Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday, time to get back in the saddle

Leftovers for dinner and I must be good as I really over ate this last week.  We will eat up what is left and then I will figure out what to cook.

     Easter dinner was lovely with friends over.  Nummy steak and shrimp.  My strawberry pie was a mess.  I am not sure what happened.  It tasted good just became runny.  Next time I will not make it the day before.  I think it has to be eaten fresh.

     Mom fell last night.  She had excused herself to go to bed and all of us were talking in the front room.  We heard a rapping noise, like a piece of wood hitting the floor.  It was mom with her cane.  When I entered her room here she was laying on the floor in her night gown.  She was struggling to get to a sitting position and could not get up.  She was embarrassed and so would not want me to call for help.  I could not lift her and she did not have the strength in her legs to lift herself.  I finally got her close enough to the bed, we were able together to lift her onto it face down.  She was not hurt at all.  She said she just slipped on a throw rug that was by the bed. She slid on the rung across the wood floor.  The rug is now in the basement.  Just another worry added to my already long list of worries about her.

     I need to sit a think of a plan for today.  I know I have to go to the accountants and I need to get through all the mail and organize the work into shop.  Back to the old grind. House work is waiting, laundry. etc.  When you are gone a week you are in a fog when you come back. I know I have so much to do, but I can't seem to grasp anything specific.

     Out My Window: things are blooming and it is beautiful.  I am going to try and get the young man that worked with me before I left to come on Wednesday so I can finish cleaning out the yard.  Then all I will have is the pound area.  We need to get our water turned on, I wonder what is keeping the company from doing that? I will have to call.

story cont:

     Nels slid quietly into bed.  His mind was still racing.  He had worked on all three of the machines that were due out in the next two days.  The engines were very similar to ones that he and Far Far had used In Sweden to operate small dairy equipment.  Small engines broken down constantly from seized up bearings.  Belts or chains also broke with great frequency.  Gasoline turbine engines could be built to scale but they were touchy things.  Nels and Strom had carried the machines into the store front and Nels had set to work.  Mr. Strom was amazed at his ability to understand the workings of the engine.   He watched as Nels took things apart inspected them and then put them back together.  He wondered how the boy did it so quickly.  Sometimes Nels would dig into the box of spare parts and come up with an object that made no sense to Strom, it made sense to Nels and that is what mattered.

     They had no gasoline to try out the first machine when Nels felt it was ready to operate.  The next machine only needed a new belt and the drive shaft was lodged incorrectly, this had  probably happened when the belt had broken.  The third machine had a bound up bearing system and needed to have this part replaced.  When he could find no replacement part in the boxes he went out to the shed with a lantern and took another motor off a machine removed the part and brought it back in to replace the old damaged bearings.  By midnight Nels felt that all three of these machines would run, they were returned to the shed and Mr. Strom went into get his night's rest.

      Nels hauled all off the spare parts Erickson had brought him into the store front where he sorted and separated each object after a thorough study of it's supposed function.  After looking over every piece he replaced the boxes in the back shed and climbed the stairs.  Tomorrow he would ask Mrs. Gustafson on the third floor to watch the girls just for the morning.  She had five children, a husband and a father-in-law to do laundry for every week.  She had agreed to take one of the broken washers into her cramped apartment immediately.  Her husband and eldest son had agreed first thing to carry a washer up three flights of stairs.  This is where Nels would start his day.  He continued to plan until he fell asleep.

     Morning was its usual jangle of noise and ruckus.  Nels did not even mind when the alarm clocks started going off.  He was so excited to greet the day.  Millie smiled to herself at his outspoken cheerfulness.  This quiet taciturn brother of hers was surely full of plans.  Millie had no doubt that by the time she arrived home from school with little Peter in tow she would see a working washing machine in the courtyard.  Millie tucked some extra money into her satchel.  She was going to make a special treat tonight for a celebration.  She had rice, sugar, eggs and cream, but she would need raisins,a vanilla bean and more cardamon.  After she picked up Peter they would stop at McMillans emporium shop for these things.  It was worth the expense and Nels loved rice creme', it was his favorite.  Both she and Nels left the flat with secret plans.

