Friday, April 16, 2010

Super Fix-it Woman a.k.a. Mom

It might be a slight exaggeration to say that I achieved Superhero status this week.

Spring has sprung, mud season has nearly ended and bikes have been unpacked from the Blue Shed.

Everyone was amazed to discover that his or her bikes had shrunk during the Winter.  Fortunately, we have bikes to spare.  All bikes lined up.  Everybody finds one that fits and off they go, one after another, flying in the wind down the driveway and dirt road.  Jumping off small dirt ramps as if it were a motocross exhibition.  Mud puddles parting and causing small tidal waves of splashes and splatter that will put Oxyclean to the test.  Passage to distant corners of our local universe suddenly available to all.

Well, not quite all.

There was one problem.  Jonathan, who at three-and-a-half has moved up in rank to full amigo companion to the other two amigos and accustomed to joining in the adventures of any of the older siblings (he's not your average 3-year-old!), is unable to ride a bike.  Left in the dust near the house, or dangerously hitching rides on other bikes - something needed to be done.

I knew just the thing.  Training wheels.  Now.

Out came the wheels, which I was surprisingly able to find in a bag in the back of a laundry room cabinet on my first try.  Next, the only open-ended wrench I saw in the tool box was the right size, which I consider a minor miracle.  Standing on the front porch with training wheels and wrench in hand, I called for the boys to bring me the smallest bike, currently riderless and abandoned in the shed.

There was skepticism, but the boys delivered the bike.  I proceeded to take the rear-wheel-assembly apart while Ben wondered out loud if it might be better to wait for Dad, and Sam crouched next to me watching closely to make sure I didn't lose any parts while offering commentary on the best way to approach the project.  I proceeded to reassemble the wheel, this time with perfectly placed training wheels out to the side.

Mission accomplished!  Cheering actually erupted among the crowd. They were quite impressed.

I became aware that a suspicion was forming in their minds that I might actually be a Superhero.  Some recent evidence of Super Fix-it powers.

Putting training wheels on the bike without losing a single nut or washer.
Getting the Lego piece out of the vacuum cleaner tubing–– a deep and mysterious task.
Painting not one, but two bedrooms while Dad was out of town (Ok this was mostly due to Grandma's hard work, but I got some credit, too...)
Fixing the plaster on an old crumbling wall in the staircase.
Fixing the loose baseboards in my bedroom.
Figuring out how to move the giant circa 1960's deep freeze when half a dozen eggs fell and smashed behind it (this event was worthy of an "I Love Lucy" episode... and I may yet write about it)
Unplugging a bathroom sink with nothing but ingredients from the kitchen and a plunger.  Bonus!  Vinegar and baking soda provide exciting chemistry lessons while the sink gets clean.

I vividly remember the day I thought my Dad had acquired true magical powers - having secretly installed an automatic garage door opener and with remote in his windbreaker pocket, he amazed my 6-year-old me with commanding the door to open and close by saying the magic word "abracadabra!"    When he showed me how the remote worked, I was no less amazed.

These days, wireless and remote technology of any kind is taken for granted by my kids.  Of course we can get email while sitting in the parking lot.  Who ever heard of a phone with a cord?  Even one of our air conditioners has a remote.   I'm not sure some of the kids are aware that the TV channels can be changed by buttons on the machine itself, leading to small panics when the remote control is no where to be found and the Olympics are about to begin.

But observable Fix-it Skill with actual tools, multiple parts, and preferably some grease, paint or other substance to leave small smears of evidence on jeans and cheeks and Mom's frizzy hair is still quite impressive.

At least to boys between the ages of 3 and 7.  If you're looking for a bit of an ego boost, I recommend keeping a few around.



Abigail said...

You've definitely got superhero status in my book, training wheels or not.. :)

Thanks for this day brightener.


Mom said...

This is another gem! Love your pictures, too! Keep writing. So enjoyable!

Treasure from the Junk Drawer
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•Art illustrations by Sara
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