Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Dad the Handyman

I just got back from a long weekend at my Dad's in Belleville. Since Canada Day was on Saturday, my team at work got the choice of having either Friday or Monday off for the long weekend. I took both! So just to clarify for those that are bad at math, I had a four day weekend.

Marge: Homer, your work called and said if you don't go to work tomorrow, not to bother going in on Monday.
Homer: WOO HOO! Four day weekend!

I'll stop talking about my four day weekend now, (before Dariush drives halfway across the continent to strangle me.)

Ok, I'll stop talking about how long it was, I'm still going to talk about what I did. I had originally planned to ride my bike down to Belleville from Toronto and take the train back on Monday. There was a threat of thunderstorms all along the lake on Friday however, so I changed my mind and drove there and just packed my bike in the back for a Saturday ride. Saturday morning proved to be disappointing as my England lost in their quarter-final match to Portugal. (I'm still upset, so that is all on that topic.) Saturday afternoon I got ambitious and went for a long ride. I rode from Rossmore, (near Belleville,) to Colborne and back. It was nearly a 120km ride and it took me a little more than 4.5 hours to complete. I would have done better but my body is apparently not ready for an endurance race yet. At about 90km, that is halfway back, I started to feel the burn. This was no "Yeah, keep working! Feel the burn!" It was a "I think my legs are actually on fire and may fall off pretty soon," kind of burn. Even more ridiculous was my initial notion to get back from the ride and run two or three km to get used to the transition. Yeah right.

The rest of the weekend was spent eating, sleeping, doing a little nothing, (a skill I think men are particularly good at,) and observing my Dad in his natural habitat. The Village Handyman. Since his retirement, the people of Sunrise Court and some of the surrounding area have come to know that my Dad knows how to fix things and have adopted him as their go to guy when something is broken or a problem needs an inventive workaround. He does his work cheap, too. Usually if the parts are handy and there is the occasional beer involved, my Dad will have the know-how and tool to complete the job. And, if he doesn't have THE tool, he can make one from the tools he has. (Now you know where I get it from, see #2 here.)

I witnessed a couple examples of this improvisational skill this past weekend. The first was when Dad decided he wanted to put a plug hole in the boat. He has a small, (eight or ten foot) aluminum boat. If the boat gets water in it, it is easier to run it with the plug out to drain the water than to fiddle with a baling bucket. He wanted a hole that had an outward flare so as to create a good seal with the rubber plug. He started by drilling a quarter inch hole with a spade bit. Took about four seconds. Next he took a metal rod about the size of the hole and was going to swing it around to flare the freshly drilled hole. Problem was, the rod was too long considering the hole was right near the bottom of the boat. Dad stood up and put on the "thinking frown" for a minute. "I need a taper" he said as he started towards the garage. "Do you HAVE a taper?" I asked, thinking that we should have started there in the first place. "Nope" he responded without looking back. Upon entering the garage, I found my Dad already rifling through his socket sets. He stood straight up with a "Eureka!" type pose and showed me his "taper." A 6mm hex-bit quarter-inch-drive socket...with a tapered edge. "This'll do" he said as he grabbed his plastic head mallet and made his way back down to the boat. And, it did work. Made a perfect flare for the plug that he was given by a neighbour, (probably as payment for one odd job or another.)

The second was later working on the same boat. The motor actually. A 15hp Johnston that was given to him by the Doctor across the bay, (definitely payment for one of the countless jobs he has helped the good Doctor with on his sailboat.) We had just mounted the engine on the boat and had given it the first test start. It ran well considering it had been packed in the garage all winter but it wasn't perfect. "I wonder if there's an idle screw inside?" my Dad wondered aloud. When he took off the cover he noticed something amiss. A small regulator piece on the throttle wasn't sitting right and when he touched it, it broke. After taking apart all he could with the proper tools, (that I was sent to fetch in the garage,) he came to the broken piece that was firmly attached to a type of pivot. "I wonder if that's an O-ring?" came another audible wondering, shortly before he got up and headed to his workshop, (where all his model trains and RC airplanes are kept.) He came back with what appeared to be a dentist pick and a medical clamp. "Can you get it off without losing it?" I asked, although it was a stupid question because he probably wouldn't have done it otherwise. My answer came with a quick poke, clip, twist, then him handing me a tiny, (as in no more than 4mm diameter,) greasy O-ring.

As I was getting ready to leave, my Dad had received two more requests for help. One from John next door for help with something on his boat, and I know Dad also wanted to get over to see what latest project the good Doctor had on the go. The latter I think he actually looks forward to though as he gets to go sailing. Cheri, my Step-Mum wonders what the neighbourhood did before they moved there six years ago. Probably they paid some professional an exorbitant amount of money to come out to the boonies to even look at the perceived problem du jour. I am sensing a business opportunity for my Dad.

He should demand better wages than beers and boat plugs.

All for now,


Blogger Shafa said...

I don't strangle.

I napalm.

7/10/2006 1:26 AM  

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