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Inspirational Reads

My Son, the Jedi

April 30, 2007

Not a lot of things make me feel especially studly. Sure, bedding my buxom, redheaded wife is one of them, but one of the few others is either doing something that improves the house or fixing an appliance/machine that needs it. And, for the latter, get it to run as good as new.

That was just the scenario I was faced with this weekend. Last week, the drive belt that links the axle on which the lawnmower blade turns to the self-propulsion mechanism of the front wheels got chewed up by the blade. Fortunately, I had a spare lawnmower that I stupidly forgot to change the oil in last summer and thus pretty much seized everything up within. Nicely done. A very unstudly moment, to be sure. However, I was able to pull parts off of this old mower and figure out how the belt mechanism worked. I couldn't get the belt off, but I figured Lowes would have the correct replacement. After a 30 minute wait to talk to the guy to make sure the belt I picked up was the right one (and then 30 seconds to confirm...if that), I hustled home and began to fix the mower.

I was cleverly able to loop the belt around the blade so that I didn't have to take the blade off. After this, it was just another quick stretch and pull to get the belt through the opening in the housing for the blade to the pulley for the self-propulsion mechanism. A few twists and a flick to make sure it was tight, and I was back in business. I felt like many a bekilted Scotsman taunting the English after the battle of Stirling Bridge. As an end note, the mower runs as good as new. This was studly moment number one.

Sudly moment number two came on Saturday, when I decided I had had enough of watching Brady Quinn getting screwed and his falling stock, so instead I took my anger out on a light fixture above our kitchen sink that has largely been useless since we bought the house. It was an old (and I do mean old) fluorescent light that had no earthly use. Plus, the bulb was burnt out, and I just plain didn't like it. So, it had to come down. I bought some track lighting to replace it. However, I quickly discovered that the people who owned the house before us, or their contractors, or someone, are complete dolts. Instead of installing a box for the line to come through above the sink, they just had the electrical wires (and the insulation) sticking through a hole drilled in the ceiling. Class act, these folk. So, I wrestled and swore and swore some more and then finally got everything to fit the way I wanted it (if my son hadn't been asleep, I would have gone to get the box to fix it properly, which might be this weekend's project). I got the lights hung just in time before my wife came home, so it was a nice surprise. She, in fact, really liked it. Now, I can leave a light on for her at night when she is working that isn't the one over the stove, which burns out about every ten days. No lie.

So, because I was lazy, I took the old light fixture and laid it on the table in the dining room. I didn't think anything of it, but I did, later, take out the light fixture and such, but I left the bulb there. We'll fast-forward back to Sunday now. As I was preparing the kids' lunches, I was standing at the fridge getting some water from the filter so that I could microwave some macaroni and cheese (modern conveniences are even more wonderful when you've got kids to feed) when here comes my little boy (who is two and a half) into the kitchen, wielding the fluorescent bulb. He came in holding it in front of him and then, when he made sure that I could see him, he stopped, spread his feet shoulder-width apart and then held the bulb up over his head. At the same time, he made this face where he was gritting his teeth and scowling, as if he was trying to frighten off his enemies. In all, he looked quite the young Jedi standing there, ready to face off against Darth Vader.

The funny thing is, this must be a genetic thing because he's never seen a Star Wars-related thing before. My daughter has watched the Clone Wars cartoons with me, but other than that, there's not been too much Star Wars watching with my kids around. Clearly this is a case of genetic nerdiness fandom. As amused as I was, fluorescent bulbs are notoriously fragile and, with the glass being so thin, they tend to form razor-sharp shards when they shatter. Neither of these scenarios is exactly copacetic when it comes to two year olds. I was able to get him to hand me the bulb and I quickly disposed of it properly.

Oh, by the way, if you've had a really bad day working at the book store or something, the sound of long fluorescent bulbs shattering against the back of a steel dumpster is very, very rejuvenating. Or so I've heard.


Ψ*Ψ said...

I love fixing things. Makes me feel useful.
...what? no Star Wars for the kids yet?

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

No, not much on the Star Wars front. However, I think they've both seen all three of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Well, the two Lord of the Rings movies and the middle one, which was sort of loosely based on the Two Towers.

Chemgeek said...

I did the electrical in our basement. For a fluorescent light, the housing acts as its own box. For the fluorescent lights I installed, I had to pull the wire directly from the wall into the housing.

Kids are amazing. Some of the things my kids come up with boggle my mind. To pull a Jedi move with a fluorescent bulb at 2.5 years is superb. Methinks someone has been influencing him with (perhaps unrecognized) Jedi mind tricks. You may want to test your midi-chlorian levels.