Tuesday, April 14, 2015

And now for something Different

This is the text picture I got from my Son on Sunday Evening.  His first refrigerator in his own apartment. He got a good deal and free delivery, on a Sunday in the span of an hour and a half of purchase. I knew this was one of those adult/parent moments that social media was made for:  Getting a refrigerator in your apartment means you have officially moved in.  I "stickered" him back a thumbs up icon. We shared a Father/Son moment digitally.

Before ---
Perhaps it's my dyslexia but I realized the problem immediately upon seeing the picture of the refrigerator in place. Soon he would realized it as well. I wondered if we were having the same thoughts. The realization that sometimes when you get a quick bargain it comes with surprises. All sales final means you have to live with your mistakes. The one thing you need in a small kitchen is correct use of space.
I didn't wait very long to Text him back.
"It opens the wrong way but that can be changed."
I didn't know for sure the hinge of a refrigerator door could be reversed. I never did it before nor even considered the possibility. It was my Fatherly way of saying "don't worry, it will work out." My intent was to try and "fix" it the next day although I was not sure what that meant.  In that moment I flashed on my own Dad coming to my house to "help me" fix something.  I had a mental file of tainted memories of these times and it was not a pleasant one.
Those encounters never seemed to occur drama free. The job eventually was done but not before emotions and often breakables were sacrificed.  Unfortunately my boys saw much of the same behavior from me as they were growing up.  I have a better since of mechanics than my Dad, and I am better with hand tools, than my Dad. But my short fuse approach to common repairs is definitely his method.
This method starts with the tools used. All repairs should be done with a screw driver, a hammer and a pair of pliers. All other tools are "a lazy mans way of doing things. When I grew up we didn't have the money to buy fancy tools" he would say.  At some point neither the hammer nor the screw driver would be right for the task. If pliers could not accomplish it,  my Dad moved to Defcon 2.  This meant cursing loudly, screaming at the problem loudly, throwing the hammer and yelling the "Stupid thing is impossible to fix."  Only then, after cleaning up whatever the hammer broke, would the solution come clear on how to handle the task.  I think I learned that pattern a little too well growing up.

With that in mind I go to the apartment to survey the project.  It seems like a socket wrench and Phillips screw driver would be all that is needed. Although a YouTube video tutorial on how to re-hang a Refrigerator door suggested I would need a special kind of screwdriver with a six pointed star driver.  I thought I had that as well. So back to my house to get the tools and return to attempt a project for/and/with my Son. 
The cheap socket driver I had for the appropriate bolt size was plastic and broke before the third bolt was loosened.  My Son saw what happened and took a step back.  I felt that old pattern coming up from the tips of my fingers. The words "Stupid thing" were forming in my mind, but I did something I had never done before.  I laughed.  (Probably because I had no hammer to throw).  The calm helped me figure out a rag tag way to secure the socket bit to another driver... (Also cheap and not well constructed)  It would work for a moment then it would slip and all the parts would fall on the floor. All effort stopped to re-arrange the parts and tool. The fourth or fifth time this happened I was ready to explode. My grown Son was watching and waiting for it.  In his eyes I saw myself watching my Father from the past in a similar situation. But for some reason it was still funny to me. Seeing it as humorous kept it from seeming impossible. Finally the make shift driver broke as well and the project was stalled.  The doors were off the refrigerator and parts were carefully placed in the order they came off. My Son had taken pictures of the steps, but until we got a tool that could finish the job we were stuck.
We made our way to the hardware store.  I remembered that my boys never did care to go with me to the hardware store in the past.  Here we were on a pleasant trip to find a solution to a common problem. Something was different and I knew it. It was because so far a Johnson meltdown had not occurred.  
I found the perfect tool for the job, a Black and Decker 1/4" socket wrench.  Not inexpensive but perfect for what was needed. We returned to the door less Refrigerator. 
Before we left it seemed like a simple task to just reverse the hardware like a mirror image of the original and put the doors back.  But the break had confused us both, and combined with my dyslexia I spent some time doing the wrong thing. In one case I put a hinge right back on the place I had taken it from an hour before. But I was on a roll now, I was determined to break a pattern of behavior and not break something in my Son's new apartment.  The final three screws were eventually tightened and it was fixed. In that instant the small kitchen had twice the room with the Refrigerator door open. And one could actually open it  and look inside without hiding in the corner and sucking in your gut. 

Lesson learned here. I hope it is a change in the way I approach things in the future. My Son said, "I had no idea that could be done, I thought I was just going to have to live with it that way."  I agreed but I think he was talking about the Refrigerator doors.
As you were,

No comments: