Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

The "It's Not Your Father's VW" Story

Tad's new ride.  A 2013 VW Beetle.
It was an ordinary day.  My son, Tad, just stopped to show Carol and me his new car.  Neat little 2013 VW Beetle.   Now, I must say that it certainly doesn't resemble either of the VW Bugs that I owned back in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  This car, which has approximately 29,000 miles on it has a front mounted 2.0-liter direct-injected, intercooled 4-cylinder that puts out 200 HP.  
I love the sporty wheels.
It alledgly goes from zero to 60 in the mid-6 second range and still gets 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, but does require premium gas.  My VW's might have gone 60 … downhill!   The interior is really slick looking with guauges everywhere.  I naturally had to sit in the driver's seat and was amazed at the amount of space in the front seating compartment.  The car has a 6-speed manual transmission which I'm sure is fun to shift.  
Interior showing all the gauges.
The large vented front disc brakes and solid rear discs have fancy red calipers that really set off the mag wheels.  This is certainly not his father's old VW.  The roof line has been lowered to give the car a sporty look.  Tad had talked about getting the Bug for quite some time.  A dealer near his home in western Lancaster County had one on the lot for quite some time so he stopped in for a test drive a few weeks ago.  
Another view of the interior of the car.
He said he loved the feel of the car, but the former owner must have been a smoker and the awful smoke smell still remains in the car.  The price and milage was good, but he passed on the deal because of the odor.  Then the wife of his best friend got a used car and took Tad to the dealer with her when she stopped to check on something on her new car.  He got talking to the dealer and they said they would do a search for what he wanted.  Well ... sitting in front of me is the result.  
Tad's 1972 Chevelle SS.
Tad has a Toyoto truck which is his main driver as well as a 1972 Chevelle which he bought about 15 years ago.  He got the bug for a new car a few months ago after seeing the VW on the lot near his house.  He finally decided to give up his muscle car and get the VW.  His Chevelle sits in his garage most of the year so he has decided to sell it so he can keep both his vehicles in his garage.  At first I thought he might be sorry to give up the Chevelle, but after seeing his new ride, I don't think he will miss it as much as I thought.  I'm anxious to take it for a drive soon and see how well it handles compared to the VW Bugs I used to have.  I'm assuming there is no comparison at all.  My wife finally asked him, "So where is the flower holder."  "Oh mom, they don't have those anymore!"  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The "Thanks To The Russians" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Adding another story to my blog about the historic snowstorm that hit the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  At least once a week I will go into the site and read the comments and respond where needed as well as check the stats which reflect the audience who is reading and from what countries where they may live.  Well, for the past few months I have been amazed at the readership from Russia.  Yesterday there were 178 Russian readers, many more than there from the United States.  I usually get a few readers every day from some of the different Caribbean islands where we have visited over the past fifteen years, mainly because of the many friends we have made in those islands.  Yesterday there was even one reader each from Mauritius and the Philippines.  
This is the world map on the "Blogger" website.  The green color shows the countries of the readers of the stories that I post daily.  The darker the green, the more the readership.  The very dark green in the upper-right is Russia and Ukraine.  The United States to the upper-left is a lighter shade of green since there are fewer readers at the moment from the United States.  It does change from day to day and week to week.  So interesting to watch the color changes on the map.
At times I get readers from places I had never heard of before.  It is so interesting to see the readership map which shows where the readers are located in green; the more readers, the darker the color of green.  This past week has been very bright green over Russia and the Ukraine.  Why I don't know.  I assume that my stories are translated by the "Blogger" website into the language of the reader that has accessed my stories.  A few summers ago, while visiting the beach side town of Ocean City, New Jersey in June with my family for vacation, the readership jumped almost 3,000 a day from readers in Germany.  After about two weeks it dropped, but I still get a few hundred readers a week from Germany.  I would love to know how they found my blog and the reasons for why they read it from day to day.  I realize that my prose does not match that of a seasoned newspaper writer or novelist, but that seems to be the reason why some read day after day.  They can understand my very basic writing skills which originated from years of schooling in the English language where I received mostly grades of "C".  "C", for those who are unfamiliar with the grading system in the schools of the United States, means average.  One nice feature on the "Blogger" website is the fact that as I type, it corrects my spelling instantly for me, unless I really botch a word and it has no idea what I just typed.  In that case it underlines the word and gives me a chance to click on it which takes me to their dictionary so I can correct my mistake.  You can't imagine how much I have enjoyed writing my stories which began as a diary of sorts so I could record the many stories of my life in written form that could be saved for my future generations to read.  Little did I know it would last for 2,318 stories and counting.  Thanks, Russia, for reading stories from a little town in south-eastern Pennsylvania where the mode of transportation in the county side is largely by horse and buggy by people who dress in mostly black and white clothing and farm the rich soil by hand and with horse drawn farm equipment.  I'm sure you would love it here in Lancaster County.  I have for 71 years!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The "One More Physical Malady Conquered" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Sitting in the passenger's seat of our Honda CRV with a slight smile on my face, for you see, Carol and I have just exited my urologist's office after having my catheter and kidney stent removed.  For perhaps the 20% of you who have had a kidney stone in the past, you know the pain and subsequent anguish that it causes.  I was lucky that it wasn't as debilitating as it is for some people.  I had just two painful attacks, weeks apart, before it was removed.  Some were probably luckier than me and were able to pass their stone without a needed procedure.  My last few days were ones of wondering if the procedure had worked which I wouldn't know until today.  I must have taken close to a dozen different types of drugs during the last week.  Some helped while others did no good at all.  All prescriptions were for small amounts so as not to allow me to consume too many.  And the receptionists and nurses at my urologist's office are saints to have put up with my constant barrage of calls over the past few days describing the "pain of the day".  Well, today went smoothly.  After talking with my doctor where he reiterated what took place during my procedure, his nurse practitioner removed the catheter and stent with one slight tug on it.  You could tell she must have done it many times before.  Instant relief was felt.  Shortly the doctor returned and told me he wanted to see me in a month to do another scan and make sure everything looked as it should.  The many doctors I have visited and trusted with my health in the past have all done a fantastic job.  The doctor who pulled me through my latest adventure, Dr. Seiber, is an incredible and passionate doctor.  He told me what he was going to do and why, and then completed the task with great skill.  I only wish that all readers on this site have the same positive outlook and results that I have had in the past.  The field of medicine is truly a blessing.  It was another extraordinary in the life of an ordinary guy.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The "Fairies In The Woods" Story

