I left the house this morning at 7:20 to take Beth and Jonathan to school. When I got home I assembled a fifth canvas for the backdrop we were making for Camp In. I loaded the rest of the canvasses in the car, plus the paint, brushes, and some tools. Then Va and I headed over to the church (two cars).

The first order of business was to hang the canvasses. But I needed some hardware for that. We went to Home Depot and bought some eye screws and some ceiling hooks. By then, Jonathan’s class for the day was over and it was almost lunch time. So we went and picked him up and then partook of the buffet at Pizza Hut.

My best joke of the day: Hut cuisine. So now you know how hilarious the day must have been.

Back to the church to hang the canvasses (with Jonathan’s help). Then we painted the fifth one light blue and then started painting grass on the others. Eventually, Beth got out of class too, and she helped paint grass as well. I gave her my outer shirt to wear as a smock which kept her from ruining her shirt, but it did not keep her from ruining her jeans. Oh well.

We painted all afternoon. And all evening. Va took Beth home at 7:30, and I stayed and painted until 9:30. Our backdrop now features a barn, a grape arbor, two apple trees, two other trees (species unknown), a pair of peach trees, and four pineapple plants. The pineapples turned out the best. Then Jonathan and I went home. I am tired now, but I still need to make a CD for Va and get ready to teach my class tomorrow.


Today we started to get ready for the Adventurer’s Camp-in that’s coming up… this weekend. Actually, Va has been getting ready for it for at least a month, but today I got involved too. The theme this year is “The Fruit of the Spirit” and it’s based on a passage in Galatians. The setting is in an orchard, so we have to turn the church basement into one of those. We figure the best approach would be to hang a bunch of canvas drop cloths and paint them up to look like a scene from an… orchard?

At first we were going to do this at the church, but I figure we might be a little more productive here at the house instead. I thought maybe we could pin a canvas on the dining room wall and paint it there. Finding no push-pins anywhere in the house, I went to the Staples Tilton to get some. Then I came home and we ate. As we ate, I had a better idea.

I decided that if I could assemble some furring strips into a 12-foot section, I could staple the top edge of the canvas to that. Then use two more 8-footers to wedge the canvas to the ceiling. I also thought that the whole concept might work better if we painted the entire canvas light blue (to serve as both sky and gesso). So I went to Tilton again. I bought a gallon of light blue paint and four furring strips. I got the cheapest paint I could find (ceiling latex, $7.97/gallon).

Then I assembled them as planned, and it worked perfectly. Va starting laying in some blue, and I took Beth upstairs to put her to bed. When I was done with that, Va had half the canvas painted. But she thought that maybe I should go get a couple more. Also, it looks like it takes almost exactly one gallon to paint a 9×12 canvas, so I should also get more paint (same color please). So I went to Tilton. Again.

When I got home, Va had nearly finished painting the canvas. She reserved the top foot for me, so I finished that off. Then I assembled a second canvas and wedged it against the ceiling, right in front of the first one. I might ought to paint it tonight too so we can do the artistic part tomorrow and Friday, but I’m pretty tired now.

Last night I went to bed around 11:00pm at the church. Around one o’clock I woke up with a pretty severe case of indigestion. I fought it for 30 minutes before I finally gave up. I got dressed, found my keys in Jonathan’s coat pocket, headed over to Walmart, and bought some Tums. The clerk asked me how I was doing, and I said “Pretty good.” Then added, “Except that I’m at Walmart at 1:30 in the morning buying antacid tablets.” I guess she got a chuckle out of it.

I ate about six of them in the car, then went back to the church and crawled back into my sleeping bag. I stayed there until about 7:00.

Michelle made pancakes for breakfast, but I was the last in line, and there were three left. There were also three kids behind me waiting for seconds. So I took one pancake and left the other two for them to fight over.

Then we put it into high gear to try to get the church back to some semblance of order before our renters came. I left my shaving horse there, but we got everything else into our two cars. We vacuumed the floors, took down the back drops, and stacked everything we could neatly along a rear wall. We pulled outta there at 9:00.

Beth wanted to go to a restaurant, and I was still hungry, so we headed over the McDonald’s and got some breakfast. I think everyone enjoyed it, but we were all very tired too. We came home after that and began unloading the cars. I think they’re all unloaded now, but we still haven’t put everything away.

Penny was sure glad to be home.

I took a nap from 2:30 – 3:30. Then I took a shower and got ready for Pathfinders. We headed out for that shortly after. The meeting went pretty well, as they usually do. The kids worked on the Pinewood Derby cars, and everyone really seemed to be pretty into that. We cleared out again at about 8:30, and then I had to take one kid home, stop for some groceries, fill the gas tank, and take a second kid home. We got home at 9:15. And ate some supper.

