Meanwhile, I progressed on finishing up the wife’s OTHER birthday present, the horse painting. It looked even more painterly after I purchased some gloss black wood stain and a set of tiny brushes with which to apply it. I laid the whole thing flat on my work bench, in the wood shop, and proceeded to fill in all the shapes of the horse’s mane and then outlining the entire silhouette before switching to a larger brush to fill in the middle. It looked pretty darn good. Especially because I was able to layer this stain to give it depth in places, making the foreground leg darker than the background leg, etc. Took a day or so of this before it was time to show it off to the wife. She loved it, but suggested that after I’d finished staining it, I should hit it with some sandpaper to scuff it up a bit. Sounded like a plan.
I finally brought it into the house and leaned it against a wall. Took us a bit to figure out where it would look best, and where we had wallspace for it. We finally settled on a wall by the closet under the stairs, which had previously held an owl painting framed with barn-wood. With some loops screwed into the back of it and some industrial wall hooks secured to the wall, we hung that bad boy up and it looked great. The wife insisted I sign it, which I did. Then she did a double take when she saw “Fritz `13” inked in stain at the bottom right. “Fritz” is how I used to sign anything arty and has been since my days in middle school, back when I wanted nothing more than to be a newspaper cartoonist. That the last time I used that signature probably read “Fritz `92” tells you something about how long it’s been since I created much physical art.
Over the days after the painting had been in the house, the wood it was constructed from began to dry out–most of it having spent years relatively exposed to the elements in the wood shed–and it began to shrink. This caused the gaps between some of the boards to widen a bit, but in a pleasing way.
Maya, soon became accustomed to her collar, to the point that we were willing to leave her outside on it when we had to leave the house. Which was handy, cause if we left her inside she would just pee, poop or bleed on something.
This seems a good place to end the Birthday Surprise storyline. All of our characters are established, all of our surprises are revealed and/or installed upon the walls of our home. However, the story continues, for we haven’t even tackled Thanksgiving, nor have I told the tale of last year’s particularly memorable Thanksgiving festivities. That’s on the way soon. But first, let’s tackle a Maya related story of the day this enormous dog disappeared.