Raising the Tabernacle

When I picked up our once-in-a-while babysitter on Friday night, she got in the car and said: ‘I’ve babysat for you three times and every time it’s in a different house.’ I made some crack about how we were in the witness protection program and drove her to – what I shall call – house number 3. [For the four month period of December 30 to April 30.] To be fair, the Gort reminded her she’d actually babysat for us four times, so the situation is not nearly as outrageous as she suggested.

As we were hauling things out of the garage at house number 2 in preparation for the move to house number 3, a friend looked upon the tree house the professor had built. The same tree house that had taken up the entire garage…..while our car languished in the driveway for three months, gathering snow and sleet and a million of those tiny red berries.

‘This is, like, a mini Tabernacle,’ the friend declared as he gazed upon the canvas covered structure. Before hoisting it onto the back of a truck for its five block odyssey…..to house number 3.

The Tabernacle was placed upon the semi-dead grass in the backyard and, though I wondered to myself ‘isn’t that going to decimate the grass,’ I said nothing, because I had bigger fish to fry. Like figuring out what happened to my juicer. Seriously. How is it possible to move an entire household of objets and lose one juicer?

Meanwhile, feeling guilty after my mother had asked ‘what are you reading’ and I’d replied ‘nothing’, I’d gone to the library and picked up a book. [Though personally I believe the ‘we just moved’ excuse should preclude one from any and all sorts of things for at least two weeks. Three weeks. A month.]

I’d just finished reading the first few chapters, in which a young engineer from the turn of the 19th century describes the atrocious bridge-building practices of the time; including the deaths and ‘decompression illnesses’ among the people building the Brooklyn Bridge.

My horror was momentarily interrupted by the Gort. ‘Uh, mom, I think maybe Dad needs a hand.’ I glanced at the backyard and saw the Tabernacle, two sawhorses, and several wooden planks. Judging from its Pisa-like appearance, it seemed the professor was trying to raise the Tabernacle on to a three-foot-high wooden base….using an undeniably dangerous method of diagonally placed planks and a couple of sawhorses.

I ventured outside – keeping my distance for fear I’d be felled by a toppling wooden structure; watching as the professor pushed one side of the Tabernacle and adjusted the sawhorse before pushing on the other side and adjusting sawhorse number two.

I feared two things: (1) someone might die or at least be severely injured, and (2) it would take two days to inch that structure towards the base.

So I lent a hand, fully prepared to jump at the first sign of disaster. (Joan of Arc, I am not.) Before the sun set (entirely) the base was reunited with its canvas-sporting sister. And the boys were happily reunited with their play house.

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