The five or so regular readers here are probably wondering where I’ve gone. After all, I’m working from home, so I should have lots of time to write, right?
The sad truth is that I feel like I have less time to write than before. Between three current projects that actually pay money, our kitchen installation (countertops are going in as I peck away) and life in general, I think the folks here at the Lockardugan Estates have less free time than they did two months ago.
There have been several folks who have made our lives easier this past month, as we hunt for food out of the boxes in our dining room and wash dishes in the bathroom. The Cauzzis generously offered their kitchen during our demolition phase downstairs, and we’ve taken them up on many delicious warm dinners. They are also raising three tiny babies, so we’ve tried to be respectful of their time and help out if we can. When Todd asked me if I could take a look at their front windows before the cold weather swept into Baltimore, I took him up on it without thinking twice.
Indulge me for a minute as I bring up a little Dugan History here. During my junior year of college, I got a side job painting the house of one of my professors, which made eating and drinking (primarily drinking) more economically feasible. I spent the fall of 1992 on her porch, scraping and painting the ceiling, listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana from the nearby Loyola dorms and working until the dusk made it too dark to see. As word got out in the neighborhood about the student handyman, I got another job after that working on her friend M’s house, shifting to interior work for the winter and back outside in the spring. She liked having me there, and we settled into a comfortable routine during the season—I’d come out and work for four hours, and she’d cook us both dinner. We became friends outside of the work I was doing on her house, and she went so far as to host a graduation party in her backyard for me.
After leaving college with a less-than-practical degree in Illustration, I kept housepainting, switching back and forth between houses, getting more and more involved as time went on. Simple painting gave way to repair carpentry, removing shingle siding, basic roofing, restoring sash windows, running air conditioning ductwork, insulating, and eventually gutting/rehabbing a bathroom in a third neighbor’s house. I worked in that neighborhood for the better part of two years, and while I thought I did a pretty decent job, I was a lousy businessman. After two years I had to give it up to seek a better-paying job doing design.
Working at the Cauzzis’ yesterday reminded me of that first fall I spent outdoors, working hard to keep warm and race the sun. I pulled the storms out, scraped and glazed the windows, and got a coat of primer to dry with an hour of sunlight to spare. H. made me lunch, which I finally ate at about 3, and I headed back out to put a coat of paint on the windowframes. As I was on the ladder, I was thinking about all the people in my life who have helped me along the way, and about the simple pleasure of helping my friends. I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of tipping the scale back, but I’d like to think I made a good start yesterday. So, thanks to W. and M. for keeping me employed (and fed) back in the day, and thanks to the Cauzzis for letting me pay it forward.