Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TOOLS!! Perfect for FATHER'S DAY!!

Eh, not so much. In the run-up to this sales-driven "holiday" every car parts joint is raving over how their selection of tools is Just What Dad Needs, BUY IT NOW!!

Ignoring the fact that the Old Man is in an Alzheimer's hospice, he's never been a guy you'd buy tools for. It was best not to encourage him--he meant well, but the poor man couldn't be trusted to do more than basic--VERY basic--repairs.

Three little scenes, for explanation:

1) My mother swears that she had to teach him how to change a light bulbin the early 1970s. He was ready to throw the lamp away. Apparently he'd never encountered such a thing on the family farm in the 1930s and '40s. He went Air Force during Korea (no idea whether he traveled out of the States), then college and university (law school). I can't imagine how anyone could go through 40 years of life and NOT know about light bulbs, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt because...

2) Mom had to call an electrician to come and un-do one of his "projects" in the 1980s. He decided to install a new light fixture in the kitchen and ended up knocking out the lights for the front half of the house. Amazing. Then there's...

3) The day he decided to rotate the tires on his '81 Fairmont. He jacked up the passenger-side front corner of the car and removed the tire correctly...okay so far...then he put a cinder block under that corner of the car. An upright cinder block--long-wise. The weakest part of the block was now holding up the car. He goes around to the driver's-side rear (remember, front tires to diagonal rear, rear tires straight to the front--I can still see the decal in the trunk). He starts...to...jack...up...the--*BOOM!!*. Note to self: don't use a cinder block lengthwise to hold up a car. It'll break.

Like I said, very basic stuff: he got really good at changing spark plugs on the mower. It was always an amusing thing--but also sad, because I wonder how much of it was the early effects of Alzheimer's. But I won't focus on that, since I intended the story to be amusing.


  1. He reminds me of my brother-in-law, who never messes with cars that I know of, but always thought all guys should be able to work with power tools.

    I visited them about a year after they moved. Sis was out, but b-i-l showed me some projects in the garage. First up, the new window he had just installed the previous day in the garage door. He had broken the old window when a wrench got away from him and flew out of his hand. He clicked the remote, the door swished up, and a completely different window just fell out of its frame, although the one he fixed was still in place.

    I asked him about the huge dent in his striaght ladder. It turns out he was trimming a tree and had set the ladder against a branch that left him with about 6" of clearance for the legs, which he felt was safe enough until he lopped off the end of the branch and it sprang up about a foot.

    Then there was the time he was outside working with a drill which slipped and the bit sliced across his arm. The neighbor who called 911 said he had cut his wrist, which was technically true, and he had to put up with a bunch of suicide counselling at the ER. --LR