Now I’ve got Beth to bed, and I think she’s fast asleep now. I’m going to post this and then go rustle up the rest of my dinner.


What a day. I am pretty tired right now. We got up early, ate breakfast, loaded the car. Loaded the car some more, got dressed for church, loaded the other car, and finally set out. I got to church at 9:30, which is technically on-time, but for me, it’s about 30 minutes late. I always need that time for getting ready to teach (and that starts at 9:30).

After Sabbath School, I started unloading the car. Then I unloaded the other one too. Cliff was back again after his hip replacement surgery, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. I also missed his sermon, as I was downstairs setting things up for Camp-In with Va.

The well turned out pretty OK. The paper mache was almost dry, so I went ahead and stuck the floor tiles to it. Then I strapped it down with packing tape. I was “well” pleased! (sorry).

After church we had potluck. We didn’t bring any food, and normally, I would feel bad about that, but not today. Va and I had already put months of planning into today, so I don’t think anyone could accuse us of not pulling our weight today.

After potluck I led the Pathfinders to the nursing home and we sang ten hymns. That went pretty OK too, and the residents seemed to rather enjoy it. This nursing home is really beautiful. It’s a brand new facility that opened just last year (next door to the old facility). We sang in an atrium which is set up to look like a city street – or square. Faux store fronts and street lamps. It’s very roomy. Anyhow, many of the people who listened to us sang along (which we invited them to do). I guess they don’t get to go to church very often, so it’s nice when church comes to them.

When that was over, Jonathan and I hustled to the house to load my car once again. I had a list of things we had forgotten, plus I wanted to get my shaving horse (which is a workbench with a foot-operated vice). Since I was going to be playing the part of a carpenter, I wanted to have that bench in there with me. I also changed out of my Class A uniform. Then we headed back to the church and unloaded the car one more time.

I changed into my costume and decided my name would be Reuben. My assistant (a Pathfinder) chose the name Jacob. Then Camp-In began. Kids arrived at 4:45. I led a group through the first three stations, and then we had some dinner which was really good, and featured typical period cuisine: olives, bread, fig cakes, dates, almonds, and some lentil soup.

After dinner, I had to man the carpentry shop. Our spiel was that I was very proud to have made the box in the temple where they store the scripture scrolls, and bragged that that was the most important thing I had ever made. But these days I got most of my business from the Romans – mostly crosses. But crosses are not nearly as important as that scripture box. No one ever sings songs about crosses or writes books about them. The kids seemed to catch on.

Finally, we were all finished, and the camping part began. I went outside and let Penny chase sticks for a while (we brought her with us and kept her in the car). The boys had both been doing that throughout the day, so hopefully, it wasn’t too traumatic for her. I also thought it might be a good idea to shovel a path from the parking lot into the woods so the water could drain out of the lot once this snow melts. Penny was there to make sure no snow that left my shovel hit the ground unmolested.

And now here I am, pretty exhausted. I’ll go downstairs and unroll my sleeping bag in a few minutes, or maybe I’ll stay up here in the AV room and surf the web a little while I unwind.

I did take the day off today. I spent most of the day at the church getting it ready for Camp-In. Va joined me at about 10:00am. We hung about 200 linear feet of backdrops. We bought some fake cattails and some floral foam and positioned them near the river (which is depicted in one of the backdrops). We sorted through props. It was an awful lot of work, and we still have a few things to do.

Va is baking “Abigail’s Fig Cakes” right now, and I wish we weren’t taking them with us tomorrow. I think I could eat them all in one sitting by myself. We also decided that what we really needed was a well in the middle of the fellowship hall. We figured we could use a round plastic tub from our basement if we could figure out how to cover it with something to make it look like stone. My first thought was a grey tarp, but I wasn’t real happy with that idea.

I went to Home Depot to look around (and maybe buy a grey tarp). I found the floor section before I found the tarp section though, and they had some linoleum tiles that were supposed to look like paving stones. Cool. I looked at several options until I found a solution that would cost less than $20, and snapped it up.

When I got home, I fetched the tub and started sticking floor tiles to it. The tiles didn’t really want to hold the bend I put in them to make them go around the round surface of the tub, so once I got them in place, I wrapped them with clear packing tape. You can’t tell the tape is there unless you get close to it and really look.