     Mrs. Gustafson was happy to take the little girls off Nels hands and he promised to hurry and come back to look at the washer she had crammed in between her sewing machine and icebox.  She was surprised, "So soon?"  Nels smiled and nodded as he went out the door. He returned to his flat and wrapped the clocks in wool covers, then carefully carried them down to the wagon.   It was so much easier to maneuver through the streets and walks without the little ones.  He was greeted by several passersby in the neighborhood, all had heard about the washing machines.  Nels understood gossip but he never realized that he would be the the cause of it.  He was impatient to get back home.  He had left word with Mr. Strom to lookout for Erickson and take him back to the machines if Nels missed his arrival.

     One of the Jewelers had an additional clock for him to fix and also an address to go and look at another larger clock.  He did not want to take the time this morning but he also knew better than to lose good work.  Asking the jeweler if he could store the cart somewhere he could run faster to look at the larger clock.   He was sure it was just wound incorrectly and for very little work and time he would receive a good bit of money.  After running six city blocks blocks Nels was winded when he rang the bell at the back of the house.  He handed over the card of the jeweler and was escorted into the large home by a maid. He took off his boots and went with stockinged feet into the overly ornate parlor where a large Grandfather clock stood it's pendulum immobile.  The Matron of the house greeted him and explained that her three year old son had opened the front case which she had forgotten to lock.  She allowed no one to touch the clock but herself as it had belonged to her late father. She had found him with the pendulum in his hands, she was sure it would never work again.  Just as Nels thought an easy fix, so easy in fact he felt guilty charging to set a pendulum back on it's mechanism.

     Nels complimented, the clock and told the Matron that he did not even have to get out is tool bag. He had her look up inside the clock and describe to him what she saw.  Then he told her how to replace the pendulum. When she completed this task he gave it a swing and told her she could wind it as usual.  "That's it?"  she exclaimed.  That's it, replied Nels. Nels was not sure if the woman was more excited that her precious clock was fixed or that she had done the fixing herself.  Either way she handed him a two and a half  dollar gold piece for his trouble which was way over the standard price.  When he objected, she was adamant that he take the money.  He asked her if he could give her some advice on keeping the clock in good working order and she was more than happy to listen.  "Keep the case locked", he said with a smile.  She laughed and nodded as the maid to escorted Nels out.

     Finally Nels was able to return home later than he wished, when he opened the front hall door, he could hear a motor.   He quickly took the broken clock from the wagon and placed it inside the Strom apartment for safe keeping, then hurried down the hall to the back courtyard.  The noise grew louder and louder as he went, he could also smell an acrid gasoline oder.  When he opened the backdoor to the building there in the courtyard stood three running washing machines.  Mrs. Strom had her hands clasped under her chin and was beaming.  Erickson's back was to Nels, when he saw Mrs. Strom's expression change he turned around.  "How did you do it?", he shouted over the noise. "I came prepared to work most of the day. I did not even bring gasoline with me.  I had to go out and buy a can and the gas.  This is amazing!", he pounded Nels on the back.  Erickson went down the street to call a teamster to take the newly repaired machines to their owners.  When he returned Nels explained  to Erickson what he had done and how he had removed the bearing set from another machine to fix another."I don't know what to say.  This is too much.  You are better at this than I am, I even think you like fixing and repairing.", replied  the baffled Erickson.

     Nels did not want payment for his time, he wanted to continue to work on the other machines.  He wanted to fix them and have Erickson sell them.  Even if they were a bit scratched and damaged they would still run.  Erickson could regain his commission by allowing Nels to fix broken machines.There were plenty more at the warehouse. Erickson realized if Nels could free up the time he spent fixing machines he could spend more time selling a representing his company.  It was obvious to Erickson that Nels was some kind of a mechanical wizard, something Erickson was not.  "What do you want in return?", asked Erickson.