The Mount Gretna Playhouse which is near the Fairy Garden.
It was an ordinary day.  Quietly standing amongst the tall trees in the Fairy Garden of the Pennsyl- vania Chautau- qua, waiting for the fairies to fly by on their fireflies.  How can you have a bad day when this is all you have to do?  
Sign leading into the garden.
The Fairy Garden at Mt. Gretna in the hills of Lebanon, Pennsyl- vania is located near the Mount Gretna Playhouse where Carol and I travel a few times each summer to hear the music of some of the most famous groups of the 50's and 60's.  In the cool shade, amid the charm of cottages and shops, is this beautiful place called the Fairy Garden.  
A small placesetting is visited by a small bird.
Miniature place-settings, hanging tree ornaments, tiny tea cups and wishing stone treasures make this special place an interesting and intriguing place for children.  A local woman named Carol has taken it upon herself to take care of the garden to make it special for the children.  
Carol organizing the fairy settings.
She notes that for years children have extended their kindness when they visit the fairy garden and leave their hard-earned coins behind in teacups for the fairies.  At times the children will leave a message behind for a fairy.  The money that is collected each year from the fairy garden is donated to the Ronald McDonald House in nearby Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Several hundred dollars are donated annually due to children leaving coins behind.  
Someone has left a small house for the fairies.
I find the garden very interesting and fun to visit and a great place to take photographs.  It is easy to see why children can believe that fairies actually live in the woods and sleep and eat in the garden.  And, it is so refreshing to believe that someone as kind as Carol can make time to visit often to make sure the garden is kept in order and notes and coins are read and put to good use.  Life is simple in this part of the woods and the fairies are doing well.  I only wish I could see one arrive on a firefly sometime.  Then I would really BELIEVE!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.



