Friday, April 15, 2016

Grandpa: For Hire

Yesterday as part of our #bathroom renovation, I took some of our old doors to a local woodshop.
We've decided to preserve the integrity, as much as possible, and keep the doors. Our old bathroom door will have glass cut into the upper panels, and our kitchen door was to have an old window I resurrected out of a French bakery, cut into it.
I'm well aware that there are door for sale every day, and even doors that can be made to look exactly like the old ones we have, minus the 17 coats of white paint.
But That just Won't Do, for this Dame. 
So Gone to Goebel's , I went. And wasn't prepared for. 
Bob is a man in his middle 70's that used to employ 7-8 men. Now he's just a one man show. His eyes we're icy blue and I imagined for a moment the man he looked like in his late 20's. We talked about my project, and he told me to pull around to unload.
I opened the door to his dimly lit shop and was completely overwhelmed. 
I almost lost my breath. The wood shavings, the sawdust, ad That smell.
I had been in plenty of shops before, but this was on a different level.
This was tens of years of  hands on wood work.
This was exactly like walking downstairs to my grandpas basement.
I allowed myself to become distracted in talking details about each door.
Bob felt the need to write everything in an old spiral bound notebook, including his hourly rate.
He said he liked to keep everything on the "Up and Up". I have no doubt this man knew every piece of inventory he had in that whole shop.
We settle on an estimated price and I give him a deposit.
He is again insistent he write me a paper receipt, and then "photocopy" it.
I am once again left to get lost in what I see.
All the bottles of wood glue, all the coffee cans of wood "biscuits", and all the markings of one man's work. I have no doubt he knows what's all here. I can see it and smell it.
I can see his hands on the planer, I can see him holding a saw, and I can see the wood shavings flying. And then it hits me. 
I don't have a Grandpa.
 I no longer have this man, that will make it his life's duty to fix what I've doomed.
And though I have to hire this man for his work, his work won't compare. 
His work won't compare to the commitment my Grandpa had. This is the man that re- roofed his house at the ripe age of 90. Yes 90 people. The man that decided to re- brick his entire chimney, from basement over roofline, one bucket of bricks at a time, when he was about 89. The man that drove every day until he was 99. And The man that wanted to work harder in his retirement, than most people work in their regular life. 
I shouldn't sell Bob short.
I've never had him work on any other of my other crazy projects.
I haven't even asked him if he has children. We didn't get That close upon our first meeting.
Maybe I'll ask him when I go again to pick up my doors.
But for now, because I don't have one, Bob will just have to be my,
Grandpa, for Hire.  

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