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My extended family has loads of skill sets and garages full of equipment. They’re either professional electricians, plumbers, carpenters or mechanics or else they know enough about it not to wind up in the ER.

They’ll drywall or paint or landscape or bring over their log-splitters. They’ll help you wrestle a heating oil storage tank into place, or wire a surround-sound system for your man-cave.  They’ll cut down a tree or spread bark mulch or dig a hole right where you want it.

It’s a loose system of favor-trading. You need something, you ask. The guy or gal who can do it will eventually ask for something in return. Nobody keeps score. It all evens out – and even if it isn’t strictly “fair,” everyone is pretty happy with the arrangement.

I miss that kind of networking. Then again, I’m the one who moved away. It’s my own fault if I have to hire someone to do the kind of thing cousin Denny would have traded for.


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