Slow down and enjoy the garden.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The "De-Stoning Of LDub & Carol" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Looking at the dozen or more bottle of pills sitting on the snack tray next to me.  Trying to figure out which one I should be taking for the shaking, which one to take for the nausea and which one to take for the antibiotic.  It was over a month ago that both myself and my wife developed pains; my in my left side and Carol's in her right side.  Carol became ill a few time on a recent trip to Puerto Rico.  Caused pain in her side and nausea.  When we returned she went to our family doctor who sent her to a surgeon.  The surgeon suspected it was her gall bladder based on how she described her symptoms.  He decided on a few tests to help in his diagnosis.  One test was an endoscopy which ran a camera/scope done her throat to take photos of the areas around the gall bladder.  The surgeon noticed her bile duct was enlarged and ordered another test.  That test showed a gall stone lodged in it so another procedure using a tube about the size of a small garden hose was inserted in her mouth and down her throat was done to remove the stone.  The procedure went well, but the anesthesia caused severe nausea.  She is finally recovered, but must visit her surgeon to make arrangements to have her gall bladder removed.  As for me, about a month ago I had a severe pain in my left side which after a visit to the ER proved to be two kidney stones.  A few days ago I had them removed so we are now both minus our stones.  
My procedure involved using a ureteroscope which is inserted in the penis and into the bladder.  When in the bladder he found the stones, attached together, and removed them.  He then placed a stent in the abdomen to reduce the risk of complications.  The stent remains in my body until a follow up visit when it, along with the catheter that is still in place, will be removed.  The stent goes from the bladder, through the Ureter, to the Kidney.  I had a slight complication when the scope scratched me and caused bleeding.  I don't take recovery very well!  I have made over a half dozen calls to the doctor's office already asking about my nausea, how to stop from shaking, my pain from the catheter, my pain I have in my kidney, my pain in this .... and that.  I have the doctor's number programmed in my phone nauturally.  Right now Carol is making yet another trip to the pharmacy to pick up pills to stop my pain in my kidney and to help stop the bladder contractions.  Oh, for good health once again!  At least we have both been de-stoned.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (JB)" Story

Glasses on the Tiki Bar await 5:00 Happy Hour.  Gonna be
quite a wait judging by the piles of snow on our deck.
It was an ordinary day.  Grabbed the camera and made my way around our "Beach House" to take a few photos to show you the results of the 23" of snow that arrived a few days ago.  The sun was bright, the shadows long and the air was laced with the chill of a new-fallen snow.  Hey, it's winter in the north-east.  Thought I'd share with you the results of my trip around the house this morning.  A splash of color here and there make for a neat winter photograph.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

View from the back door. 
A bright red Cardinal sits near our bird feeder.
Looking toward of grove of walnut trees.
There is a deck with wooden fence around it, but tough to find at the moment.
Light next to our garage door collected snow for us.
Drifting snow along the roofline above our garage.
Another drift near the front door. 
Our six foot piece of driftwood that hangs along the garage is decorated with snow.
Red berries add some color to winter.
Our two Blue Spruce look grand. 
Rope railing on the back deck carries snow toward the top. 
Front driveway registers 23" on the yardstick. 
My camera registers the snow lines from my blower on the driveway.
Creamsicle seems mystified as he surveys the deck.


