1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006


Darwin is like a little boy, always coming home with scabby shins and random cuts and dings the origin of which he can't remember. His hands are calloused and laced with tapered white scar lines.

Here's Darwin comparing war wounds with our neighbor D (who cut her finger on a table saw in December):

It's funny how much a person's hands can tell you about them.

Darwin's are proof of a man who works with his hands, has always worked with them. A man who was a terrible student, yet everyone he meets can recognize how smart he is. A man who people trust to do good work. A man who inspires respect and devotion.

I never pictured myself married to someone who hates to read books, didn't go to college, and uses the word "ain't" with gusto. Yet when he touches me with his calloused, wonderful hands, I know there could be no other option.

Some folks try to get all snooty about people who didn't go to college, as if they're ignorant and useless in the world. But the truth is, where would we be without people like Darwin, who know how to use their hands and their heads?

Who's really the useless one? Take me for example. I was always one of the smart kids, and I was awesome at standardized tests. My parents had a nice house, and they bought me a 2-year-old Mustang when I turned 16. I got a full scholarship for school and breezed through getting internships and a job.

When everything comes easily for you, it's easy to get lazy. I'm possibly the worst procrastinator on planet earth, and I'm a master at distracting myself from the task at hand. When working on the house, I wear out quickly ... a few rounds of dragging limbs to the road, and I'm completely beat.

Look at my hands, and you'll see the whole story. They're plump and pink and smooth. Before buying this house, the only scars on my body were from the chicken pox and mosquito bites.

Now I have two more scars, a faint heat-gun burn on my thigh and a tiny line on the pad of my right middle finger. I got the cut from a shard of ceramic tile when I was demo-ing the bathroom floor (oh God, was that really in AUGUST? No wonder I'm sick of talking about the bathroom). I did the paint scraping and the tile bashing all by myself and with no one asking me to do it.

Forgive me if I'm proud of my scars. Darwin's hands show that he has always been a hard worker. Mine show that I have never been ... but that maybe I am becoming one.



John said...

College is over rated. If I could re-live my life starting at 18, I would not go to college.

It's a Catch-22 unless you are brillant like my little sister (smart enough not to pay a dime for grad school). You go to college to get a "good" job, then you get the "good" job, and spend the next 20 years paying off all of your college debts.

It's conceivable that I would have a higher standard of living and more personal freedom if I'd never gone to school.

10:14 AM  
Chaz said...

People get blissfully ignorant of the fact that the hands that write their laws or proffer their pills are no better than the hands that laid the curb before their house.

Hellwiddum. You got a keeper and they can go ride.

10:53 PM  
Lenise said...

Good perspective! My husband's work has nothing to do with his degree (he's a piano tuner/technician). For less than $1k and in a few months, he had better income potential than after 4 years and untold thousands of dollars.

And I'm with you on the lack of effort/lazy thing. Only you actually get things done. My husband doesn't put me to shame, so maybe I can blame my lack of progress on that!

4:16 PM  
Trissa said...

Well said! I think our society as a whole over emphasizes a college degree and forgets how complex our world is and how it's more important to find something that you are good at and enjoy and to challenge yourself.

8:00 PM  
Beth said...

This was beautiful, and a wonderful tribute.

12:51 PM  

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