We've got a lot done on the Range this year, most of it improvements you won't notice, and only a couple big projects requiring permits, but it was a steady bit of restoration, organization and clean up, especially after we had a basement flood.
It meant there was little time to work on book #3 this year, as it's pretty hard to concentrate with the noise, even on the days I can't really help. My work days are also much longer now with the commute and there are no more "bachelor pad" nights, where after talking to my husband on the phone, I had several hours to work. I am so blessed to be home full time, but those extra hours allowed me to write a lot more.
Today, I have only a lunch break to jot down some chapter ideas, while at home my husband looks at a pile of stringers, as a man does when confronted by a creature that may sting or bite, and he cares for neither. He'll get it done, even if it takes a couple more weekends, because we want it done right, not quick, a concept foreign to many people.
Seeing the house unfold, as two homes were combined, has been a pleasure, though I'm sure burglars will look through the front window, see all of the antiques, the sconces on the wall, NO TV or sound equipment and will walk away, thinking a couple 90 year old's live here. Though the kitchen cabinets were completely rebuilt, the walls re-plastered and painted, it still looks like a 40's kitchen, the only decorative bits my Mom's Swedish horses and a jar of marbles I found in my brother's childhood bedroom, the ones we played with for years as children, crouched down like small gargoyles perched on the edge of the earth.
The sun still glints on those marbles as you walk through the kitchen into the living room. Looking around, the time could be 2016 or it could be 1935. I like that sense of timelessness as I spend my work day dealing with the machining of lives and law. By the time I get home, the drive sometimes taking as long as an hour and a half, I'm breathing slow and labored, like a man with a hundred pound weight on his chest. I walk into this house, make some tea or pour a finger of scotch, put on some Classical music, and light a lamp, and the air goes out of my chest in a gentle whoosh. In that instant, I care nothing for politics, for work, or what is outside, only the slow dance of my evening with my best friend, spouse, and Abby's stuffed animal surgeon.
For we were family and I loved him as deeply as he loved and defended me.
But as his home was readied for sale and his things were organized at my Dad's where he lived the last year of his life, while his son took care of the home he no longer could afford, I saw a familiar pattern.
His home had no home computer and no TV. The furniture was old and much of it was hand restored. The house was in need of updating, but he preferred to do that himself, on his own schedule, rather than pay someone with the fruits of his labor for tasks he could easily learn how to do himself. There, beneath a stopped clock, responsive now only to the last stroke of eternity, sat some tools for yet another project he'd never be able to wield them for to finish.
That last night as we gathered up his things, I realized, that as different as we were in many ways, he being the fellow that always had a hundred friends, me being the one that only allowed a handful in close, he terrified of flying, myself terrified of small enclosed places. Yet, we were so alike, strong willed and sometimes stubborn. I could almost smell the white smoke of the cigarettes he refused to quit smoking, even as the cancer ate at him, smelling it burning in the ash tray by his fingers, the smoke trailing out the window into the tattered, tumbling midnight.
Our cars bore an emblem of the US flag, and our shelves the Bible, and we refused to apologize for either. For many years, we turned down promotions to higher command, both realizing that although command was sometimes magic, it often contained an atmosphere of officialdom that seemed to staunch human endeavor and we were happier out in the field, preferring out hands bloodied or dirtied to the false supremacy of paper and ink.
He'd still laugh if he saw me in a suit though.
I'm glad I have these days and these memories - for my brother left an imprint of his life behind, one that's so similar to mine - that in the recognition of, I sometimes feel closer to him in death than our deep bond in life.
As the tools are put down as darkness was upon us, I looked up at the skies. What captures my gaze are the unsteady stars, that if blown upon would tumble like large marbles in the sky, then brighten to small specks of light in a wet sheen, that I realized was the view through my tears.