Monday, January 25, 2016

The "$.78 cent Pain" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just got back from the doctor’s office after a follow up visit from earlier in December when I made a visit to talk about the sudden illness I developed from a pair of kidney stones which was the cause of my #10 pain.  He told me he wanted to see me in about a month so I could give them time to pass through my body and avoid having him have to remove them.  Week after week I remained pain-free once again and earlier this week I visited a local lab and presented them with a paper which told them to X-ray my abdomen to check and see if the stones remained in my body.  I no sooner got home from that early morning lab visit when I got the intense #10 pain back once again.  My wife loaded me in the back seat of the car and off we went to the emergency room once again.  Same thing as before: IV in the arm and narcotics to relieve the pain with a cat-scan to check once again for the stones.  I told them I had been given an X-ray a few hours before in one of their facilities, but that didn’t matter.  After an hour or so of waiting on a litter in the ER, the #10 pain came back once again.  Another shot of pain killers and a visit from the emergency room doctor.  I was told they couldn’t do anything more and I would have to visit my urologist.  “What about the #10 pain,” I asked.  I was given a prescription for strong pain pills and told it was time to leave.  They actually told me I was worse off in the ER since there were so many other things I could get by staying there.  So, Carol pulled the car up to the ER door, I climbed in the back seat once again and we stopped at the pharmacy for the pain pills before heading home.  Now the only good news from this entire day was the fact that the  twelve #10 pain pills only cost 78 cents.  I popped the pills for the rest of the evening and all night hoping the pain wouldn’t return.  Early the next morning my stomach felt terrible from all the #10 pain pills and the narcotic shots from the ER.   After a call to my urologist, another drug store trip was needed for something to settle my stomach.  Stopping the pain pill and the stomach relaxer seemed to make me feel better, but the dread of the #10 pain returning was working on my mind.  Well, it’s been three days and I managed to get to the urologist’s office without anymore pain to see what was my next move.  He showed me the stones were still in place and he would remove them a few days later.  He was scheduled to hop a plane to Orlando after my visit so he could speak at a conference.  Guy is a fantastic urologist!   All has been going smooth since the #10 pain subsided, until NOW!   An historic snowstorm has been dropping snow now for two days.  Will my doctor return in time for my procedure?   I sure hope so!   The saga continues ....  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The "The Historic Storm!!" Story

LDub did have to clear the rear deck in case we need to exit the
house.  Snow there was close to two feet deep at the time.  I'm
moving slowly so as to avoid any movement of the kidney stones.
It was an ordinary day.  Saturday, and watching TV, since there is nothing else to do!  Joe Calhoun, the local weather- man on NBC Channel 8 out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is starting to look rather haggard.  Perhaps it's because he has been on air since noon of Friday reporting on the storm that is traveling up the east coast of the U.S.  Started about dark last evening and Carol and I have been following it on Channel 8, The Weather Channel and out our back door.  This storm hit at a very inopportune time since I am harboring a couple of kidney stones which, with a bunch of movement, makes them move around and creates great pain.  So .... we're sitting in front of the TV watching all the stories from towns and cities on the east coast where the snow is falling.  
Captured on The Weather Channel.
One very interesting story came from Stone Harbor, New Jersey where the Weather Channel reported that the bay behind the island city was flooding the city.  For years Carol and I have visited Stone Harbor with my brother and sister-in-law for a week.  As we watched the TV today we saw coverage from the local Hotel, The Reeds at Shelter Haven, located at Third and 96th Streets.  We were shocked at the flooding in the streets and nearby stores.  Guy walking up the middle of the street had water halfway up his legs with ice blocks floating past him.  The flooding in the city is almost a foot higher than when Hurricane Sandy struck in October of 2012.  There on the screen was Uncle Bill's Pancake House with water a foot up the door.  Across Third Street our favorite gallery has water entering the store.  All along the same streets that suffered damage in 2012 there is water a foot high or more entering the stores.  And .... it's early afternoon and high tide isn't scheduled until later in the evening.  
