Friday, September 14, 2007

Fifty-six years later

I think I've mentioned here in the past that my great grandfather, Simeon Leland, was once the chair of the department of economics here at the University of Chicago. He was also something of an amateur photographer. It turns out that he took some kind of official trip to Latin America in 1950, and Dad's visit here meant that I had the chance to digitalize some of the slides that he took at that time. He and I have been to some of the same places, and so you can compare rather directly how things have changes over fifty-odd years. I have slides from Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Mexico. I'm not going to post them all at once...but here's one from Chile's major port, Valparaiso, where we had almost the exact vantage.

As you can see, in 1950 it was already quite a busy port:

Here it is in 2006. If you look at the photos at full size it's easier to see how much more closely packed the hills are.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Floor

I'm back in Chicago, and Dad has been visiting here the last week. Our major project has been to re-do the floor in the pantry. The previous owners of the condo had done a beautiful job doing the bathroom and the kitchen, but the pantry remained undone. When we were preparing the floor, we found two things: under the linoleum, a penny from 1953 and a scrap of newspapers from 1925. The 1925 paper probably dates the layer of tarpaper, directly above the wooden flooring; the penny probably dates the linoleum. At any rate, here is how it used to look:

Since we didn't want to pull up the old linoleum, but needed to even out the floor, we put down a layer of cementboard. The old baseboards seemed moldy, so we pulled those off as well:

On top of this layer, we put down the tile. When we went to the store to get new tiles, we didn't find a sufficient number of the red ones that we liked, so we put some white ones in the middle. I'm glad it worked out that way, since I think this looks even better that it would have with all of the light-red tiles. After putting down the cement mastic, we added the grout and the new and newly-stained baseboards. Now it looks like a real pantry! Thanks for all the help, Dad.