Friday, February 28, 2014

Things Every Young Man (and Woman) Should Know How to do . . .

I’ve had a busy week dealing with lots of little annoying things that took time to do but I didn’t have to think twice about how to do them. Along the way I tried to get my son to help or at least watch so that someday he’ll be able to do things for himself—but that’s a whole ‘nother story, as they say. The first annoyance was a flat tire. Donna and I were driving across town to look at a model house. While driving through the construction area we picked up a long steel rod in the back right tire (brand new Michelin). It was banging on the fender well but the tire wasn’t flat, yet. I decided to change it anyway, just to be safe, which meant pulling the jack and lug wrench out of the well, lowering the spare from its roost up under the rear end, loosening the lug nuts, jacking up the car, switching tires, tightening the lug nuts, lowering the vehicle, and putting everything back in its place. Colton would have no idea how to do this.

Today, we (Colton and I) cut the grass, ran the string-trimmer, raked some leaves—pretty routine stuff, but while running the string trimmer I ran out of string so thought (stupid me) that here’s another chance to teach my son a valuable skill. He wasn’t interested. I wound a new batch of string around the spool, put it back together and finished the job. He was too busy trying to run the mower as little as possible and made the comment that if the front of the mower was wider he could cover the lawn in fewer passes. I started to explain that the width of the cut depended on the blade length, but for what?

Then the handle on one of the toilets broke, or more accurately the rod that pulls up the flap on the flush valve broke. A simple fix and another opportunity to teach my son something. He was doing what he always does, playing a computer game, and said he would help as soon as he finished something; so, I waited almost an hour, he still wasn’t finished, so I just changed out the handle. It was a three minute job.

So, I don’t know what to do. He says he’s going to be a billionaire so won’t need any life skills---he’ll just pay somebody to do stuff. Maybe he will be but if he has a flat in the meantime he’ll be stranded on the side of the road for days because I won’t help. Or, his toilet will start overflowing and he’ll be knee deep in poop because I won’t help. He did push the mower for a while, for which I paid him $20. My uncle paid me $2.50 to cut his yard which was three or four times bigger and much harder with all the plants and trees and I thought it was a fortune (yeah, I know “inflation,” so what?). Oh, and did I mention that I hemmed a pair of pants, ironed two shirts, and baked an apple pie?

I’m planning to change brake pads on the rear wheels on Donna’s car today . . . did the front a couple of months ago. Here’s another chance for Colt to learn another vital life skill. You may be able to pay a shop to do a brake job, but if you change pads before the rotors are damaged it’s a quick & easy chore. And costs about 1/5th what a shop would charge you. So, I’ve been trying for about an hour now to get him outside—with no success. We’ll see.