Building on a 100 Years

My half-sister and I are ten years apart, and this year we will be a combined 100 years old. It sounds like the beginning of a math problem, but it’s actually more like the beginning of a mid-life crisis. I am a frustrated writer. She is a lapsed civil engineer. We’re both trying to decide what to be when we grow up. At a combined age of 100, we’ve realized that time is now.

Over the last few years, our sisterly chats have veered toward the subject of things we want to make: bat boxes, beehives, chicken coops, greenhouses, tiny houses, you name it. We often drive by houses and talk about how we would renovate them. In our minds, we are tremendously handy women. But in our skills, not so much. So we finally decided to do something about it.

When yet another caffeinated brainstorm ended with, “Who could we hire to do that for us?”, we drove to our local college of applied technology, where we found a 16-month curriculum of basic carpentry, electrical, plumbing and whatnot, which we can join as soon as we provide proof of measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations. We both had MMR shots as infants—almost a combined century ago—but we don’t have the paperwork. So we went to the doctor, and now we’re waiting for blood work to trickle back so we can matriculate.
In the meantime, we’ve begun to second-guess our decision. Do we really want to do this? Will we follow through? What will we do when and if we finish the course? Maybe we should think about this a little longer.

Amid so much self-doubt, we went shopping for work clothes. I was modeling some ill-fitting men’s dungarees, when the salesperson suggested I could “take in the stride,” which was sagging between my knees like a denim diaper. My sister and I had the same reflex: “We should sign up for a sewing class.”

We both realized we’re never going to get anywhere if we start taking classes to prepare for the classes that we need to figure out what to be when we grow up. So, we’re jumping into building construction technology. Here we go…

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