I helped my dad put together a kitchen cart that he bought. Hands-on projects like that aren’t exactly one of my strong points, and trying to decipher the assembly instructions was like trying to translate ancient hieroglyphics. Don’t get me wrong – we figured it out. Took us two hours, but we got the cart put together.
The experience was worth it, though. My dad’s a very hands-on person. He works on cars and household appliances in his spare time. When most people would call someone else to do a job, 95% of the time, he does the job himself and does it better. Except for carpentry. The one table he built, while it lasted for a solid ten years or more, always leaned to the side. Functional, but not pretty. So it makes sense that he chose to buy a cart rather than make one himself.
For other projects, though, he relies on himself. He has fixed my car so many times over the years I can’t even imagine how many thousands of dollars I’ve saved because of not having to pay labor costs. And when I take my car to a “real” mechanic, I usually get told that things are wrong with my car that aren’t wrong at all! One of the last mechanics I saw drove my car and told me my alternator was going bad (my alternator is fine – the serpentine belt needed to be replaced). Recently, my brake lines rusted apart, and my dad made me new brake lines. Like, honestly, he’s a bit of a genius with mechanics.
I won’t say I can’t do anything mechanical – I can, but I get frustrated and mentally fatigued within an hour. Give me a math problem to work on or an English essay to write, and I can spend hours on either with next to zero mental fatigue. But throw pictures at me with no words to explain what I’m looking at, and it’s like my brain just goes into overdrive. I don’t know if other people have this kind of experience, but, if I’m being honest, it’s kind of nice to experience every so often.
Another plus, for me, is that my dad’s not the super affectionate kind – he’s a bit withdrawn emotionally, but I know him well enough to know what he’s feeling. I don’t know how to explain that – he’s not gruff or stand-offish. He’s just someone who minds his own business and doesn’t force his company on anyone else. He works a lot, and he spends a lot of time outside of work, well, working on cars or going to races (he’s a huge racing nerd), so it’s hard to spend any real quality time with him. So, rather than try to get him to do something I like (which is mostly stuff he doesn’t), I decided to help him with one of his projects. And, you know, despite the mental fatigue, I had a lot of fun.