      Nels wanted three machines with ringers attached. He did not care if they were new or scratched and bent.  He also wanted a large industrial wringer that was not attached to a machine. He would like to add washing machines to his fix it list but he realized he had no where to store such a large inventory of broken machines and parts. "Done", said the excited Erickson.  Both men shook on the deal.  Now they had only to figure out how to make room for Nels new field of work.  The warehouse by the train depot was too far for him to travel everyday.  Both of them would have to think on a solution for additional machines.  Besides Nels had seven more machines in the building that needed to be repaired.

      "After these are finished maybe you will change your mind?",said Erickson. Nels did not think so, but it was obvious to him that repairing larger gasoline operated devices was going to take space.  On the farm in Sweden, they had their own horses and wagon to haul things. Farmers would haul in their own broken equipment, or Far far would travel to the piece of machinery as Nels had done with the large grandfather clock that morning.  There was much to think about, much to consider.  Right now he had three little sisters at his neighbor's and another machine to fix.  He would let Erickson figure out these details.  Nels had work to do.

      Sure enough, when Millie arrived home, there was a machine in the courtyard, spitting and churning. Several children were playing over on the far side of the yard.  There was a young man watching a large pot with wash water heating on the outside fire grate. Millie recognized them as the Gustafson children.  She looked shed and saw only two machines and no Nels.  Had he not told her that there were six machines in the shed.  Peter wanted to stay and play with the neighbors in the courtyard.  Millie was not sure as one never left little ones anywhere close to open flames.  The oldest Gustafson boy said, " I will keep them well away, Mom would tan me good if any of 'em was hurt."  So Millie picked up her packages and satchel and went up the stairs.  She wanted to start the rice boiling and she had no idea what would meet her when she entered the flat.

     When Millie was climbing the third floor stairs she encountered Mrs. Gustafson slowly coming down helping her father-in-law descend the stairs with his cane.   " It is such a nice day out.  Warm enough to sit in the sun.  He hasn't left the flat since before Christmas." explained  Mrs. Gustafson.   She was all smiles in her round face. "Your brother is a wonder.  First the radio for father here, and now a washing machine."  she clucked.  Old Gustaf was almost blind.  He had snow white hair and deep blue eyes, that stared out trying to focus on the dark staircase.  "Cardamon?", he sniffed the air around in a questioning manner.  "Yes, I just stopped at McMillans an bought an ounce it is dear stuff."  Millie said in broken Norwegian.  "I am going to make rice creme' for Nels to celebrate, it is a surprise." said Millie. "It will not no longer be a surprise when you start cooking." said Gustaf with a smile and he continued slowly down the stairs.

     The three older boys were eating stale bread with butter when Millie came in with her bundles.  Nels was not home and neither were the three younger girls.  Millie shewed the boys out of the flat and told them not to return until she sent for them.  They left with a whoop and a clatter down the stairs.  Peace and quiet in the flat.  Sun shown in through the windows and it was so serene.  Millie would have liked to just sit in a sunbeam by the window,but she had to hurry and get her creme' started.  She took out a 5 lb bag of rice and measured out 2 lbs.  This would make enough to share.  Rice was the cheapest of all the grains, she had plenty of cream skimmed from the milk bottles, sugar and raisins, it was the blessed Cardamon that she needed to flavor the dish.  Soon the rice was boiling in a large kettle, Millie covered it and pushed it back on the stove.  Then she made the custard, old Gustaf was right, she would not be able to hide the fact that she was making this dish.  The spice filled the room and soon would be out in the hall, maybe it would even carry down the narrow stairs.


Have a great and productive day!


1 comment:

  1. Glad your mom is ok and not hurt. My grandma took a few falls and always scared us and luckily never hurt or broke anything.