It’s has been a long time since my last posting. It’s not that there has been nothing going on, but rather there has been too much going on.
We have been undergoing a major kitchen renovation which has disrupted the entire house and our normal routine. Every room in our house has been tossed, turned upside down, or otherwise thrown into a state of chaos. As a result I have been spending little time downstairs in the office where the desktop computer lives which is where I do most of my writing and photography work. Doing either of those things from my netbook sitting on a corner of the couch just doesn’t work well for me.
It’s not just the writing and photography which have suffered either. It’s been a long time since I BBQ’ed something, or got in a decent hike, or even managed to get away from work long enough to play floor hockey over the lunch hour. All those things that define “me” have been forced to take a backseat to “the kitchen project”.
Related to all this house work taking place was the acquisition of a new dining room table. The table needed some assembly — nothing complex, just eight simple 1/2″ nuts needing to be tightened so the top stays fastened securely to the legs. Pretty simple right?
We started out by locating the toolkit. I used my standard “This looks like the right size socket, nope, too big, let’s try this one, nope, too small, how about this one?” routine for determining what size of nuts I was dealing with. That went fairly smooth, but then it was time to locate the ratchet that goes with that socket. It was not to be seen anywhere inside the toolkit. This struck me as odd since a ratchet is not likely the sort of thing one is likely to see around the house without wanting to put it back in its proper place.
Now, I’m not much of a handyman, but I know I am not going to be able to tighten the nut to the bolt with a socket if I don’t have the ratchet. (Sounds like I know what I am talking about, eh?)
While I stood by “to guard the table” I sent Shirley on a hunt for the power drill. After all, the problem I was having was the lack of a proper driving device so therefore the solution must be to obtain some other method of applying force to the nuts. And, if I could step up from a manual ratchet to ANYTHING powered it has to be an improvement, right?
After several failed attempts to locate the drill — “Is it in the garage? I think maybe the basement. Hmm, not sure, it might be in the bedroom from when I took down the shelf.” — Shirley finally returned with the drill.
In my headlong rush to come up with a new way of applying torque to the socket I failed to take into account that I wasn’t sure how I was going to mate the socket to the drill. D’oh!
I poked through the toolbox and couldn’t find anything I could fashion into an adapter. I even tried to fit the socket directly into the drill’s chuck (seriously, this handyman talk normally makes the women swoon!) but it wouldn’t fit. Time for Plan C.
“Go grab the yellow drill bit kit.” (Yes, he who holds the power tools gets to bark commands to those just standing there with the “You idiot!” look on her face.)
Shirley returned with the yellow box. I immediately located the part I wanted — a socket on one end with the other end designed to fit into the chuck of the drill. (**swoon**) Just one problem — the parts in the kit only went up to 7/16″. I had already determined I needed a 1/2″. Now, I may not be a mathematical genius, but I’m pretty confident that 7/16 is less than 1/2 — once you being them to a common denominator, that is. (Hey, maybe I am a math genius!)
OK, Plan D! “Go find me something that might work!” (I’ve learned the key to developing a successful plan is to not make it too specific.)
Shirley returned a fourth time, with another plastic kit. I opened it and out fell — wait for it — a ratchet! And, the socket I had actually fit in the ratchet! Success!
It was at that moment it hit me — I had turned into my dad. Growing up I had always wondered why he needed to have a shed and a garage full of tools. I wondered why he could never pass by a Macleod’s Hardware, or a Canadian Tire, or a Peavy Mart — well, you get the idea — without stopping and buying some new set of tools. Usually those tools would appear to be very similar to a tool set I knew he already had at home.
Yes, as I stared at the new table sitting there with multiple toolboxes and a power drill sitting on it I suddenly felt a lightbulb turning on. There was a moment of understanding, an odd sort of connection spanning the years, an awakening. More than 20 years after his death I felt the urge to shout “Hey Dad, I get it now!”
It was just supposed to be a table but it ended up being so much more…