It’s firmly established in the Jolivet Family that my brother followed in my dad’s footsteps with skilled hands and a keen eye for detail. I have both hands and eyes, none of which are skilled. So I write. But hey, a taxed brain is just as exhausting as a full day of building, repairing and tearing down. That’s been my mantra for all my working life.

But lately, brain clutter has taken over this “skilled” cerebrum. With a full plate at work and at home, sometimes the old mind gets  a bit jumbled, and the results can range from embarrassing to comical. I prefer the comical.

At the risk of opening the door for celui de mon frère’s ribbing and snickers, I’ll share an example of brain clutter — at its best (or worst depending you one’s perspective).

In the last few months Denise and I have experienced a wave of appliance deaths. While such losses don’t come close to other losses we all experience, they are a pain in the neck — and the wallet.

A few months back our clothes dryer spun its last. I ordered a new one but realized a week into the waiting process I ordered electric instead of gas. Having to cancel the first and order a second extended our wait another month. Thank goodness for good old fashioned indoor clothes racks.

Next our over-the-oven microwave waved good-bye. You just don’t realize how much you use the silly thing until it’s gone. With that now replaced, it was time for my mind to go on the fritz. While preparing to take a shower recently, I noticed the tub wasn’t draining — at all. I spent the next hour trying to plunge it, snake it, pouring boiling water into it, pouring natural enzyme drain cleaner in, all to no avail. Sometimes the brain thinks things it shouldn’t. This was such a time.

I got into my car and headed for the place where folks wear orange bibs and assist the repair challenged like me. I don’t know what I was going to purchase — likely a stick of dynamite at that point. While I did, Denise called her brother who himself is a master at repairs and building.

He called me as I was on the way to the place where doers get more done. He suggested a few remedies for repairing the clogged tub. I knew mostly of which he was suggesting, and I hung up and was stricken with an epiphany. I pulled over to a safe space and called Denise and asked her to check if the tub plug was engaged. It was the only thing I hadn’t done. I waited and she came back on the line and in the background I could hear the slurping of the drain as it emptied.

I didn’t check the plug. I was very relieved and at the same time very humiliated. I called my brother-in-law back and we both had a good laugh at my expense. Nothing new.

Later that day as Denise and I were going over our day I told her that my dad Larry had to have been simply shaking his head. He probably still was, I added. Then we said that DJoe, our son, was saying to Larry, “That’s my dad,” with Larry responding, “I wouldn’t say that too loud.”

Then we brought Igor into the conversation, since my wife and I think she’s in Heaven with them. I’m sure Iggy told Larry and Djoe, “Yup, that’s my alpha dog,” evoking laughter from the boys. “You wouldn’t believe some of the things he did in my 16 years with him,” to even more laughter and Iggy eagerly gave them an example, without being asked.

“There was this time,” Iggy embellished, “when he grilled up some wonderful swordfish steaks, and as usual, he always slipped some chunks to me. I’m not sure who loved the fish more, him or me. Anyway, there was a mouth-watering slab left over and Alpha placed it on the kitchen table to cool before saving it for another feast. The equation of a swordfish loving pup and an unguarded slab of it within easy reach equals ….