Weatherman Joe Calhoun shows the Top 5 Snowstorms in the
city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The latest made it to the top
of the list by almost half a foot.  And, it's still snowing.
As far as Lancaster, on the TV is a chart showing that the storm is now #1 on the list of Top 5 snowstorms of all-time.  28.6" is the average amount of snow .... so far.  Topped the 1983 storm of 25.0" by over 3" and the snow still hasn't stopped.  Hopefully by midnight the snow will stop.  Tomorrow my snowplow driver will arrive and do my driveway.  Getting smarter as I age.  Let the tough stuff for the pros.  Can't say I'm anxious for anymore snow this winter.  I've had enough.  Oh, for the warm sun and white sandy beaches of St. Martin.  Won't be long!!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The "Weather Outside Is Frightful ……" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Nah ….. it is a terrible day.  Weather outside is frightful, as is sung, and the snow is so delightful ….. NAH!  Stop the snow, stop the snow, stop the snow ….. PLEASE!  I have neither the energy to combat the weather today, or the physical ability to fight what is happening outside my door right now.  Just fed the cat and after he ate, he walked to the door for his morning trot around the property.  He couldn't even see out the door since the snow has been blown a couple of feet up the door on the outside.  I know I have already posted a story today, but I have very little else to do since my morning newspaper will not be delivered.  I did get an email telling me I could see today's edition online if I care to, so I cared to!  Thought I would share the link with you so you may also see what I get to read on a daily basis.  Hope the link http://:lnptoday.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx works for you.  You will probably have to type the link yourself, since I can't seem to link it for you.  Probably since you didn't pay for the paper.  If you can't view it, you'll just have to believe that it is terrible with the wind howling and another foot or more of the white stuff on it's way in good old Amishland.  I used to enjoy this, but that was "used to" days ago."  I'll be back soon ….. need to brush the cat who is standing next to his brush and talking to me in some form of gibberish.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The "Remembering John Hancock" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reflecting back on my teaching days when I taught Graphic Arts in high school.  One of my favorite areas of the arts, as well as one of my student's favorites, was the unit in penmanship or calligraphy ….  or just plain handwriting.  I had printed 11"x17" paper with guide lines for the students to practice and many of them filled page after page with a variety of different styles of letters or fonts.  They were so used to pushing keys on a typewriter and then in later years on a computer keyboard and yet later on a phone that they had forgotten the fun and skill that it took to write a letter by using plain old handwriting.  
We also printed greeting cards that required them to use their handwriting skills to letter the inside of the card that would carry an etched or block print front to the card.  To suggest to them to pick up a pencil or pen or even a crayon and write or even print a few words was a struggle for me, but after a week of trying different fonts and different instruments, most seemed to enjoy the lost art of penmanship and handwriting.  I began the unit telling them about the many historical documents for which calligraphy had been used …. the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and even letters to mom and dad from camp when my generation was very young.  For years handwriting was the main means of communication.  It really wasn't until Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in the mid-1400's that printing with the use of type came into use.  On or near January 23 of each year we would celebrate National Handwriting Day in my class.  
Note handwritten by Marg.
I tried to save that unit until that time of the year if possible, but if not, we would still take time out, get out the pens and ink and make a handwriting note or letter to celebrate the day.  Printing or writing in cursive actually activates different parts of the brain that usually are not exercised otherwise.   My wife's friend Marg still sends us cards from time to time that will carry handwriting, either in printing or cursive form, on the front or the inside of the card.  Her penmanship is beautiful and a card such as this means so much more than one that is purchased.  So, today, being that it is National Handwriting Day, how about writing a handwritten letter or note to someone you love or may be a good friend with and show them just how much you appreciate them.  Doesn't matter if it is with a ballpoint pen, liquid ink pen or just a pencil.  Just do it!

