lately we've been in a sort of fix-it mode in our home. i love this. i love project completion. i love that feeling of getting out tools and tearing into something before you even really realize what you are getting into and then working it through. sometimes this means leaving a mess of fabric and thread on the floor for three days, as is the case when i try to sew. or maybe this leads to heated debates infront of the plumbing pipes at lowes hardware store. sometimes it ends with a frustrated call to a professional like when the washer machine stopped working and i found a similar model at the restore but after taking it apart and swapping out parts, i still hadn't solved the problem- so i called a fix it guy with a van, a toolbelt, and an ability to read those maps that come glued to the underbelly of large appliances.
we go through long stretches of not getting to some small projects though. like the back porch light which burnt out over a year ago- i'm ashamed to admit- and didn't get replaced because it needs this special bulb that looks like a large mock-up of an alien nasal probe and never quite made it on any "to buy" list around here. during a recent trip to the hardware store i was strolling about when i found myself in lightbulb land- the options are literally blinding. there are all shades and shapes of bulbs these days- and then- there it was. the back porch light bulb. 2 for $6.
i promptly handed it off to ben mostly because our back porch involves two long boards laid down from the platform of the stairs to our door. these boards span only a small distance- 3 feet?- but they aren't installed in any fashion. another unfinished project. this makes me nervous. as seren would say "it makes my feet ache." within minutes i was able to blind ben as i switched on the high powered security light while he stared into it to see if the bulb worked. yes. yes it does work. then there's that rush of "i did it!" feeling that is so good we start to look for other little projects to do.
i like completion. i like before and after mental shots of my space. like living room wall with large gaping hole to....several months later albeit....plastered and painting, somewhat reminiscent of guacamole. every time i look at that wall i think "damn, that looks so much better than that gaping hole." i don't remember where my kids were as i slopped plaster on that wall. i was in my project mind- that dangerous place on complete concentration where nothing else exists except me and my beloved project. i love that place. i miss it.
because here's the thing: we have two boys that want nothing more than to be intimately involved, most of the time, with whatever project we are attempting. the more dangerous it looks, the more tools involved, the more focus it requires- the more they need to be a part of it. i understand this desire- it's in our DNA. we are programmed to imitate those that are surviving. their little brains are little absorbent sponges and adults the fountain of knowledge.
except that often having them part of the plan makes it incredibly difficult to get things done. i try to multitasks...keeping track of cyrus and the drill and the box cutter while also attempting to engage my fix-it brain. sometimes this works. if i've had enough sleep, not too much coffee or sugar, all the required tools can be found and have been found, and the planets are aligned- i actually can get the boys involved in a project and we all strut about like turkeys when we successfully complete it.
then there's the normal sequence of things. i'm not proud to admit this but let's be honest here- if you are a parent you have done this too. and if you are not a parent- well, you need to know these things before you become one. some projects go like this:
i see something that needs to be done.
i look for tools to do it.
i cannot find them. the tool bag now only contains a dried out sharpie marker, a handful of rusty screws and some kind of screwdriver whose tip looking like a square.
i start to ask where the _____ is.
i get blank stares.
i go into a mumbling rant which is something like "why can't people just put things back in the tool bag?" but in reality is far more judgmental and callous.
i try to use several other macguyver inspired handmade tools before i hurt myself and swear loudly.
i give up. the frustration boils over to a point where i cannot cope- so i go check facebook or fold laundry.
i have tried to remedy this in several ways. i have bought my own tool kits and hidden them from all. slowly they are dismemberd and discarded somewhere beyond my reach. i bought a little battery powered drill with four bits and two drills and this handy little case. i have the case now- in the tool bag- and now and then i hear the hum of the drill somewhere in the house. i run to it- to find cyrus poking holes in the window's plastic insulation covering. and then as i search for the packing tape ("has anyone seen the packing tape?") he is off again with MY drill. never to be seen again.
recently while talking to my dad he said there are three kinds of people in the world.
1. people that want something to happen.
2. people that makes things happen.
3. people that stand around and say "what the hell happened?!"
i'm all three and then some. i'm the person who wants to make something happen without yelling "what the hell happened to my drill?!" i'm also the person who wants things to happen, makes them happen, and then asks in a bewildered afterglow "wow! how did that finally happen?"