Tuesday, January 19, 2016

After 28 years, a New Companion

In 1988 I took the kids to a Student Council roller skating party. I mainly went along to make sure no one got hurt. I ended up nearly tearing my foot off. Triple ankle fracture, lots of soft tissue damage, and dislocation all rolled into a fraction of a second. It sounded like someone breaking a Louisville Slugger. I looked down at the foot dangling from my leg and knew I wasn't walking out of there. Someone called an ambulance, someone else volunteered to take care of the kids and call Tina when she got home from a meeting she was attending. ( Pre cell phone days). Actually things moved pretty smoothly and I was quickly attended to at the hospital. The Dr. took one look and said" That's what we call the Humpty Dumpty fracture" The humor was lost on me. Anyway they set it for the night and the next morning he tried to put the pieces back together. He was happy with his work but it wasn't his ankle that was hurting so bad. Without belaboring all of this, It eventually healed and after teaching for 3 months out of a wheelchair and a couple more months on crutches I could limp around without additional support. It got better but it never got right. I was told to expect arthritis and it came. Gradually the ankle stiffened and hurt more in response to activity.

Jumping ahead to December 2015. Standing most of the hay at a show and a 6 mile death march off a mountain in Tennessee ( see previous posts) finally pushed things over the edge. A month of all day and all night discomfort that ranged from an ache to me screaming assorted F-Bombs every time I moved set me to an Orthopedic and Sports Med center last week. The first response from the doctor as he looked at my X-Ray  was literally " Man that's ugly" The cartilage is worn down so thin that there is no room to get a needle into the joint for a cortisone shot. That surface that is supposed to be polished looks like the surface of the moon and there are bone spurs from arthritis all abound the edges. I was put on Prednisone for the immediate swelling and put into this brace that I will have to wear until I have something else done.
Next option is either an ankle fusion or a joint replacement. Good news is that the current regimen has helped and I am no longer screaming expletives each time I move. It's still sensitive and I am using a cane but it beats no foot at all. Hopefully I will be able to keep kicking the can down the road a while longer but I will probably have to do it with my left foot.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Tip, A Tool, and a Technique.

Last month we talked a little about handles. Today I've been making casseroles and thought you might like to see how I get lids to fit. Using this method, your lids will always fit, they will fit every time, and you will be able to interchange them and make replacements at any time. You can also throw bases one day and lids later if you wish to stay " in the groove"

Theory- If you measure the same every time, you will get the same result. Some people try to do this with calipers but even if they are successful they end up with one base and one lid of an indefinite size. The answer is to make a fixed gauge that measures both the lid and the seat (groove) that it sits in. My very simple gauge measures 11 1/2 inches and allows for a very slight gap between the lid and seat. If you want yours looser, use bigger nails. I used 4 penny finishing nails .

Practice-  Always measure bases and lids at the same stage of dryness.
Measure the seat very carefully. You cannot change it later.


Throw a shallow bowl for the lid.
Leave it alone until things are stiff enough then trim. Add your attachments and wait.Trust your tools ! If you think the lid will be too tight, it is probably because the base and lid have dried at different rates. Everything should even out. All your lids should fit all your bases.

Bonus Tip- Do you poke holes with your needle tool to see how thick the bottom of your pot is or to pop air bubbles? Then do you have a hole to close up? I made this mini poker with a dowel, some tape, and a piece of guitar string. It makes a tiny hole that is easier to close.
Entertainment feature. Here is a song I put up on Youtube last week