Monday, September 29, 2008

It Was That Kind of Day

The ringing bells of the Congo Church sounded strained and muted as they worked their way up the hill in the Sunday morning rain. The damp and lifeless clang seemed to suggest the flock might want to stay home and take the day off from paying God his weekly due.

Her leaves full of water and her trails turned sponges saturated to overflowing, Mary's Park across the road fell in step with the bells this day. "You might not want to Hike, Bike, or Crawl here", she coldly suggested. "Any celebrating might be more fulfilling at home today." It was that kind of day.

Outside chores get back burnered. Some chores died with a sigh of relief as the fathers of the Northeast realize they could catch a game this afternoon. Other chores, the more pressing and must do chores created an edge to a day that really should be dealt with in the slow lane. Shaking off the edge, dads all over New England make plans that include Doritos, beer and their favorite salsa dip. Or they go to Home Depot.

Lis, my "on her own" daughter, had mentioned last week she wanted to get her very own power drill. She had pictures to hang and shelves to dangle from molly bolts in her new efficiency up near Portland. I told her she could always borrow mine whenever she needed it. After all, she grew up with tools, worked with tools in my bike shop for years, she knew how to treat tools. There was never any question about how she would treat mine. But no, she wanted her own power drill. I understood this. Owning your own tool is so much more satisfying and stress reducing than borrowing someone else's. Owning our own tools brings with it a sense of empowerment that only we tool lovers can appreciate but may not be able to articulate.

I knew Tropical Loser Kyle was headed in our direction. If Kyle hit as expected, any riding in the woods or on the road would most likely be exercises in insanity. A plan began to hatch.

Lis was coming down to the house anyway to do her weekly washing and grab the free meal my wife has begun to make a weekly tradition. It's odd, but having my daughter out of the house may have just brought us closer together as a family. Sundays are no longer just ride days and the occasional family meal. They are evolving into more. I like that.

There are traditional rites of passage families and individuals all over the World experience. That first tooth. the first date, graduating from anything, marriage, and owning that first power tool. Special moments every Father wants to be part of. Some he cannot participate in and some he can. As much as I wanted to be there for Lis' first date, I knew my presence would cramp her style. So I just shot evil looks at the loser she was going out with and grouched on the couch the rest of the evening. But there are rites of passage a father should be part of. Buying that first power tool is definitely one of them. Passing the knowledge and skills over to our children is more important than leaving them a large check to cash when we croak.

Lis dropped her first load of clothes in the washer. We had brunch. She dumped her second load of clothes in the washer. Then we headed down to the new Lowes in Rochester, New Hampster.

I have already expounded upon the horror and the pleasure of walking into such a Handy Man Shangri La in several of my previous posts. At some point you would think I would not be impressed anymore. But dammit, I walked into Loews and once again suffered a mild panic and a slightly satisfying buzz. The contrasting feelings settled in my stomach and I belched.

Lis was all business. Get in and get out. She was not overwhelmed by all the shiny objects trying to seduce her into parting with cash she did not have. She wanted a power drill, period. She did not want to fondle the riding mowers that were on sale. She did not lust after a new tool box. Nor was her head turned by all those hammers they had hanging on the rack.

"Keep your eye on the ball Dad. Power drill Dad. Let's do it and screw outta here."

Lis went into sticker shock when she saw the prices of the cordless drills. I had not prepared her for it. Maybe I should have, but well, some shocks need to be experienced without warnings from others. I paid no attention to the prices and made her pick up one and then another. A good cordless drill should be comfortable in your hand I explained. Grip and balance were as important as power ratings and voltage peaks. Her only comment was all she wanted one for was drilling holes in walls and occasionally screwing something down without using a hand tool. But I insisted.

After a few minutes of handling the cordless drills, she settled on a nice little Hitachi unit that seemed to have good balance and also enough power to handle her light duty needs. It was only $100. The low price and the brand concerned me at first. But then I realized she was not going to depend on this drill to make her living. She liked the way it felt in her hand, and apparently she liked the color. It was green.

Her concern was paying for it. Her monthly paycheck would not be in her account until Wednesday. How was she going to pay for it? I picked up the box and handed it to her and said, "This is your house warming present. I was trying to come up with something that was not cycling related. But you have to buy a drill index and a level."

I pulled one of those new fangled quick release drill indexes off the wall and found her a decent torpedo level. She would need the level to make shelves level and the snap in drills were the cat's meow. I will not use a regular bit now unless I am using a drill press and stupid preciseness is needed.

I have read what I just wrote. I hoped to have something worthwhile to take away from this rainy Sunday visit to Loews with my daughter. And I do, but finding the words is difficult. Let's just say, doing anything with my kid fills me with joy.


Gary ("Old Dude") said...

eloquently expressed ----as usual.

Missy's Blog said...

You are such an amazing father ... Lis is very lucky to be able to call you Dad.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am lucky! And I'll have you know, Dad, that I used my drill today to hang a bunch of stuff. :) The learning curve was short, and I don't think I will have too many holes to spackle when I leave. Thanks again! Love ya!

Dawn on MDI said...

Nice choice on the Hitachi. I have the cordless set - circular saw, reciprocating saw, drill and flashlight. Love 'em.

And I am a contractor. I use those little bad boys nearly every day. I think I have the 18V version, but still. I do have a corded drill, a corded circular and a corded reciprocating saw (also a Hitachi) for bigger jobs, but those little ones are the handiest damn things I have bought in years.

For the record, Hitachi's corded reciprocating saw was named one of the 10 coolest gadgets of the year by Popular Mechanics magazine. Anti-vibration feature is the bomb! Yeah, they make electronics, and they make one or two highly unmentionable toys, but they also make a decent power saw. Who knew?

Congrats to the daughter on the new tool!

Randal Graves said...

You old softie. And though finding the words when it comes to such things is often difficult, well said, sir.

Middle Ditch said...

Oh you men ...... Hug her, please!!

BBC said...

Battery powered drills are nice, I like my 15.6 volt better than my 12 volt one, it has more power.

Did it come with an extra battery? Very important to have two of them. I only bought drills when they were on sale and came with two batteries.

The batteries are the weak link of course, they wear out and are expensive to replace.

I've worn out all of my batteries for the six or so drills I have so I just make adapters on the end of a cord to run them with a car battery.

Hey, in Maine and Vermont my empty Peppermint Schnapps bottles are worth 15 cents each. I'll toss them in the sound, watch for them to show up on your shores, ha ha ha.

Carlita said...

This is the sort of thing my dad probably thinks but doesn't thanks for saying it.