Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guy Stuff

Growing up my Dad and my Poppy always took care of all the fixing and lifting and "guy stuff." Now that they aren't around, I realize my children and I have lots to learn! As a single mom raising 3 "not so little anymore" children, I have started to think about how I did a lot of watching and not a lot of doing for many years when it came to house projects, home repairs, and car maintenance. My Dad took care of basically everything!

I remember being about 5 years old and going with him on Sundays to my Gram and Poppy's house to watch him work on cars. Once in awhile I handed him tools and stuff, but I didn't really learn how to take care of the problems myself. Now I really wish I paid more attention to the oil changes and tires fixes, etc.

As I got older I became so accustomed to my Dad or Poppy doing the major fixes around the house that it never occurred to me that I needed to learn it for myself. Even when I got married, my Dad and my ex-father-in-law would take care of repairs at the house for me and Oz. We called one of them for whatever came up - tiles needing caulking, mold in the bathroom, broken furnace, toilet clogs. ETC!

Over the years, Poppy died, then I got divorced, then my Dad died.  The next thing I know I am a homeowner without the know how.

I have been very fortunate lately that the Wild One helps me with House Projects.
As time has gone on, I find that my kids are very interested in everything he does when he is working on  projects.  Vincenzo has said more than once that "he's better to watch than TV."

The Wild One and his Dad "Mr. Fix It"  helped the kids repair their bikes over the summer.  They learned how to put new tire tubes on, fix chains, check brakes, and adjusts seats.   They also got to watch the Wild One and Mr. Fix It work on a go-cart!  My boys were very interested in it all!

And not surprisingly my daughter was right there in the mix, taking mental notes, and turning out to the be one of the strongest helpers. She also complains the least about the work! She quickly figured out that the wrenches had numbers and went in order by size. She was great at finding them and then putting them away again. She was also very excited to be in charge of holding the drill when cup holders got put on the bikes!

Watching the kids so excited to learn new things reminded me of being little and watching my Dad and Poppy in that garage so many year ago. How much fun I had when they let me help. How special it felt to hang out with them and how strong I thought they were! I loved the smell of the garage and the car oil. I loved how my Dad and Poppy both had the strongest biceps of anyone I knew. My Dad would let me hang on his arm to do chin ups.  It cracked me up that he could lift me up like that. They would argue and yell at each other almost the entire time, but you could tell they enjoyed working together on a project.

My kids felt that same feeling the day they got to help with "guy stuff."  It is not that I could not have done it. Women fix bikes and go carts. I could have looked it up online, watched a You Tube video and fumbled my way through it.  Of course.   But, there is such a difference to learn from someone that KNOWS what they are doing.  That hands on experience for the kids was priceless! To be able to touch grease, use tools, and smell the gas from a motor creates a memory.

They still remember my Dad pretty clearly.  The boy especially got to spend time helping him with small projects when he was still healthy.  They got to see him in his glory days!
As he got sick, he was home more and spent tons of quality time with the kids. When he wasn't up for major projects, he still kept the kids busy and Isabella learned to bake cookies with him and make smoothies.

It has been a learning curve for sure over the last 4 years of being on my own. In survival mode for the first 3 years, I just thought about how I needed to work and get food on the table for the kids and keep the bills paid. But, in the last year I have found that the crisis fog has lifted and our new normal is not half bad. We have great people in our lives, my kids are happy and for the most part I hold things together pretty well.  I have been able to move into the next mode now that the I have emerged past the crisis phase.  I can see family vacations being possible again and the house feels more manageable. We ride bikes together.  We enjoy life.

But, I won't say I have done it without help.  It felt good to sit in the sun on that warm, summer afternoon and just enjoy the experience of the kids learning to do new things.

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