Been a Little Quiet Lately…

This blog has been too quiet for too long, which wasn’t at all intentional. Heck, I didn’t even finish out a full year before I flamed out. I’m not really sure what happened, but I don’t plan on letting it happen again anytime soon. I know-famous last words right? Thinking back, The basement/shop had just gotten so cluttered it was hard to even move around down there, so I took a very long, systematic approach to cleaning it out as best I could. Translation-I’m really slow. Many trips to the dump, Goodwill and the like at least got me some workable floor space. Meanwhile, my son, after spending the entire spring in Italy for a so-called “Study Abroad” program where he visited more countries in 4 months than I have in my life, stayed in Boston for an internship and additional classes all summer. So the extra muscle I was hoping to have on hand was only home for maybe 4 days to reload for the fall semester. With him heading off to his final year, and my daughter starting her first year down south in Savannah, it was a hectic couple of weeks.

A few weeks later though, my dad was medevaced  to Johns Hopkins with some major abdominal issues. Without going into the details, these issues began about 30 years ago and they finally got the better of him. Despite the best efforts of the Hopkins staff (and they are amazing believe me), he passed away surrounded by his wife and children 2 days later at 85. My son, who was very close to his grandfather, was called on to deliver the eulogy at the funeral a week later, and did an incredible job. Even though he seems to care less about woodworking (what 22-year-old really does), his mom and I are extremely proud of him. My mom seemed to be holding up very well, the kids went back to school, and life went on.

Around the middle of October, I finally made a real breakthrough in my shop, just going on a organizing blitzkrieg one weekend, and finally was able to arrange my workbench and other shelving/bench units along the walls, and a nearly clear main floor area. There’s still a lot to be done, but at least this gave me usable space. Now, all I needed was a project to start on, but work, life and a hurricane got in the way.

Fast forward to November, and Thanksgiving. My daughter and I drove up to Hanover, PA to pick up my mom and continue on to New Jersey to spend the holiday with my brother and his extended family. We all had a great time, feasting on a turkey that was roasted outside on their grill, all the while watching the Redskins beat up on the Cowboys. A great day with great people. On Friday we made the 4 hour trek back to Hanover to drop my mom off. We had dinner with her, and then headed back to MD. Then, early Sunday afternoon, I got a call from my sister that mom had just passed away. She had gone to the hospital earlier that morning suffering chest pains and shortness of breath. The doctors did all they could to revive her, but it wasn’t meant to be. So there it was-almost 2 months after my father’s funeral, mom went to join him.

So, they’re in a better place now, and I’m down here working to get there one day myself. Even though we were sad for a little while, they both had lived long and productive lives, passing away at 85 and 80 years respectively. We were able to share wonderful memories with family and friends in the past few months, and that’s taken away a lot of the sting of them not being around for Christmas for the first time. My ex-wife has also been a terrific friend during all of this, taking me and our daughter out to dinner once, and having me over for Christmas dinner with the kids.

I’m really trying not to too maudlin here, so forgive me if I have. This has been a very difficult post to write for me, but doing so has been a little therapeutic in a way, and I thank you for bearing with me.

Even with all this, or maybe because of it, I actually ended up getting into the shop and making gifts-out of wood no less! I made 3 small gifts in less than a month, which for me is monumental, and there’s still a fourth in progress. That’s the subject of my next post, so stay tuned. And although I never made it to WIA this past year, I still got to meet in person some of the terrific woodworker bloggers who’s exploits I’ve been following since I’ve gotten into this hobby-Tom Iovino, Kari Hultman, Mark Hochstein and Adam Weigand at a dinner in Gettysburg, and Dyami Plotke, who was kind enough to let me hang out at his shop for a little while while on my way back from Boston around Labor Day.

Anyway, enough mushy stuff. I hope this will be a fresh start for me doing more woodworking and writing about it. I already have the next few posts lined up with subject matter, including Tom’s awesome Get Woodworking Week coming up next month, so please stay tuned, and thanks for reading.

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Posted in Misc.
3 comments on “Been a Little Quiet Lately…
  1. Dyami says:

    Neal,
    You’ve had a trying year. I think you’ve done well moving though it. I wish you the best next year.

    Here’s to a productive year in the shop.

    Also, it was a pleasure to meet you. Hopefully we’ll meet again at WIA13.

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  • "I'm still waiting for that fucking shower, let's just put it that way."-Neal E. 2017 5 months ago
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  • "That movie turned me gay." -Neal E. 2016, in reference to the 1987 sci-fi film Predator 11 months ago

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