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Thursday, Aug. 31, 2006
Iíve been having a grand time falling in love with this kid.

His mom, the Middlest One, brings him over most every evening. He and I generally have a conversation of sorts and bring each other the news of our day. Then he will take to draining a bottle of feed while the rest of us plow through fajitas or something. After which the two of us promptly fall asleep.

Just goes to show you how little removed I am from infancy.

Although Iím not the one needing to be burped after every meal. Allyís tendency to differ notwithstanding.

What a nice long summer it has been. Part of working for The Man that I knew from the beginning was the involvement of a major summer project, supposedly the largest job he had ever taken on, and it happened to be an elementary school. Being the road guy, the free ranging carpenter Iíve done a fair number of schools. Happens to be one of my specialties if you want to know the truth. And we happen to build a lot of them down here in the Swamp

When I was a boy attending an elementary school we sat in a room. It had industrial paint, a steel desk for the teacher and a sagging plywood bookcase built by the high school shop class down the road. Some desks and chairs and a chalkboard.

We definitely didnít have our own kitchen, and the teacher would have killed to have her own storage wardrobes, if she could even have vocalized the need.

I donít know where we hung our coats, and we didnít even have backpacks. So having a personal storage space must not have been too awfully important. They call this a cubby cabinet, which smacks of cuteness to me. Functional cuteness.

If we had an art room, a separate art room, I donít recall it. We surely didnít have wildly colored cabinets in a room with 16 foot ceilings and framed fabric panels on the wall. I remember smocks made from one of Dadís old shirts and tinged with finger paint. And colored paper, and blunt scissors.

Itís likely we had this. But the stuffy architects of that era would likely have pooh-poohed putting in radius treads and risers, and theyíd have made them from pine instead of oak, oak being very dear at the time.

Without question we wouldnít have had an entire lab for computers, because there were none back in the day. This room will have something like 24 computers in it. Nor did we have four computers in every single classroom (remember now, this is an elementary school which starts with pre-K and runs through 5th grade) and a library with another dozen. A dozen computers in the library and four half-stacks of books. ĎTis a strange world weíve become.

Forty classrooms, every one of them equipped as shown. A gymnasium that could handle a semi-pro basketball team. An immense kitchen, trophy cases (wish Iíd taken a picture of them because I basically built them from scratch, and they were way oakenly cool), administrative area and gang bathrooms and miles of terrazzo floors and on and on. All cooled by a institutional grade air conditioning system (kids these days, needing A/C in school . . .) and backed by a Cat generator the size of a tractor trailer.

30 million dollars later you got yourself a school.


One day I imagine the grandson will sit in such a place, for it is popular to build such places around here, and if there is an older school from the days when giants roamed the earth it is already slated for demolition and replacement by the new and orderly and computer filled. Such is the way of things, it puts food on the tables of architects and contractors and old foolish carpenters who roam long halls and fill rooms with cabinets and wood.

Thatís my world, folks. Or it least it has been since June.

But come the day after Labor Day, it will be theirs.

They can have my school, Iím about done with it now.

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