austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

So I guess I'll draw my mirage on the wall

My sister-in-law and her husband have wanted bookshelves for their house. The reasons are self-explanatory enough. They wanted these bookshelves in mid-2006, which is not quite adjacent to the current calendar year. See, my father made some pretty nice dark-wood bookshelves for his house. They look nice, and are real wood, and they're big enough I'm able to fit most of the books I've taken out of storage or boxes on just two of them. Well, double-stacked. (Also several shelves are taken up with my mother's books and a starship Enterprise model.)

So when my father suggested he could build them some shelves just like this, they said sure, and understood that he couldn't do them right this minute because he had to make sure the design works for their house and for transporting them up there, and to get the wood needed (he has enough nails and screws to construct a skyscraper), and clear up time from his work of fixing other people's homes and watching every single minute of his `news' channel five times over in case it wasn't inane enough the first four times.

Now and then my brother or his wife would ask when he was going to make the bookshelves, and he would explain that he had almost everything he needed, and he just needed a couple hours to build them. Sometimes he would point out he needs a little assistance over the course of the couple hours it would take to assemble it, and asks me if I would help him holding things when needed. I invariably agree, and he doesn't ask again for a couple months. They started suggesting any time they were down here for any reason that perhaps he could build the bookshelves now since they're here and my ``refusal'' to help wouldn't matter. A couple weekends ago they were visiting (and taking me to dinner) and he said he couldn't then because he just spent all day cleaning the garage.

So my sister-in-law has been showing up, bright and early (earlier than I'm bright), helping him build the bookcases. While it's been so far four distinct days, blowing the ``couple of hours'' estimate way out of the water, two shelves are done and transported up, and a half-size one is under way. She finally called my father's bluff.

Trivia: When the Penn Central railroad declared bankruptcy in June 1970, it had assets of $462,472,382, with cash on hand of $7,308,130, and liabilities of $748,974,342. Source: The Wreck Of The Penn Central: The Real Story Behind The Largest Bankruptcy In American History, Joseph R Daughen, Peter Binzen.

Currently Reading: The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History, Molly Caldwell Crosby. This got up to 1878 faster than the subtitle lead me to expect.


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