Friday, August 26, 2022


The banging coming through the ceiling during the roof's replacement brings me back into childhood. My family lived inside of a gut renovation when most people wouldn't. I remember thinking it was radical, in a bad way, that my baby brother napped right though the massive iron fire escape being welded loose and crash-dropped into a backyard heap. The escape was stripped from the back of the building and just dropped.

Crashing, scary loud and he kept on sleeping. The closet they used as his nursery was on the back of the house, second floor, right there in the middle of It. I was worried most of the time, and about this, so I crept in and covered my ears with my hands, with my eyes on him. I watched for his small back to rise and fall so I could tell if he was breathing. Was he going to be okay?

I was nine when Michael was born and babies still slept on their tummies. I used to rock him to sleep as he sucked on the tip of my pinky. Arches high ballet style to reach him over the side of the crib, pressing up into and hurting my armpits as I lowered him, rubbing his back to ease the transition.

Then I was eleven and there was a second baby brother, who couldn't ever acclimate to the drama. He hasn't yet forgiven me for leaving for school and never really coming home again. 

It was a ragtag demo crew of my dad with my mom's friend Diane's cousins, or something like that. One of my jobs was to microwave endless dozens of soft pretzels. There were three kitchens initially, all pretty gross. The post-Victorian house had been converted into apartments in the seventies. Twenty years later it was trying to keep it together as six of us were hopping floors, swapping one kitchen to rip out another. I would carry the little microwave oven around, looking for a working outlet. I'd run each frozen pretzel under a tap, puzzle piece the shapes together on a plate, before sprinkling the course salt from the tiny plastic pouch. Next, make my delivery rounds holding the hot plate with an oven mitt in my left hand and a squirting out yellow mustard with my right. Jumbo sized with the crust on the spout :(

Somedays, they'd give me a five dollar bill and I'd load the babies into the wagon and steer clear of the scene for the day. In some ways, I've been living the same story for thirty years now. In other ways, everything is changing, shaking loose and getting done. I look outside to rubble everywhere. The roofers' many trucks kept the black bin from being emptied on trash day, so I'll see if they'll tip mine into their big dumpster.

The banging is actually lulling me to sleep. Hard to say no to a mid-morning nap.

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At 8/28/2022 12:23 AM , Blogger mwj said...

Saturday Updates: Business breakthroughs broke through on the last day of installation + phenomenal client session in El Salvador. The roofers invited me up their ladder to see before they took off, and did empty the black bin.
Perimeter clean up scheduled for Monday.
Window wash TBD.


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