My husband is a FANTASTIC Scoutmaster. He is actually not a Scoutmaster right now - but has been many, many times. I remember once when he was called how many of the parents in the Ward had told me how excited they were to have him be their sons Scoutmaster - I understood.
When a bit later he was released to be called to the Stake High Council a couple of those same parents came up to me and said they came 'this close' (finger and thumb mere millimeters apart) from standing up during Stake Conference and objecting - I didn't understand ...
But was enormously happy it didn't happen.
Still - the man is basically a 12 year old in a gorgeous mans body. He seems to have the energy for it too.
Gary finds it physically impossible to sit around and just read a book, do nothing, veg - it is nowhere in his make up and as foreign to him as a day as a Sherpa in Nepal. Since it is basically all I do - I figure energy wise - we even each other out ...
Everyone loves him as Scoutmaster - basically because every year he applies for the Philmont Lottery and basically generally gets it. So the boys get to go to Philmont. The older boys are always treated to some amazing, fantastical High Adventure experience - usually involving canoes, rivers and white water rapids.
His goal - ALWAYS, ALWAYS - is to help the boys earn Merit Badges. This is for his underlying ULTIMATE goal: to have the boys, by 14 ready to start working on their Eagle. Ryan earned his when he was 12 and we were moving to Norway.
On the day we stepped on the plane for our New Adventure on the other side of the World - EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS SCOUTS (and, yes - they are MOST DEFINITELY 'his' Scouts) had all the requirements to start working on their Eagle.
If there is one thing my husband does not understand or know much about having rarely experienced it is: failure. He sets out to do something and he gets it done - no excuses, no dilly dallying - just work with your head down until it is finished.
In our house in Sugar Land he wanted a bigger patio. So he built the forms and poured it himself.
In our house in Sugar Land he needed 220V power in the garage to run his Industrial Strength power tools, so he wired it himself.
In our house in Sugar Land the tile in his shower was cracking - so he bought a book on how to tile and tiled it himself.
In our house in Sugar Land we got tired of our linoleum floor in the kitchen - so he tiled it himself.
In our house in Sugar Land, one sleepy Sunday morning, Ryan came in our room and told us that it 'was raining in the kitchen' ... a leak. So Gary repaired it, re sheet rocked? the ceiling and painted it himself.
I truly believe that there is nothing that he cannot do.
The man is magic - pure, lovely, wonderful, pure magic.
A month or so back he realized that he needed to make some more small Shaker Boxes. He had made them for all the boys in Young Mens (he is the Young Mens president and HEAVILY involved in their Scouting). I showed it in an earlier post. Inside he had taken leather and his leather kit (yes - he tools leather - are you surprised?) and cut out a piece for a Buck brand pocket knife. He tooled into then leather the inscription "Buck Up" above the pocket knife and below it "Do Your Duty to God". He decided that at least it was different and was hoping the boys would keep them in their room somewhere and maybe, just maybe they would do some good.
Enter a new batch of young'uns and he decided he would make 'just a few more' boxes for them too and out he went into his beloved wood shop - which - of course he built - added support beams to the ceiling, laid down the plywood for a fabulously HUGE attic (his shop doubling as an over sized 3 car garage - but don't mention that to him - it makes him ... testy), sheet rocked the whole thing, painted it, added chair rails - cause - you know - you might hit the wall with a large piece of equipment, wired it for 220V complete with a separate fuse box, installed banks and banks of fluorescent lights (my sister calls it the 'Tanning Booth') and then read a book on air conditioners and installed one - the freaking shop is cooler than the house when he is in there!
But then a dilemma! Since now the lawnmower, bikes and other 'garagey' type items were not worthy to live in his beloved shop - he built a shed - poured the concrete, built the shed complete with two windows - duplicated the siding and shingles to match the house and now we have a wee bitty mini house in our back yard holding all the 'unworthy items'. Not once did it occur to the man that any of this would be beyond his capabilities. And it wasn't.
I vacillate between thinking he is a genius and thinking he is a bona fide freak show - I am pretty sure he is a little of both and I love every bit of each!
So - as I mentioned before I went off on Gary's multitude of talents and savant-like ability to do anything he sets his mind to - he headed out to the garage to 'make a few small boxes'.
That was two months ago.
Just a sprinkling of comments he has said as he wandered in from his shop and passed me lying in bed.
"Since I had everything out - I decided to make a few more sewing boxes - what size should I make them?" To this, being rather well versed in Shaker Box Sizing I said "At least a 10 - you need to make sure that a large pair of scissors will fit in the tray." To which he nodded and wandered off.
"I bought a bunch of Walnut wood today. I would like to mix and match the Sewing Boxes." I readily agreed, then started wondering with all the beautiful combinations - how was I going to pick mine?
"Um, I think I went a bit overboard - I have made a TON of Shaker Boxes in addition to the Sewing Boxes and trays. Everything was out and I couldn't stop myself." To which I told him that I was sure we could find some pour souls to give them to - not to worry ...