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The "Photography In His Blood" Story

It was an ordinary day.  July 4, 1978 and the newspaper had just arrived.  There on the front page of the paper was a photo of my daughter, Brynn, who had just turned four years old that day.  It was a few days before that Richard Hertzler had made a visit to our home on Janet Avenue to take the photo for the Lancaster New Era.  Richard started as a photographer for the Lancaster Sunday News in 1972, following in his father's footsteps at the newspaper.  O. Henry Hertzler had been a photographic icon at the newspaper for years.  He had won numerous awards for photographic journalism.  After about six months of working for the Sunday News, Richard joined the staff of the Lancaster New Era, the evening newspaper for the city and county of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.   He worked alongside his father for two years before his father's death in 1975.  Richard took up right where his father had left off, documenting the news and environment of historic Lancaster County.  At first Richard, or Rick, used film as his medium to give readers of the newspaper a glimpse into the news and images of the county, then he used a digital format to convey the same items to the readers.  Over the last 40 years he has taken thousands of photographs for the area's largest circulation daily newspaper.  
Richard Hertzler's new book on Lancaster County, PA.
Then, in 2014, Rick and the Lancaster Newspaper decided to make a book that featured some of the best of Rick's work taken during his tenure at the newspaper.  The resulting 15" x 11" coffee-table book is amazing.  The cover of the book lists the title as: "My Lancaster County" is a collection by photojournalist Richard Hertzler.  I had ofter wanted to stop at the newspaper office on West King Street and buy a copy, but never did.  Finally, this past Christmas, my son Tad, who works for Inteligencer Printing where the book was printed, bought a copy of it for me.  I have looked through it multiple times admiring the artistic work that fills it's pages.  I have shared it with everyone who visits and they too think it features a beautiful collection of Lancaster County scenes.  I hope in the near future to stop at the newspaper office and have Rick sign my copy of the book.  Will have to take the photo of Brynn with me to see how well his memory may be of past assignments.  Should be fun.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The "Enough to scare the crap out of you!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Checking TTOL (TravelTalkOnline), one of my favorite online forums dealing with Caribbean travel and adventure, when I came across a few posts dealing with takeoffs and landings at the Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten.  This is one of the airports in the Caribbean that is listed on "Scariest Landings" and for good reasons.  What is nice is that when landing on the island, passengers have no idea just how close the undercarriage of the plane comes to touching a chain link fence at the head of the runway since that can't be seen except by those in the cockpit of the plane.  But, while sitting at one of the beach bars on either side of Maho Beach, the beach at the head of the runway, it is amazing that the planes don't touch the fence.  Well, a few members of TTOL posted takeoffs and landings that recently happened and I just had to post them here for you to see and marvel at while wondering why anyone would want to visit the island of St. Maarten.  Carol and I are well aware of the short runway and the fact that the fence is in the flight path of planes landing and taking off, but we also realize that airlines wouldn't fly into PJIA if it wasn't safe enough to do so.  So, enjoy the videos as I have and marvel as to the skill and techniques needed and used by the pilots as they land and takeoff from the airstrip on the island known to all as "The Friendly Island."  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.








Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The "Framing Memories To Last A Lifetime" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Working of two framed collages of photographs taken by a customer while on a safari.  They chose to have the gallery where I work part-time complete two framed collages, since they had such a large collection of photographs as well as they wanted to give one to a friend who took the trip with them and be able to keep the other for themself.  In order to give you an idea of how I go about creating the finished result, I took photographs throughout the procedure to share with you.  I think you'll see how interesting a way it is to share vacation photographs with everyone who visits with you without having to pass around a hand-full of 4x6 prints.  So, follow with me as I take you through the procedure of creating a neat visual journey of a vacation …..

I start with cutting the frame the customer has chosen.  It must be a frame deep enough to accommodate photographs that I will place on foam and will make three dimensional inside the frame.  Here I am driving in steel corners to hold the bottom of the frame together.  I have already glued the frame and placed small nails at the top for extra support.
I next cut the glass to size and place it, after cleaning, in the frame.

I take the customer's prints and place them on dry-mounting tissue on top of a piece of black foam.  It then goes in the dry-mounting press as seen here.  This will attach the prints to the foam.
After trimming the prints I place them on a piece of black mat board.  The mat board has been glued to another piece of 1/4" black foam for more strength.
Around the edge of the frame I tape pieces of black foam.  These pieces will hold the glass in place and give me a place to attach a piece of black mat board.  This will line the frame with black mat board to make the final result more visually pleasing.
Here you can see the black foam with a layer of black mat board on top of it.  
I'm now ready to glue the photos onto the black mat board base.  I use a water-soluble glue that will hold the black foam board in place on the black mat board.  As you see here, I used additional black pieces of foam to give the photos different depths in the collage.
This is the final piece of the puzzle.  All pieces have been glued in place with some being closer to the glass while others are directly against the bottom black mat.

I am not ready to place the finished piece with all the layered photos into the frame that has the black foam and mat attached to it.  I must make sure that there is no dust on the glass, sides, and prints before sliding it in place.
I turn it upside down and use metal wedges to hold the job in place.
I them go around the edges with a layer of double-sided tape which will hold the dust cover in place.  The dust cover is needed to keep pests such as silverfish from entering the job and making a mess of the project.
After placing the brown paper in place on the back, I take a razor blade and trim the excess  paper from the edges.
Since this is such a large job (40 inches by 20 inches) I am using "Wall Buddies" which will make it easier to hang.
Here are the two final collages that I completed for the customer.  I'm sure they will love them.  I do!

If you are in need of framing and would like me to work on it for you, bring it to Grebinger Gallery and Lancaster Custom Framing on the Lititz Pike in Neffsville, PA.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.