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.