My father was (and is) a very “handy” person to have around the house. Despite being a high-ranking white-collar professional, he was never afraid to get his hands dirty whenever something needed fixing. He did it so well, in fact, that my siblings and I came to rely on him whenever something needed done. As you can imagine, this led to us being rather dependent on his skills, which stunted our (my) growth in that area.
Yes dad, it’s your fault I can’t fix the sink.
All kidding aside, my dad (and many others of his generation, I’ve noticed) has a solid understanding of the basic trades. And I’m not talking about assembling IKEA furniture, either. This is a man who, in the two weeks he’s stayed at my house, has repaired an electrical fixture, did a high-wire balancing act to change a twenty-foot-high light bulb, fixed the bathroom plumbing, and is about to replace two very runny valves on my hot water tank.
I find myself rather jealous.
Don’t get me wrong. I know my way around a toolbox (hammer is used to hit things). I can fix minor problems. But in terms of skill, it’s like comparing a little league pitcher to Bo Jackson. It’s not just the know-how: I’m mechanically inclined enough that I could figure things out given enough time (and with a little bit of help from Google). But my dad is also fully confident in his skills, his ability to assess what needs to be done, what he can do, and what he has to farm out.
As for me? Farming out is the default option. There’s just too high a chance that I’ll screw it up and make things worse. This sucks on so many levels. I should’ve paid more attention growing up.
I know that fatherhood is more than being able to change a light bulb or build a three-piece dining room set in your garage workshop. But right now? When there’s a huge repair bill staring me in the face? Damn if it isn’t making me think.