Saturday, December 17, 2005

 

Sat. Dec. 17th- Doing what needs to be done

Over the years I have handled many more things while being a Wife and Mother. Worked in a dept store- working up to Manager of my own Dept. after just 3 months, ran a bike shop - could build a bike from scratch wheels and all, plus do repairs , ran a grocery store, was a Cub Scout leader for 15 years, also a Scout Badge councelor and a trainer for new Leaders, plus scout summer camp worker, and I also was raising 8 kids at the same time , ours and his from a former marriage. Running a home also had many problems that I had to learn how to handle while Walt was working. I was never one to say "Wait till your Father gets home, I took being a parent seriously- as much my responsibility as their Fathers, Well, actually more my responsibility as I was with them more. The Bike shop and Grocery Store were on our property so it left me home with the kids.Walt worked a 40 hour week, and sometimes on Saturday. He worked days all except for 5 years.
Here are some of the home jobs that I handlesdover the years.

I learned how to prime a pump to get it working , how to adjust an oil furnace, how to thaw out water pipes, put in a window and loads of other things thru my over 50 years of Marriage-- all due to necessity.

When the pump wouldn`t run, I learned how to open the plug and prime it. I learned how to put my ear on the check valve and listen to hear if it was opening and closing properly. When it quit on me the first time, Walt was working, so I phoned my dad and over the phone he would tell me what to try. I was a good listener and after that time, I always knew what to do. I learned how to use soapy water on all the pipe connections to see if their was an air leak somewhere. After many years we finally had to drive down longer pipe further into the well as the water was low that year. After we added on the city water due to the old pump being rusted. Last summer I bought a new pump, a new cold water tank lining and new point and pipe. My three sons pulled up the old pump and point and drove down a new one for me. The chemicals in the town water didn`t agree with my stomach., so I wanted to get the well water workinmg again.
Then when Walt was night watchman for about 5 years I had a furnace that quit and wouldn`t run. Again, there was my faithful Dad telling me how to get it running again.
I learned how to pull out the nozzle and electrode assembly and how to adjust them correctly. On the old furnace there had to be only a 3/32 inch space between the end of the nozzle and the end of the electrode above it, plus the distance between the two electrodes had to be just between 2/16 to 3/16th of an inch apart. So, I always knew they were set right as I would recheck them with a ruler every year when we replaced the new nozzle. But, I never played around with the air adjustments. The flame was the right size and color when that winter started so it should have been alright. But, for some reason it must have changed. One time Walt adjusted the air and he had it too much and he blew some of the pipes off the furnace. I heard it upstairs and it scared me so much that I rushed down cellar to be sure Walt was ok. I knew he had cut the air too much so all the fuel wasn`t burning and that was allowing the fuel to build up so it blew when it lit. I had stopped checking the furnace after walt retired as I figured let him do it. He would still have me come check with the ruler to be sure he had the nozzle and electrodes placed correctly, but that was just when we replaced the nozzle as we put in a new one every year. The furnace was just getting too old and we needed a new one. Today, I wonder if we would have had the Carbon monoxide poisioning if I had kept checking the furnace after he retired. I will never know.
I remember how the old nozzles would get clogged and you had to remove them and clean them. That usually only happened when the fuel supply got down too low. Today, I never clean them, I always buy a new one and I never let the fuel burn to the bottom of the tank as thats when it cloggs. .
My Dad never acted like he was tired of my calling him. If what he suggested didn`t work, then i would call him back and he would tell me something else to try. If that didn`t do the trick, he never let me call more than 3 times before he would say " let me know if that doesn`t do the trick and I`ll drive up and help you. But, he never had to make that half hours drive as I was always able to get either the pump or the furnace working using his advice. I always considered my Dad a very smart person.
