The younger Mr. Wilner and I exchange a look and start laughing.
“Abba, I don’t know why you are laughing. Nothing funny happened.”
I shrug my shoulders and smile knowing there is no point trying to explain what took place and why it really is a funny moment. Don’t know that I could if I wanted to and am certain my daughter wouldn’t relate.
It is ok, she and her mom have their moments and I just let it go. When you are the only brother in a house full of sisters you learn early on that these things happen.
And in the words of the five year-old boy my oldest once was, “who understands girls anyway.”
I don’t remember all that led up to moment but I remember the look on his face and the earnest face of a five-year-old who was certain he was right because he was.
Though I did tell him that one day girls would be interesting and that it would be worth getting to know a few.
Heck, I told him recently it wasn’t important to understand everything. “Know what is truly important and what isn’t. Let go of the stupid stuff, you’ll be happier.”
Told that same boy that when he could relate to the quote above as truth he would understand things differently.
“I don’t have any interest in hearing any of your girl stories.”
I laughed and told him he needed to work on being blunter.
“Who do you think taught me.”
I nodded my head affirmatively.
“You know I was told by a supervisor not to finesse people. He said I needed to be really straight.”
“Dad, he doesn’t know you at all. You are not good at sugar coating things.”
“No, I am not good with sugar coating things with family. You don’t know me on a professional level.”
He scratched his head, thought about it and disagreed. “I have seen you finesse some people. But I have also seen you make like Aunt Jennifer with that lady who said we were acting like wolves.”
“Can’t mess with family. I take partial credit for your aunt, she had a great big brother who helped make sure she was tough.”
“Something tells me she wouldn’t describe you that way.”
“Maybe not, but if she was smart she would. I’ll call her now and tell her that.”
“Is there anyone you don’t mess with?”
Been to my favorite hardware store three times for personal business during the past two days.
Should have been twice but it turned out the tools I thought I had here are still in California in one of the tool chests I haven’t moved out here yet.
Looked at Dad’s picture and told him it was too bad he wasn’t here because I figured I’d walk the aisles and see if there was anything I hadn’t thought to buy yet.
Back home I took some of his tools from the garage and told him he could help me patch some drywall and work on a couple of other projects.
Ran into a hiccup or two and in between cursing thought back to working around the house with him. I could hear him tell me there is a difference between knowing how to do a job and actually doing it.
“You don’t know the tricks the guys who do it all the time and some jobs wear your hands out because you’re not used to doing those.”
He was and is right.
I can do many things, but the quality on some isn’t what I want it to be so I pick and choose what to do. Some things are worth doing because they provide practice and opportunity for improvement, but not all.
Made myself laugh when a sudden sneeze caused the ladder to rock and I had to figure out how to get my balance or figure out how to fly.
That would have hurt and given that I know a guy who died last summer after falling off of a ladder…
But I don’t think that is my fate.
Destiny is more interested in taking me apart over decades so that I am aggravated by recognizing what I could do and can’t do quite as well.
In between hammer blows I realize I am not sure if I get tomorrow off or not.
“Am I on vacation?”
No one answers me and I realize I am the only one in the room. Wouldn’t matter because no one else in the house works with me.
Can’t recall if I saw an email about this or if it was discussed in a meeting. One of the benefits of working remotely is I won’t worry about having to show up at an office. My bed is ten feet from my desk.
I can check my email in the morning and do whatever is appropriate.
Been working remotely for most of the last 13 or so years so this is nothing new.
The noise cancelling headphones that are streaming The Chain are the same ones I use for business calls and for drowning out airplane noise, gardeners, our dog and assorted family noise.
Somewhere in the midst of the work and chaos one of the guys gets me on the phone and asks me what I would do in a particular situation.
“Love me or don’t. That is what I would say, Sometimes you have to set boundaries. I have always been happier when I followed that.”
“Brother that could make you very single.”
“So what. Smoking could give you cancer and a bus could hit you tomorrow.”
“Aren’t you always talking about possibility and opportunity? Why the change?”
“Nothing changed, I still believe in both but I also believe we let some people yank our chains. Sometimes you have to take it out of their hands and hold it in yours.
If she loves you she will come forward and if she doesn’t, well time is short. We’re not 25 anymore.”
“Your edge is getting sharper.”
I laugh and say I don’t think so. He asks me another question and I tell him I have a quote from a five-year-old to share, “Who Understands Girls Anyway.”
He tells me that is not very helpful and I remind him I never made any money as a therapist.
“Were you ever one?”
“So why do you say you never made any money at it if you didn’t try?”
“It is not a lie. I never made any money doing it. But it is also true to say I never failed at it. Maybe I’d be bigger than Freud, but probably not. I am not interested in getting paid to listen to problems.”
“You’re a hell of a fellow.”
“I’ll take as a compliment.”
“You do that.”
“I did and I am. Thank you.”