this glass is not made any longer, either, as the factories had gone out of production decades ago.  Every piece is a treat to behold.

One thing is for certain, this should keep us busy for at least another few decades.  

While Joel was still here that night, I waved my arm around the house and announced in my best Monty Python-esque voice:

Poor Joel.



FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Belated 60th bday dearest Karen ~ I love that photo of you!!! Saved it to my Quarry Garden folder. :-) I think your hair color is beautiful! Check out pinterest for silver/gray/white locks, it is 'IN', or at least very acceptable, to be those colors.

Oh my goodness it's Christmas in March with that fantastic glass haul!!! Way to go. It was a blessing for you and the gentleman who unloaded it all in one fell swoop.

Happy Creating ~ I love my two hearts with rose piece.

Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

Charade said...

Welcome to the exclusive Gray-White-&-Silver Club. It truly is an honor to wear our age front and center. While my daughter and her friends are trying to cover any sign of gray (or in her case, pluck out every new stray gray), they are quick to acknowledge and admire the confidence of us Boomers to just go with it. I do wish my mother and grandmother had embraced their gray, but they seemed to be somewhat defeated by it.

Good score on the glass!

Pam's English Garden said...

You tell the BEST stories,Karen. Love this one about the glass. What an exciting find -- I look forward to seeing some of your creations with it. Happy belated birthday! You look wonderful! P. x

Alison said...

What a great tale about finding such a wonderful stash of art glass! I'm so glad you managed to get most of it home without breaking it. Given that you cut most of it up into smaller pieces for lamps, it probably isn't too much of a tragedy that some of them broke. I had a long list of winter projects I had hoped to get done too. I only did one, a very small one, and I have no older parent excuses (unless it is the one that I myself am an older parent). Sorry your winter went by so fast and you got to do so little of the fun stuff.

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Happy 60th Karen!!! I'm approaching it in September and find that I don't really care so far. lol What a wonderful find on Craig's List for all the stain glass, so glad you were able to get it all and look forward to seeing more projects y'all complete. Have a great week!

Missy, John & Ros said...

Belated Happy Birthday Karen. You do realise don't you that you will have to live to 120 now to use up all of that glass. Looking forward to seeing some of your creations

Barbara Kelberlau said...

Hi I sure wish you were near me. A couple of years ago I saw an ad on Craigslist for free stained glass. My sister was interested so I answered the add and there were tons of sheets and containers of scrap. I hauled it all home and we sorted it but tragically my sister became ill and passed away very quickly. I do fused glass but have no use for this glass except for a few mosaics. Most people around here (S. Oregon) fuse. We both loved to read your blog and I still do.

Indie said...

Happy birthday!! I have a relative who is having a hard time with turning 30, which I find rather funny. I'm honestly glad I'm past a lot of those stages in life of being young. What a wonderful find on Craigslist! What beautiful glass! Sometimes it's just so much fun to think of the things you could make with beautiful material, even if it doesn't all get made.

chavliness said...

Sensational at Sixty should be your new mantra. Not everyone can pull off a white head of hair, but you do. It suits you.
I hope you get great joy out of all the glass sheets. I can't wait to see what you come up with. I'm also interested in where you place those fabulous metal tree grates.

outlawgardener said...

Happy 60th Karen! I hope this lucky glass find is just the first many spectacular surprises in store for your during your next decade! I feel very fortunate to live twenty minutes from the glass shop where I work and get a huge discount and in a region with so many, albeit far fewer now, glass companies. You got some great glass and I look forward to seeing what you do with it once time allows as you always make such amazing stuff! It's always good to add to the glass hoard, even if you never use it all. Sometimes I just drag up a particularly interesting piece and prop it up in a window to enjoy. "Has no one invented a Sarcasm Font yet?" made me laugh out loud! Your posts have been missed.

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Pamela Gordon said...

Happy 60th Birthday Karen! Welcome to a new decade. It's not bad at all. I'm getting closer to the other end but still think like I'm in my 30's. Blessings to you! Pam