Dummy Redux


Back in our Kalakala foundry days, I was often the dummy. No shade. When you pour molten metal, a red hot crucible (kind of like a fondu pot but full of bronze instead of cheese) is held above the mold in a shank, a long bar with essentially a cupholder in the middle and two handles at one end, a single handle at the other. The person with two handles controls the pour by tilting the crucible, the other one is the dummy because all they do is hold up their end. It's an ingenious design because it eliminates the possibility of working against each other.

It was nice having Frank here to lead the electrical work because I could revert to being the dummy, leaving him to do the brain work while I puttered around making dinky moves such as cross-bracing the attenuated carport or insulating between the as yet unheated den and barely heated dining room. I even had time to sneak a smoke in the woodshop.

 Smoking is super dumb but I enjoy it every once in a long while because nicotine really goes to my head.

Frank puzzled out the aborted wiring in the attic while I awaited his word below, flicking the switch on or off as instructed. It's weird how close the previous owners got without getting it right. There were four holes cut in ceiling but only three can lights in place, and of those only one was properly connected. I bought a fourth that could be inserted and clipped in from below and Frank set the connections in order above. By lunchtime, the dining room lights worked and Frank left in a hurry to catch a ferry back to Seattle. I'd like to get a little plaque maker to memorialize different people's contributions. Frank would get a prominent one for lighting up our life.

When I took down the kitchen ceiling, I stuffed eight large contractor bags with blown-in insulation I scooped out with a dustpan. Wasn't sure what to do with it but I knew I didn't want to throw it away. I'm glad I saved it all because today I was able to redistribute it around the attic, spreading and re-fluffing it with a broom.


Speaking of saving things, also found a use for the tacky gilt-edged full-length mirror closet doors I rescued from a house in the midst of being gutted by an avid wrecking crew. Somehow I carried out two of these 48"x78" mirrors through a dust-choked gauntlet of swinging sledgehammers and flying pry bars. They came with proper tracks but for now I jerry-rigged a temporary guide with some 2x2 and a 1x4, just a little something to keep the cats out of the hitherto doorless utility closet. But gauche as it may be, we like the vibe and are now scheming to install the other panel on the closet side and make it all more permanent--yet another example of design on the fly, our usual extemporaneous architectural approach.



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