I took care of my brothers a lot when they were young. Mom worked 2nd shift, my sisters had lives, and I was next in line. I changed a lot of diapers and whatever else needed done. After they were housebroken I went off to college, but when I came back to town I usually took the twins for the weekends. I was like a weekend dad without the budget.
We settled into our routine after I bought a house. The twins would come over Friday night and we'd eat pizza and watch Disney movies. In the morning we walked to Denny's and they had smiley face breakfasts, then we went home and contemplated our next project.
We had projects every weekend. One day I decided a giant azalea bush would be better next to the garage instead of where I planned to put a fence. Digging around the roots was simple enough until we ended up with a beautiful root ball in the bottom of a deep hole with the dawning realization that one woman and 2 little boys didn't have the physical strength to move a 1,000 pound ball of dirt.
This brought us to the happiest times of projects -- the discussion. We were equally ignorant about how to reach our objective, but we brainstormed until we had a solution. It also gave us the chance to discuss physics over PB&Js.
In the end, I backed up my car and we used lever, fulcrum, and everything else we could think up to get the azalea out of the hole, with a whole lot of warnings about recoil, plus a whole lot of nifty inventions to hook up the mess to the car. We successfully planted the azalea in the new spot where it died a slow, painful death within a couple of years.
We also went to garage sales. We bought tools, and sometimes we met old men who told us what to do with them. I should probably say that the boys were super cute and everybody loved them.
I was thinking about this happy time when I stopped at a garage sale this weekend and bought a pile of flooring for $10. After a whole lot of effort the beat up floor to my sunroom/back porch looks beautiful. I'm feeling very pleased that I sized up that pile of boards perfectly and only have 3 to spare. I also hauled a bunch of stuff to my girlfriend's house and helped with her garage sale. I'm beyond exhausted, but it's a good kind of exhausted. It's the same kind of tired I felt when the twins and I used to collapse on the couch and watch more Disney movies and eat leftover pizza.
The twins are older, still cute, and still like projects. I still enjoy "discussions" with them and figuring out the cheapest/best way to do things. They can fix anything, build anything, and now that they're grown up they can even do stuff the right way sometimes without having to back up the car to a bush.
This whole string of thoughts was the result of seeing "contraption" and thinking about how Chris fixed a tractor with the spring from a ballpoint pen. I'm still impressed. I'd like to think I contributed to his inventiveness.I don't think the wind chimes I made exactly counts as an illustration, but it does seem like a contraption, and they make a really nice tinkling sound. I did paint them, but for the purists I included a leaf drawing for Illustration Friday.