the more things change


So we're having a bit of work done around the place. 

At least the street is.  And what a process it has been. 


These blue pipes have been lined up in a field at the end of the street for months.  All summer.  Our friend Zach yells "BLUE PIPES!" every time his car goes past.  Then one day the BLUE PIPES marched to the end of the street, and slowly, slowly they've been making their way back down, underground.  Jean, Zach's mom, and I would take him on walks, and she'd stop in front of the ginormous holes, and say things like, "See the shovel Zach?  Look at all the dirt." Man that took me right back to Callum's toddler-hood.  We had a big digging-up-the-street project in front of our condo when he was Zach's overnight project.  That was a big deal.  Every night after dinner we'd pop Callum in the wagon, put his plastic construction cap on and go check on the progress.  The guys would stop their work (any excuse, I suppose) and tell us what was happening, and I'd say things like, "See the big shovel, Callum?  See all the dirt?"  I don't have conversations like that with him anymore.

Anyway, after weeks of steady progress, these guys got to our block.  By trash day this past week, they were in front of our house.  You should have seen me on Thursday, trying to go to school.  Two dumpsters in the street, the diggers, the BLUE PIPES, the trash truck, a school bus and me trying to back out Blanche, our Mini Cooper.  It was a near thing.  When Neel drove us to school on Friday, he just drove through Tyler's front yard.  Wish I'd thought of that.

The men of the block, young and old, have watched this process with much interest.  I've watched the dust accumulate on my car and wondered how much windshield wiper fluid I have left.  Each night we would come home to stories of shaking of windows and breaking of water mains.  Lots of excitement.  They've moved quickly.  The pile of BLUE PIPES that the kids were playing in on Wednesday are already underground.   The boys are fascinated with the big scoop of the digger and the tread of it's tires.  I feel antsy when I have to peer around it to try to cross the street.


On Saturday, I ran out to grab a few last minute things for dinner and I noticed an older man walking to the end of the street.  He was clearly there to check on the progress.  It was a lovely Saturday morning. Perfect for a quick walk up to the street with all the work.  This reminded me of my Grandad.  At some point in my late childhood, maybe even early adulthood a giant street refinishing project was undertaken on a street a block from his home.  He was in his eighties at this point I think, or at least late seventies, and each day he'd walk to the end of the block to check on the progress.  Every single day.  I like works in progress myself.  Maybe I get that from him. 

What I know is that I like it that men at the beginning of their lives and at the end of them too like diggers and BLUE PIPES and works in progress and dust and gravel, and any given man at any age on this street could probably tell me how deep these pipes are placed, how long they last, how much over budget they are on time and what exactly they are being put here for.  I like that.