Monday Smiles – 11/5/2012

When my brother-in-law, Norm, retired, I wondered how he’d deal with the leisurely life.   He didn’t seem like the hang around and watch TV type and, although he was a golfer, how much of what used to be a forty hour week can you fill with golf?   It seemed to me that to some degree, he made his leisure life emulate his work life.   Example: Need a new sofa?  Make a list of furniture stores within 25 miles;  collect swatches and paint chips required for the choice;  estimate time needed in each store;  schedule sofa shopping expeditions to the minute; perform a cost-benefits analysis of each candidate sofa;  choose and order.  I sometimes wondered if there weren’t Gantt charts hidden somewhere in the house.  OK, a slight exaggeration, but the point is, he would turn everyday activities into projects.  But lately, Muri and I have been struggling with the leisure life.    Older Eyes in particular can’t get used to the on-again-off-again nature of his increasingly part-time business.   So, Norm, we’re belatedly following your lead, sans Gantt Charts.

In our garage are two large plastic storage bins containing roughly 20 photo albums covering almost fifty years of our courtship and marriage.   The albums are in storage bins so we can easily load them into the car in case we are evacuated for wildfires, which happened two-out-of-three years a while back.  The photos are in various stages of fading and discoloration.  If you’d walked into our kitchen on Sunday afternoon, you’d not only have scared the crap out of us, you’d have seen Muri and I seated at the table, looking busy.  My laptop and a CanoScan LiDE scanner would be set up in front of me and Muri would be looking through the albums for pictures worth saving.  It is the beginning of Project: Digitize Our Lives.

It is the perfect Retirement Project.  It not only keeps us busy and accomplishes something I’ve been meaning to do, it allows us to visually revisit moments of our lives that have been on the dusty back shelves of our memories for too long.   It even gives me a chance to appreciate the technology that allows us to largely restore faded photos.  The Canon scanner has an automatic fade correction that is remarkable:

We can’t make high-resolution images from Kodak Instamatic snapshot prints, but we can restore skin-tones from mauve to flesh.   Yesterday, we started on photos of our son Aaron’s first year.  We get to see the joy on our faces during his first week with us (we adopted him at ten weeks old) and some of his antics when he began to crawl.

So, it’s Monday.   The old folks have a new Project to work on.  And we’re looking back and smiling.

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4 Comments on “Monday Smiles – 11/5/2012”

  1. Coming East Says:

    Some of our old photos were so awful, the only thing I could do was change them to black and white. Much better than the orange they were. We also have a ton of slides we would like to put into CD’s, but it is incredibly expensive to do that. My children bought me a little slide to digital converter a couple of years ago. It was a $100, but didn’t work at all, so I returned it. I love your ideas about putting all your albums in a container you can just grab in case you have to leave suddenly.

  2. That is a PERFECTLY AWESOME “job” – because scanning photos can be QUITE time consuming.

    Good job, Bud!

    PS: The before & afters are incredible.

  3. liggybee Says:

    That’s awesome! I digitized just a few old pictures, mainly those from high school (which are over 20 years old). I have yet to get around to digitizing all my childhood pictures which are still stuck in those old “magnetic” photo albums. Funny they’re called magnetic because they’re not…they’re really some kind of glue that rips the back of your photos off if you try to peel them out years later.

  4. territerri Says:

    Oh, the pictures I have! This is a project I hope to really dig into one of these days, though I think it’s going to be a long while for me.

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