The real dilemma was how to finish off the top. I had decided that the best option would be to turn the tub upside-down (it has sloped sides). I laid the tiles on it so that they extended past the “top” (which is the tub’s bottom). I wanted it to give the rim of the well a 3-D look, and thought about it for a long time before coming up with the approach I finally took – paper mache. I only hope it dries before morning. When it does dry (or when it’s the last minute), I will stick more tiles over the paper mache. We’ll see how that goes.

I STILL have to make the scroll roller thing and sew some tassels onto Ken’s prayer shawl. Plus I need to get ready for Sabbath School tomorrow.

Pastor Cliff should have the sermon tomorrow, and it will be his first time back with our congregation since he had his hip replacement surgery. After that we’ll have potluck, and then I will haul the Pathfinders to a nursing home in Boscawen where we will sing several hymns for the residents. Then we return back to the church and make the final preparations for Camp-In.

I didn’t sleep well at all last night. In spite of going to bed exhausted, I had a million things churning through my mind – most related to preparations for Camp-in.

I still need to make a set of rollers to roll the scroll onto. Also, we still need to finish decorating the church. I was also thinking about making Ken’s prayer shawl (he’s playing the part of a rabbi). I did et to that when I got home tonight, and it did not go very smoothly. The sewing machine revolted on me again, and I was having an awful time with it wanting to tangle the bobbin thread. I finally figured out what was going wrong, and things got better after that. It didn’t help that Beth was in there with me whining the whole time. She has a school project she has been pretending to work on, and it was one complaint after another about why she thought she had done enough, and “I don’t know what else to write,” and “it’s too complicated for me to describe.” Grrr…

I was also worrying about an upcoming deadline for work. I really need to take some time off so we can get ready for Camp-in, but things are urgent again at the office, and that makes it pretty hard to take off. But then today at 3:30 I had a major breakthrough, pinpointing the bug I’ve been chasing for two days. It was beginning to look like I would not find it any time soon. It took me another 45 minutes to fix the bug, test it, and check all the changes into svn, and then I high-tailed it home. I think I will take off tomorrow.

Tonight I left work a little early to meet Va at the church. Piano lessons were still in progress, so we chatted with Michelle for a while. As we were talking, I realized that I had scored a piece of ancient networking equipment from work (legitimately!) This is an 8-port 10baseT hub (not a switch). These things are so old you can’t even buy them anymore, but it is perfectly adequate for my needs. It will only move 10 megabits per second, but our Internet connection is only 1.6 megabits per second, so this will be able to keep up just fine. I’m going to use the 24-port 10/100 switch (which has three times as many ports and can move ten times as many bits per second) as a K12LTSP-only network. But I digress. I didn’t hook it up though, because I still need a couple of patch cables. Maybe I’ll stop by Circuit City and see if they have any left (going-out-of-business sale).

When the piano lesson ended, Va and I sprung into action and started sorting through the backdrops. We have a series of backdrops that will cover about 100 feet of walls. We had to sort through them so that we could hang them in the correct order. Then we started to hang them from the ceiling with some hooks.

While we were doing that, it started to snow. Heavily. We’re forecast to receive 2-4″ of snow tonight. It was making Va nervous, so we didn’t hang around too long. We got on the road and headed home before it got too bad outside.

I took Beth with me and drove directly to the Pizza Hut in Tilton, while Va went on home. I picked up our dinner, and then we came home and partook.

With the snow storm on my mind, I asked a question I had thought of this morning. “Has anyone seen the handle that fell of the snowblower? I laid it on top of the garbage can in the garage.” Jonathan’s eyes widened to saucer proportions. “That fell in the trash can.” Bummer. Today was trash day, so my master clutch handle is now gone forever.

I’m thinking I’ll hafta rig up a second clutch handle like I did with the drive clutch (maybe I’ll get another caulk gun as a parts donor). This one will be mounted on the right handle bar (the other one’s on the left). I think I’ll have to hold it in for the clutch the engage, meaning the Beast will gain a heretofore lacking safety feature: a deadman. The dream is that if I let go, the master clutch will disengage and the Beast will come to a halt all by its own self. It will be better than before.

Before the master clutch handle broke off and took a one-way trip to the dump, if I were to let go of the Beast while it was running, it would just charge straight ahead. It would have chewed through the garage door, then ground both cars to shards, and dug its way through the back wall, perhaps stopping when it ran into the Merrimack river about a mile to the west.

But that repair job is not going to happen before this snow falls. I’m going to have to jury rig something up so I can clear the driveway in the morning. But I’m pretty sure the cob-job will also feature a deadman. We’ll see.