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The last of the construction leftovers left in a white pickup truck today. We traded the space in our garage and the promise of help with some tasks that remain to be done on the house for an extra tub and a stack of curtain rods, a couple of sinks, a toilet and parts of this and that.

It was a deal well struck, I think, for both of us. Those are the best sorts of deals, when both parties leave feeling a little fuzzy about the details but wonder if the other guy got a fair shake because you know you did. It is always a good feeling when you get something for less than it is worth to both parties.

When the truck was packed and headed down the driveway I was struck by the fact that we had used almost everything that we had bought to build this house. The bathroom fixtures that left were ones we made thoughtful decisions about, they were not just random leftovers based on a “whoops”. The tub was the one that came out of my ill-fated bathroom. It was extra money to replace the tub that left with the tub I have but it was a good decision.The new tub fits much better than the one that left did.

I bought the sink that left, not because we wanted it, but because it was time to install a sink. I had designed the bathroom where it was installed around a blue glass sink that we could not find it amid our building materials in the warehouse. The building folks had waited for weeks to see if we could find the sink and after multiple trips to the warehouse we decided to buy another sink. We were not even sure the blue one had made it to Montana from Idaho. When we finally got all the boxes from the warehouse unpacked we found the blue sink packed in with the good china. It is a gorgeous blue bowl so why would it not be packed with the china?bathroom counter with blue and yellow tile back splash, white pine door, colonial wall light, countertop with blue vessel sink

When the blue sink went missing I had done a sink-swap putting the sink that was supposed to be in my bathroom in the guest bath where the blue sink was supposed to be. I put the new sink in my bathroom where it really did not fit on my tall counter. Between the higher than normal counter height and the height of the sink I had to stand on my tippy toes to brush my teeth. When I found the blue sink I decided to put the sinks back in the bathrooms where they were supposed to be. I put the blue sink in the bathroom that it was designed for. I took my sink from the blue bathroom upstairs and installed it in my bathroom. The one I took out of my bathroom because the surplus sink. That is how we ended up with an extra sink. The extra toilet is sort of the same story. Moving all of the building parts in the middle of building a house definitely causes complications.

Other than that, not much left. We had scrap wood but not much of that either. There are some pieces of MDF left from window and door trim that I will use as baseboards for the cruise ship basement apartment. The last shreds of the log siding now outline the parking area of the driveway. The last bit of green wood is a landscaped step on the path to the front steps. A couple of unused cabinet trim pieces originally made from floor board scraps are now a picture frame and a table skirt. I am not sure what to do with the couple of hundred pounds of granite back-splash we did not use but eventually I will figure that one out too.

Being able to drive our cars into the garage because all the leftovers left in the white pickup truck was worth a lot. I am not sure how to put a price tag on it but I suspect it is one of those credit card commercial values of “priceless.” The time after the pickup truck left was priceless, that is, unless it was on video and then it would have cash value in a video contest.

After the truck left, we started stuff shifting in the garage. We tugged things this way and that debating whether we will ever find the bottom of the garage under the stuff that we still need to install or store. We swept up everything from drywall dust to packing popcorn to dirt. We were on the lookout for something dead since it has been pretty stinky in the garage but we have point back to the septic tank for that one. Nothing dead was found.

Sophie the dog thought it sounded like fun in the garage but waited patiently at the top of the stairs until she got permission to come join us. I had pulled the Subaru partway into the garage so I knew I had to move it. I called, “Sophie, load up, we can go for a ride.” I forgot lured her into the car and about a half hour later I looked over at the open car door and there she sat waiting for me to drive her the full way into the garage.

When I did get around to driving the car fully into the garage I backed up first so I could get a better angle with the car to avoid the freezer. I knew the van was parked right behind the Subaru because we had been loading trash for the dump into it. What my poor heart-failure-in-the-making spouse did not know was that when I started to back up I *KNEW* the van was there. Poor man, there he stood in the garage waving frantically while I backed up. My brain did not catch up with the situation until it was too late. I should have said, “I got it, not to worry, I know it is there.” It would have been the kinder thing to do.

I have to give myself credit, I did try to roll down one of the Subaru windows to call out that I knew it was there. I failed, I got everything except the button I wanted among all those electric buttons. Windows went up and windows went down, windshield washers whiped, the locks locked and unlocked and Sophie just sat there as if nothing was happening. I had my foot on the break, not to mention a good concept of where the white car was in relation to the red car in an attempt not to make pink. Even my heart was pounding while time stood still and things righted themselves. It must have been an eternity if you are the one viewing the heart stopping action of both of your cars hitting each other.

After the excitement we did get both cars pulled into the garage and I was left to lock up. The Subaru garage bay door was closed as was the person door in the middle. I stood there hesitating to close the last portal to the world. I put my hand to the last garage door and paused, twice. I just stood there to take it in. It was the first time both cars had been in a garage of our own.

I feel like a parent watching a young adult with one more developmental moment. Our fire is two years and two months past but we still have moments. There are the times like this week when we spend days looking for a box with an item in it only to remember we did not bring it with us from one of the 11 places we lived between the fire and here because it never made it out of the house that burned. Closing the garage door for the first time with both cars in the garage was also a moment. Soon we won’t have the moments when we stop, draw up and think, “Is this the first time since the fire I have done that?” or “I know why I cannot find that, it burned in the fire.”

Not having to spend those moments when we stop to ponder new things or grieve old things will give us back some time in our lives. I am not sure the saved time is a good value for not having moments of such clarity. I am not sure it is a good trade but it is a trade I am willing to live with.

Today’s construction leftovers trade was a good trade. We got our garage and a little bit more closure and the person who took the things will have a new bathroom for his family. When the day ends with a trade where both people feeling like they got the better end of a bargain it is a good trade.