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April 21, 1991|R.D.

We're not builders. It took us three awful years of shop class to finish the spice rack for our mom.

And talking to our brother back East can be excruciatingly depressing. This is how the conversation goes:

Us: "So, what's going on? What have you been up to?"

Him: "Well, this morning I woke up and realized we didn't have a whole heck of a lot of room around here, so I took out part of the ceiling and roof, built a stairway, and put a dormer upstairs. Another bedroom and bath."

Us: "You did that? Geez, how long is it going to take?"

Him: "Oh, it's done already. I've got to fine-tune some of the electrical work, but we've already moved the furniture and all."

Us: "Oh."

Him: "What have you been up to?"

Us: "Uh, nothing. Just got back from the store. Bought a spice rack."

It was always like that. He would build this, while we dreamed of being like Howard Roark, the cool architect hero of "The Fountainhead." He would build that, while we fantasized about being Frank Lloyd Wright and designing the "Fallingwater" house.

So now, he's able to throw up a dormer. And we have to be satisfied attending "Wright in Hollywood, 1919-1924: Visions and Realities." The exhibit of drawings and models is being held by the Southern California Institute of Architecture at the Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through July 7. Admission is $5 general, $4 students. For information call (213) 651-1510.

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