We also had water pipes that ran thru the crawl space under the addition we added on for a larger kitchen. They would freeze up every winter and I would need to crawl under with a blow torch to thaw them out. There wasn`t enough room to turn over under there so in order to work you had climb onto a chair and pull yourself thru on your back to crawl thru that small cellar window going backwards. Now if you ever tried climbing upward and going thru on your back, you won`t know how hard that is to do. Would have been easy if could have climb thru on my stomach, but on my back was terrible hard. You see, we just removed the glass window from the frame on that end of the house to go under the addition. It always frooze overnight and Walt had to leave for work so early that he didn`t have time to thaw them. I was always afraid of catching either my hair or my clothes. Noone would even have known where to look for me as I had to do this and have the water running when I got the kids up for school.
Well, one winter Walt went to the hosp for an op and while he was gone I used a pointed metal bar , think it was called a long handled ice pick which i used to knocked out the metal window frame and a small area of the cement blocks to make an opening to allow heat from the cellar to go under the addition. No more frozen pipes.
Then there was the years that I begged for a window in the boys bedroom and couldn`t win. Finally I decided a way to win. I went to Grossmans ( they used to be our local wood place). I asked the fellow for a paper, pencil and a ruler to measure one of his windows. He gave me the paper and pencil and took a new tape measure off the wall for me to use. After I measured the window I wanted, I asked him if he could put a hold on that double window for me to pick up after my husband got home from work. Then I came home, got out my coping saw and Walts drill and upstairs I went. First it was to drill a hole large enough for my blade to fit into, cut out the sheetrock, then cut out a section of the 2x4 wall framing, then remove that section of insulation, then drill and saw out a section of the outside house framing, and finally thru the outside house sheeting. I finally had an opening cut out the exact size of the window I had measured. Then I went just far enough around the inside opening to put in a box framework to slide the window into and I cut the piece of the 2x4 that I removed into a size to give a section for added support under the window box frame.
Then when Walt came home that night I told him he needed to drive with me to Grossmans to pick up the window for the boys room. He looked at me and said no. I told him he better give in this time if he didn`t want it raining and snowing into the house. He said " What did you do now?" Told him I had the opening all ready and just needed to pick up the window and slide it in and tack it in place. He told me it probably wouldn`t fit. He got a surprise as the window fit perfectly. I had made sure the window corners were square and that my opening was also square. So I was sure it would fit. Sure made it a lot cooler in the hot summer when there was a window to open. A few years later Walt and I removed the larger window from the girls room and replaced it with one that opened with a screen in it.
Took me years before I ever went against Walts wishes, but where the kids were concerned I did stand my ground with what was best for their health. I finally learned that the way to get something done was to get it started while he wasn`t home. That way he had to either let me finish it or help me do it.
Too bad I didn`t learn this years before and we might have had a better home years earlier.
He was easier to win with after he realized I knew what I was talking about. You see he didn`t come from a family where his Dad showed them how to do things. His Dad could make chairs from trees, but he was too big a drinker to be a good father. I was luckier to have parents there to help. Walt built our home with the help of a brother-in-law. But, no matter what he did, he kept thinking he couldn`t do much. I was always trying to proove to him that he was a lot smarter than he gave himself credit for.
Life is only as good as the hard work you put into it. Nothing comes easy. If you wantsomething you must be prepared to work for it. That was the way I was brought up. And I taught my kids the same thing so everyone of them is a hard worker. I am lucky as I have great kids who would do anything for me. I am proud of them all. Even my youngest Daughter who became a Prison Guard. Not my type of work, but have to respect her choices.

Comments:
Dot,
Every post you publish is giving me a chance to know about a woman who I can call in awe as an 'amzing Mom, wife and mother'.

Your posts have become part of my daily routine not because of the beauty of the layout but for the vaue of pure unadulterated truth expressed in simple language. It sparks memories in my mind about my childhood and my mom, surprisigly more about my Mom.

Your wisdom in your true life stories of struggle and love, laced with hardships makes me wonder if I have seen life at all.
I have just one thing to tell you, Dot! keep blogging as it is becoming an addiction to me to read your blogs with out fail.
 
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