Monday, January 25, 2010

New Things

I think this year will be a year of new things for me. As if I need more hobbies or interests.

I've got a friend at work who is a taxidermist as well, and he recently gave me some tanned beaver tail skins to play around with. I had an order from a guy in Ohio for a beaver tail sheath, so that was my first project. I've never worked with beaver tail before, and it was quite tricky, but the sheath came out pretty sweet (if I do say so myself). The Wife noted that it looks sort of like snake skin. She's very right, except when you hold the actual beaver tail, there are very, very small hairs in between the plates. I don't know of any hairy snakes!

Here's the sheath.

The beaver tail skin was pretty thin, so I made the sheath out of tanned elk hide as well. So I guess you could say the beaver tail sheath is for the elk sheath, which is for the knife. But I think it came out great! The client wanted a belt clip, and sent one along with his knife for me to use. It worked out really well.

I'm looking forward to a lot of new things this year. I've been commissioned for my first stained glass piece for people I don't know. (I've had other commissions, but all from friends or family) I'm going to get back into blacksmithing and start producing my own blades. That should be a ton of fun. I'd even like to try my hand at selling my knives at knife or gun shows. We'll have to see if that happens this year or not.

And of course, every day with the kiddos is a whole new world of new things! The Boyo got a Unicorn story from a very sleepy Daddy last night. As I was telling it, I could tell I was dozing, and would wake up enough to hear myself telling about the Boyo and Mr. Unicorn heading up to space to collect the Lego moon. No idea where that came from. And at one point the Boyo elbowed me and woke me up asking "Then what happened, Daddy?"

Sweet Pea woke up singing this morning, as she often does. Makes me want to just sit outside her door for a while and enjoy the concert!!

Can't wait to see what these two will do next!

More Later

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of Those Days

I've often wondered if I would see my life flash before my eyes when confronted with a life threatening event.

In a car, at least, I know it probably won't.

So I spent the last three days at the hospital where I work. The first two days were expected. I had call after my first shift, and I will often sleep there to avoid the long commute and short sleep hours that would result. But by the end of my second shift, weather reports were warning of the impending ice storm pummeling the Midwest, and threatened that it would surely hit our area just as I was driving home. So I stayed a second day sleeping at the hospital, got up and did my third night shift.

The ice storm hit the next morning, about an hour before my shift ended.

I played it safe on the drive home, testing the brakes from time to time to see if the road was as greasy as it looked. Most often, our little Mazda started stopping without sliding. About halfway home I did a check like this, and my little car slid as if it was on glass. Fully under control, I let the car slow up a bit and continued on.

Now. On one part of the drive, the road gets hilly and winds around a bit. I entered that area with a big rig behind me, and as I was coming down a long hill around a curve I saw a white car starting up coming the other way with a blue pickup truck behind that.

Just as they approached me, I saw the blue truck start to lose control. It fishtailed into my lane, then out of my lane, then WAY back into my lane. Fortunately I have many years of driving experience in less than ideal conditions and God and luck were with me, so without panicking, I let my foot off the accelerator and gently eased my car off to the shoulder, beyond which was a steep hill leading into a cow pasture.

Everything was running both in super slow motion and in the blink of an eye. I watched the truck bed slide toward me and the tail come parallel to my window as it passed. Something just clipped the side mirror, making it flinch, but not flip all the way back.

Then I was past, eased my car back onto the road and looked in the rear mirror in time to watch the truck just miss the semi and go into the ditch, where it promptly flipped over, coming to rest on the passenger side.

I remember being very calm as the whole thing happened. Even thinking as the truck bed swept out towards me, 'Well, I guess this must be how I go. Sure wish I could have kissed the wife and kids one last time.'

But as I pulled off to turn around and get back to the accident scene, and the semi zoomed past (he would not have braked at all if he was a pro. On that ice it would have only made things worse) The adrenaline kicked in and I literally whooped with glee that I had survived unscathed!

I pulled up to the scene and saw the driver standing on her passenger door, holding the driver door open above her head and freaking out. Two other drivers joined me, they had been going the same direction as the blue truck and had come around the curve in time to see me turn around and head back. One guy followed me to the truck, the other stayed up on the road.

The truck driver could not have picked a better place to flip. the snow was up to my knees and soft as a marshmallow. After I got her to calm down a bit, I told her I was a medic and wanted to check her out a bit before we pulled her out of the truck. So I did a quick back and neck check, she had no obvious injury, and she was getting more freaked out with every second she spent in the truck. So we pulled her out and got her to the roadside. She got a ride with one of the drivers who stopped who was headed to the same location, and with nothing left to do, I got back in my car and continued home.

Of course, the remaining thirty minutes were spent what iffing. What if I had not done just one of my brake checks. I'd be a second or two farther and would have been tagged by that truck. Of course then the semi behind me would have either A) hit his brakes and slammed through all of us. Or B) tried to drive through it and probably slam through at the very least me.

When I got home I kissed and hugged my family, and woke my folks up to tell them I love them.

In my job, I often see the result of those less fortunate than I in similar situations. I know that all of life can change in less than a heartbeat. I was reminded again to make every second count, and waste no time telling those I love that I love them.

I'm glad to be alive!

More Later

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Uber Busy

In the Shop.

Here are some results.

Life continues to fly by. We had chicken fingers for lunch today. Sweet Pea, now firmly embracing the 'Two's' we've heard so much about, has developed a mischevious streak a mile wide. So it came as no surprise that she climbed down from her chair mid-meal, walked over to the brother whom she adores, and started poking him with a strip.

To this, the Boyo replied "Please stop. I am NOT a dipping sauce!"

More Later

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year

No resolutions. No new promises to keep. It's a little bit liberating! Makes me actually want to accomplish more.

Happy 2010 to you! Glad you made it this far. I, for one, am looking forward to the new decade. Lots of new adventures to be had. People to see, places to go. That sort of thing.

I finished these up a couple days after ringing in the new year.

I've been spending more time in the shop too. I love that! Next mission, while still making knives, glass, sheaths and such, is to clean the shop out and make it an even better space to work in.

Gotta run for now. But will be back soon.

More Later