Saturday morning, the family rose early and walked down the street to help sort and assemble boxes of foot for two local food pantries. We’ve done this for a couple of years now, and we’re getting to be pros at it; this year’s date was a month or so early, so the amount of food donated wasn’t as large as we were used to. But we all pitched in and made ourselves as useful as possible. At events like this, with decentralized leadership, we’ve found it’s always best to stand back and let someone else explain how things are going to work and what needs to be done, and I think we’re all very good at staying out of the way but pitching in where needed.
We walked back home, let the dog out, and then drove into the city for a tasty sushi lunch in my old neighborhood at the foot of Boston street. It’s boring and repetitive to write about how much things have changed down there, but it’s good to see some things are still similar. After filling ourselves on lunch I bought the girls our first PSLs of the season at the Starbucks up the street, which were…underwhelming. For $16 I was really expecting a lot more flavor. Then we drove up to my other old neighborhood and stopped in to the MICA bookstore for Finn to find some art supplies. I picked up a new watercolor pad and some window stickers to replace the one that crumbled on the Accord, and while I was there I spied a big retrospective book they produced a couple of years ago:
Thumbing back through the years I stumbled on a page about Portfolio Review day, which is (in an oft-told tale here at Lockardugan Central) where Mom and I drove down to Baltimore, I showed them my work, and was offered admission to the school on the spot. I took a picture of the page because this is exactly how I remember it—sitting on the steps in the Main Building to visit the various desks. Thankfully my friend Jeff and I had already attended a series of other Review days at Pratt and Cooper Union so we knew what to expect and how to set up our work.
On Sunday I got up and drove over to Columbia, where I met up with Scout friends and helped Bennett get the Hudson off the trailer and moving under its own power. We really didn’t have to do much, other than unstrap it and get it started; the accelerator pump is shot so it bogged down when he got on the gas, but it ran enough for us to take a few short drives up and down the lane.
Then we headed back to Bennett’s house to help demo a trellis on his back deck, which has been leaning drunkenly under the weight of a 20-year-old wisteria. We strapped it to an adjacent tree and used various power and levering instruments to remove most of the wood and stacked in in the back of his truck. Then we paused for some lunch and cold beer, and by 3PM were packing up for home. The rest of the day was pretty relaxed and we were all tucked into bed by 9:30.
We drove over to the other side of Baltimore to see a double-feature of Legally Blonde and Barbie last night at the only remaining drive-in theater in the area. Apart from watching most of the first movie through windshield wipers as a giant thunderstorm swept through the area.
Barbie was surprising and bright and thoughtful and everything you don’t expect it to be; we all enjoyed it immensely. I hope it wins awards for best original screenplay and acting—for the leads and supporting roles alike.
On or about Jen’s birthday we had a big storm blow through Maryland, and as it left, it took the scorching heat with it. Since Thursday it’s been averaging a beautiful 80˚, with sunshine and a light breeze pretty much all day. Poor Jen has been cranking on work for the last two weeks so we didn’t really get to do much on the day; I did get the family some delicious Indian food from Ananda and a slice of Smith Island Cake from the market down the street, which we enjoyed by candlelight at the table.
On Saturday we had a fun activity planned: Karean and Zachary drove over from Easton and we went to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone live. They project the movie on a huge screen over the stage, minus the music track, and the symphony plays along in time. The effect is stunning. So much fun! And the audience is into it. We had a blast seeing it again—so much so that I want to read the books again.
Sunday we packed up the CR-V (I got the A/C fixed just in time for the heat to break, but that’s timing for you) and headed to Bob’s house to visit and make some more repairs; I got the front hedges trimmed and swapped in a new sink faucet in the powder room. The hot water shutoff is leaking, so I had to crawl under the house to the main water shutoff (I’d like to punch whoever designed that house right in the dick) and then try to unscrew the valve from the pipe, but a combination of the angle, size of the cabinet, the wrong tools, and lack of patience got the better of me. I hung up my monkey wrench and made a note of what I’ll need for the next attempt.
Jen and I boxed up three cabinets’ worth of glasses in the kitchen so that I can pull them off the wall. Two of them have separated at the back, so they’re hanging precariously over the counter. My plan is to get them down onto the floor, rebuild the boxes, and make them sturdier than before. Then we can rehang them and make them useful again (it’s much cheaper than all-new cabinets).
I also tried to get the Chrysler started again, but for some reason that was being balky too. Spraying half a can of starter fluid into the carb got it close but not running, but I don’t know exactly why. I tested it for spark again, and that was fine, but it won’t catch. I think I’ve got to pull the carb off again and see if anything is wrong inside.
I got some mail from Maryland529, the folks administering the College Trust Account we have set up for Finn, and had to do a double-take at the address, which looked very familiar at first glance. Turns out it’s the same building I used to work in at my last gig. Hopefully the mojo in that place has changed for the better. It was a cool old building—one of the only ones in that area to survive the Baltimore Fire (the original Alex. Brown & Sons building around the corner is still pockmarked and stained from the fire) and used as a storage facility for the banks in the neighborhood. There was a great old diner in the ground floor of the building that appeared in many Baltimore-based TV shows and movies which is now under new ownership. I hope they left all the 1940’s era fittings and furniture intact.