Friday, September 21, 2012

Christmas in September: Bathroom Renovation Project 5

My brother Dan is driving across country as I write. Today is the day! We're starting the bathroom project. I am so excited, I feel like a child on Christmas morning.

One of the by-products of using my brother is that we will get lots of pictures, because I won't be embarrassed to photograph his work. Quite the reverse.

So, I'll tell a story about me and Dan. Or maybe two. He was born when I was 15 years old, and I love all my sisters and brothers--there are six of us and we each have a special bond of some sort with each of the others. Mine with Dan has its own flavor. His mind, even when he was young, was curious,  imaginative, inventive. Traits we share. And, he always made me laugh.

We used to make field trips, after I got a car and he was old enough to trail around after me. We'd go to junk yards and county fairs and I don't remember where else. Once we were driving past a small farm--this was in Ohio, where I grew up--and I told him oats were growing there, and he said, "Where? I don't see any." I pointed out the small, stubby green sprouts, barely visible in the long brown earth. "Oh," he said, disappointed in the way a child can be, "why aren't there oatmeal boxes springing up?"

A few years later, I wrecked my Duster. It was my first car--a glorious olive green flecked with sparkles, with a goldenrod fake alligator top and goldenrod racing stripes. I hand waxed it periodically and it really sparkled in the sun. It had a slant six engine, and I could reach it to work on it myself. I changed the spark plugs and the oil and the simple things dad had taught me. But then I wrecked it, by rear-ending someone who'd stopped too fast in front of me when I wasn't looking, and the front end had to be replaced. A friend and I went out to the junk yard (theme in this post, it seems), and found another Duster front end. It was red and badly faded with sun. So, I had a shiny green Duster with a dull rose-red front end. It was a monster.

Dan said to me, in sympathy, I don't know how old he was, 8 maybe. I must have been 22 or 23, so yes, that makes him 7 or 8. "When I grow up," he said, "I'm going to build us a two-car garage, and I'll make your side red, for your green-red car, and I'll take the green side and have a red-green car." We giggled and I felt better.

Now he works on monster trucks, so that was prophetic.

And today he's coming to work on my bathroom. Yeah, Dan.

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