"Uh - I made a few more boxes. I am not sure why." I had nothing for that ...
I have not ventured out to his garage and my car for some time - but the other night I went out - for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT project he was working on (post to follow ...) and took photos.
Sitting atop his main workbench sit just a few of his 'partials' waiting for their master to finish them.
Some of the sewing boxes were clumped together in various states of completion - all beautiful:
Even the trays are unbelievably beautiful:
Each and every one of them is different - maple and walnut, solid maple, solid walnut and various other combinations.
I am a bit partial to the walnut - after he finishes it and gets it shiny smooth - the color is unbelievably beautiful. I realized that I have never seen a box 'in the process' before. Before he makes them beautiful.
Pegs sticking out - waiting to be cut of and gently sanded smooth. Little strays of the ... what? It is a grass - he uses it as a string and 'stitches the boxes' with but I am at a total loss as to what it is called right now ... but I have never - not once seen an errant, stray piece as is showing here. He told me he trims them all off.
I guess I just assumed that they came out perfect the first time ...
This combination is lovely - it is going to be a beauty:
The trays showing their 'toothpick nails'- sitting there all pretty - waiting to be finished ...
The 'stitching' before Gary finishes it. I told him I was going to use this photo since it showed his adorable legs. He had just come back from one out of many sessions with one of the boys he was teaching to swim so that he could pass off that merit badge (Have I mentioned that he is a swim instructor, lifeguard and certified in CPR? Are you really surprised?)
Gary is a generous man - one boy - hours at the pool. He passed him off last week and the boy will be able to now advance with all his requirements on time.
That grassy stuff - before Gary does what ever he does to make the inside pretty:
I am not as generous with Gary's time - I am rather protective of him. I don't think the parents or the boys realize the time commitment Gary puts into his calling. He made each boy a 'Paddle Plaque' for a Court of Honor just a few weeks ago.
He had read about how to transfer a photo to wood. Bought a bundle of mini paddles and started. It was not working out well - when he would peel of the transfer - 8 times out of 10 he lost a piece of the photo with it. He was batting about a 20% success rate - but that didn't bother nor stop him - he took the 'failures' out to his shop and sanded of the bad photo and tried again.
I am not sure how many attempts he made to get one Paddle Plaque for each boy but he printed, transferred, sanded off over and over and over again until he had enough - 50 times comes to mind. He never thought that he wouldn't eventually have enough - but hours and hours and in 15 minutes handed out at a ceremony.
He mentioned the boys liked them, but I am rather sure they do not realize what went into having them sitting there at the Court of Honor. Oh, did I mention that they were awards for surviving the white water rapids on their High Adventure trip this summer that Gary put together - not a Scoutmaster - but helping out a bunch ...
And between sanding paddles he worked on his 'boxes' ...
I was curious about the stitching and the 'un-named' stitching material. He showed me how it came:
And then he soaks it for over 24 hours in glycerin or something. I told him that it DIDN'T look like glycerin but something ... much more unpleasant - he assured me it was glycerin ...
Then I wandered and took a few more shots.
I liked this one because of all the beautiful patterns in the background:
That 'to die for beautiful' walnut wood again.
You just wait - when this is finish it will be unbelievably beautiful, I have no doubt whatsoever:
A few of the less complete pieces - gently set off to the side - patiently waiting for 'their time' in the masters hands:
A tiny mystery box, sitting dejectedly in the windowsill. I asked Gary about it - he mentioned something was wrong with it. I don't see it, but usually I never do. Gary is EXTREMELY discriminating and any minuscule imperfection will bother him for life - thus everything is fixed or given away so he cannot see it ...
I smiled as I snapped a photo of his burgeoning clamp collection. He always says: "A man can NEVER have too many clamps." And is CONSTANTLY increasing his stash just to make sure he isn't a liar ...
I don't get it ... but I find it one of the most ... endearing traits in him!
He hoards clamps and routers - it makes me smile and reminds me that he really, truly is ... human ...
A bowl full of his 'toothpick nails'. I told him that it looked like a pain to cut them all.
He said in a semi-exhausted, exaggerated voice: "It takes hours and hours - I hate it."
Then he smiles and says - "I just cut the entire box in half on the band saw - it takes me ten seconds."
And I smile back ...
And now he is in Korea - mediating meetings and making sure physical violence does not ensue - or some such thing - did I mention that he is a very patient man, can tell people to got to hell, or that they are wrong and never offend, and make sure meetings do not get out of hand. He has GREAT people skills ... surprised yet?
Soon he will be home and back to his 'projects' out in the shop.
One project he needs to get on pretty quick? Those small boxes that hold that Buck knife ... apparently he got so distracted by beautiful sewing boxes that he has not even started on the wee little ones.
Wanna bet me they will be done and ready to go on the date he needs them?
Didn't think so ....