WhiteCoat

Opportunities

I was away all weekend at another lacrosse tournament with the family. That was fun, but a little stressful. Plus, we were sitting out in the sun from 8AM to 6PM. Even SPF 70 sunscreen doesn’t block all the sun for those with hypomelanosis. My forehead and nose are now a deep rouge color.

On the way home last night, I called my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day and he tried to argue with me about politics and the Supreme Court. Interesting car ride. The Supreme Court ruled that donating money to political campaigns was free speech, therefore we should be able to take back free speech by robbing banks. OK, pops, you run with that argument. Maybe you could write a bar journal article about it.
Spent a little time on the elliptical machine, then went to bed so I could get up this morning and get lots of work done.

Sat down at the computer and opened up the daily new sites. Heard some yelling in the kitchen which isn’t unusual in itself. Then I heard a dish hit the floor. Then another. Then many. It sounded like a Greek wedding, but I wasn’t hearing anyone yelling “OPA!” I ran out into the kitchen to see my son standing there facing a kitchen cabinet that was half pulled out of the wall. He turned his head to show me a frightened face on the verge of tears. Another bowl fell out of the cabinet and smashed on the floor just as an exclamation point on the event.

I was pretty ticked off at first, and may have let an f-bomb fly. Junior said “Dad, I swear, all I did was try to reach up and grab a bowl. I pulled down on the door just a little to help me reach it and the whole cabinet pulled out of the wall.”

I was skeptical, but gave him the benefit of the doubt. There goes the rest of the morning fixing this thing. We both cleaned up the broken glass in silence. He was obviously upset.

Then I thought about a quote from the movie Evan Almighty. Not the best movie in the world, but one of my favorite movie quotes. When Evan’s wife prayed for her family to become closer, God appeared as a waiter serving her at a restaurant. He sat down next to her and said:

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

“Come on, Junior, you’re going to help me fix this thing.”
I went in to put some laundry in the washing machine. “By the time I come back, I want you to tell me why this broke and how we’re going to fix it.”
After we examined the cabinet, we figured out that it was attached to the wall by a few screws that went through the flimsy backing. The backing was attached to the hardwood cabinets by some flimsy staples. So when the weight of the dishes and glasses was combined with the force of his pull, it was just enough to separate the cabinet from the backing resulting in a whole lot of dishes falling to their doom.
“Now how do we fix it?”
“Glue?”
“Nope. What’s going to support the weight of the dishes better – the backboard or the wooden frame?”
“Ooooh, I see.”

And so I got him to think about how things are put together, measuring, drilling pilot holes for screws, the differences between different types of screws, how to repair the backing to the cabinet, and how to keep the cabinet from falling again. He got to drill holes, screw in screws, measure out the location of wall studs, pick out metal brackets at the store, straighten out the staples, pound them back into the backing, add a few more screws and washers to make sure the backing stayed put, screw the brackets into the cabinet, use a level to make sure the cabinet was straight, and screw the cabinet back in the wall. We cleaned up again and put the non-broken dishes back in the cabinet.

When we were finished, he had a smile on his face and said “This has been a really fun day. Thanks, dad.”

An opportunity to spend time with my son and a reason to get rid of those ugly glasses that have been gathering dust in the cabinet for the past 5 years. Yeah, ummm sorry honey, those broke, too.

Even when the carpentry in the house sucks, life is still good.

9 Responses to “Opportunities”

  1. SeaSpray says:

    What a great lesson and bonding time. Some parents would’ve lost it and he’d feel even lower than he did. You taught him some valuable lessons. he knows he can go to you with a mistake, problem and you can be trusted to help him work through it. His working on it helped him feel better if he was feeling guilty (doesn’t sound like his fault – a cabinet should not do that)for any reason and he learned how to fix something and got the satisfaction of a job well done.

    Now …can you guys please come over and hang some outside doors and fix a crooked drawer? Oh and help with a back patio? What’s a few hundred miles or so. :)

    “It sounded like a Greek wedding, but I wasn’t hearing anyone yelling “OPA!” ” Ha ha! :)

    Once I was being incredibly lazy and I wanted a plate that was under a lot of smaller stacked plates, but didn’t take time to move them. Well …every single one of those plates went crashing out the door on the other side of the cabinet and smashed all over the floor. Not as bad as a whole cabinet ..but annoying and I never did that again.

  2. RSDS says:

    About ten years ago I had a kitchen cabinet fall off of the wall and land on top of me, sending dishes, that I was planning on selling, crashing to the flour. The person who installed it put the cabinet up too high (I used a tall ladder just to reach the lowest shelf), using just a couple of screw-nails in the dry-wall. The cabinet now sits on the floor in the middle of the living room.

  3. Griffin3 says:

    I supply the muscle power, and have my eight-year-old son install cabinets with 3″ deck screws … all the time repeating hoary old adages like “it’s always good to have extra” and “do it right, or do it twice.”

    Household projects are a heck of a lot better than watching TV, or playing Nintendo. Plus, think of all the character you’re building …

    • SeaSpray says:

      Griffin – I REALLY like your comment, “do it right, or do it twice.”

      That’s EXCELLENT and I will be mindful to use it in the future as the opportunity comes up.

      Some one close to me is known to say, “It’s good enough.” Good enough is not good …IMO … unless it is a *temporary* solution.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      Actually got him to learn the hard way about the adage “measure twice, cut once” when making a brace for the back of the cabinet.

  4. Leslie says:

    That was a great way to bond with your son and teach him at the same time. I am so glad you did what you did instead of making him feel awful about himself.

    Now….have you checked that the rest of the cabinets are properly affixed to the wall(s)? You don’t want to go through that again.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      We did look at the other cabinets and one other cabinet was attached to the wall by just the backing as well. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of stuff stored in the cabinet, so it shouldn’t pull off the backing like the one with the dishes.
      Project for a rainy day, though …

  5. defendUSA says:

    There’s nothing more cool to know that your kids will be able to fix things because they are taught. My husband is a fixer and my youngest is also learning. He has fixed my dishwasher and fridge twice…You just have to love it!!

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