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10 Fingers? 10 Toes? Yup, Another Successful day with my Dad…

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

10 Fingers? 10 Toes? Yup, Another Successful day with my Dad…

DSC_07801Several times I’ve blogged about my dad. Truth be told, I love that man. He’s the only Dad I’ll ever have and I learned years ago that it was better to accept him as he is than lose our relationship because of who he isn’t. That doesn’t mean that he is perfect. Or even that he doesn’t have flaws. Or……….. that I don’t say a prayer of, “Thank you lord for all my fingers and all my toes” every time we part ways. This prayer is not because my dad is missing some fingers or toes. This prayer is because my dad is so smart he can be really … dumb.

Yes, I said it. Truth be told, if you asked anyone who’s ever worked along side him, they would confess the same thing. Working with my dad can be hazardous to your health.
Have you ever heard those stories about that “one ornery child” who convinces his brother to fly off the roof of the house? Well, that would've been my dad. Not only would he have convinced one of his siblings to jump off the roof, he would have come at it with mathematical equations that proved flying was possible. Trust me….

I’m going to back up my statements with a little family history. That way you all can know that I speak the truth. When I was little and we lived on a farm, and my dad would every once in a while need to check the electric fence to see if it worked. So, he would tell me to touch it and see if it shocked me. Dad, I was 6. Of course I touched it when you told me to! Once, my dad convinced me to walk in between the baler and the wagon load of hay – to pick up the pieces of hay that fell down. Yeah, in hindsight.. it seems like a no brainer – bad idea. At the time, it seemed the perfect plan to a 10 year old…. (Oh yeah, and to you – Dad.)

I learned how to “pop the clutch” to start a vehicle when I was 10ish. I know it was before I was 11 and my parents divorced. I had to learn this skill because I wasn’t big enough to actually do the pushing to get enough speed to pop the clutch. I remember, once, the transmission went out in our car while we were at church. My dad drove 7 miles (on back roads.. of course) home in reverse. Reverse. Think about this. Imagine you are driving on a back road and you see a car come into your range of sight. It is coming closer… and yet – it appears to be going away. And it is in the wrong lane? Let’s just say there were several drivers who’s eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets as we “passed” them on the road.

We also had a (different) car with a blown transmission. The car didn’t go into reverse. Ever. No matter where you parked or pulled, you had to make sure it was a spot that could be pulled out of, because you were never able to back out of a situation. How long do you think he drove that car? That car that didn’t go backwards? Years…. yes, years of finding the exact parking spot. Years of making sure we didn’t get “stuck” somewhere.

There were other cockamamie schemes my dad had. Once, when I was in my early teens, I remember my dad wanted to bring an extension ladder home from my grandparent’s house. Now, truth be told, they only lived 4 miles away and it was all back roads. BUT carrying that ladder out the passenger’s side window was difficult. Can you picture it? I sat in the front and my brother sat in the back. We both used our right arms as a “shelf” to hold up the ladder all the while my dad was directing us to make sure we didn’t accidentally scrape the side of the car or take out someone’s mailbox. Good times.

Does anyone else use a blow torch to get rid of thistle buds? Guess who does? Yup… my dad. Perfectly logical – you see, if you let the thistles pollinate they will overwhelm your field. The best way at them is by setting them ablaze right where they stand.

So yesterday, I went to my dad’s shop to work with him. We are building these dinosaur crayon holders. They will be cool, and next week Andrew and Addison will be able to paint them and put stickers on them. I have been doing most of the work on these dinosaurs and it is funny how many nostalgic memories that wood shop brings back. (Yes, some of them dangerous…) But I’m older now, and wiser. There was a point yesterday that I told my dad that if I lost a limb I would sue him. This was after he had to unplug several power chords to plug in new extension chords for tools to operate. Then I looked over and saw this.

Yes, Virginia, that is my father checking the mechanics of the outlet while the power tool is still plugged in.

It was around this time that I began to wonder how long until he asked me to “hold” something to see if it had an electrical charge. Do you have any idea how many times have I been shocked while working on electrical projects with my father? Once, he was working on something at our old house … and I remember telling Ray to be careful – and less than 5 minutes later there was a whole lot of yelling as flames shot out of the electrical outlet. Flames. People. Flames.

He saw me snap the picture and we began to laugh about all the times I could have lost a finger or a toe. I started to look around the shop for all hazardous things and realized I had more than enough material to blog about our “fun times together.” Little did I know I would get plenty of ideas in our 2 hour work session.

Shortly after our “equipment check,” I was cutting some wood on the ban saw when the blade began to act a little strange. My father, cautious man that he is, opened up the outer cover to check the blade. While the saw blade was “at rest” all looked ok. It was determined the only way to get a real look at what was going on would be to turn the blade on with the safety cover off. I repeat. It was determined we needed to run the blade (held on by the safety cover) with the safety cover off. I immediately headed for a corner out of the way of a possible blade encounter. When my dad saw me running he mumbled something like, “oh” and stepped off to the side – right before the blade came completely off the wheels and started whizzing around. Nice.. Dad… Good call on the stepping aside. No lie – at one point my dad was using masking tape to help in a makeshift repair for this ban saw. To cut out dinosaurs. It wasn’t like we were curing cancer or something. The masking tape “fix” was what threw me right over the edge. It was then that I offered a lawsuit for a missing finger because I just knew he was going to ask me to test it. He looked at me, smiled, and ran a stinking board threw the saw. “Works Perfectly.” Stink. Now I’m going to have to finish cutting. Dang it!I did finish cutting the boards and I do have all my fingers, thank goodness.
Don’t you think that is enough adventure for one day? Fixing hot wires? Running machines that are connected to power chords connected to power boxes? (By the way, some of the machines actually make the lights dim when you turn them on.) I say no! We need one more dance with danger for this to be a true project with my dad. We needed to drill out the crayon holes. My father’s instructions started like this, “All the books will tell you never to drill something while you hold it, because it can come back and rip your fingers off. So I want you to hold this board like this, and if you drill down really slow, you can keep all your fingers.” No. Lie.

I did it. I will do it again. How else will I get material for my blog? Kidding…. I will do it because I love that man. He grew up when in the time when 6 year old boys really did chop wood and people really did just have to pay attention because there weren’t all these safety guidelines. Plus, this makes for really great stories. About how I survived my childhood with all my fingers and toes.IMG-20110802-00110

By the way – This is my new dream job. Holding the spring loaded punch. It is so fun to use!

One final story … just in case you were interested… My uncle and my dad used to play a game called “chuck the baby” up and down the stairs. (no worries… they only used us, not random babies) And it was years ago – so the statute of limitations has long since expired. But seriously… do you people see why Ray likes my father to have “supervised” visits with my kids?

I know there are any family members out there who can attest that these stories are indeed true and not a figment of my imagination, please … feel free to comment below. I’m sure at least one reader thinks I must be delusional because there is no way a sane man would have this many “situations” arise in a lifetime.

Second… I’ve just totally put my dad out there. Help him out. Share a story about some scheme you or a loved one concocted that didn’t go quite as planned

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At August 4, 2011 at 9:35 PM , Blogger said...

I will validate your "chuck the baby" story. When ryan first met the family it was at Uncle Barry's house and they were "chucking" Greg down the steps. Needless to say Ryan was speechless.

At August 5, 2011 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Awn said...

K, my father could be your dad's cousin! He and his brothers used to set a patch of grass on fire and then take turns jumping off the shed and rolling in it to see who could tamp out the largest area. He also scoffs at the emergency room - super glue and a little duct tape can serve better than stitches!


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