01 July 2011

Me And Dad Install The Ceiling Fan

For those new to the blog, my Dad passed away in 2003.
He was one of those unschooled guys that could figure out how most things work, and could fix them with a pair of pliers, a roll of duct tape, and a foot-long piece of baling wire.

We had a garage at our old homestead. It was a mancave...
a comfortable place for my Dad and me and the inevitable four of five buddies that would show up needing a little work on their cars or bikes. My friends loved both my parents and knew they were always welcome at our home. Anytime they broke a transmission synchronizer or blew an engine, they'd find a way to our garage.
We were ALWAYS tinkering there with something.

Against one wall of that garage was a large wooden cabinet with a myriad of small, uniform drawers. Each of the drawers had a dymo-tape identifier:
TAPE
AIR PARTS
SCREWS
BOLTS/WASHERS
And so on.
When Dad died, that cabinet ended up in my garage.

Yesterday I finally had the time to replace the patio ceiling fan that corroded apart last year. I opened and took everything out of the box, then compared the scattered bags of parts to the list of everything that was supposed to be there, according to the destructions.
All was well. So I turned on the "Dennis Miller Show" and started work.

These things used to be a nightmare. In the old days it was obvious someone who didn't speak English had written the destructions, and that's why I call 'em that. But the destructions are much improved now... not perfect, but much, much better. Impatience and lack of reading skills on my part are more of a problem now.

All was going well...
Up the ladder, crane your neck, install a component, down the ladder, read the destructions, grab the next stuff to put together for installation.
Everything went like clockwork and I was feeling mighty proud of myself until I got to the "blade installation" part of the process and the destructions called for bolts with washers to attach the blades to the fan motor.
The bolts were in a bag.
Where were the lock washers?

Back to the box with all the packing materials in it...
GOOD GRIEF... Enough styrofoam to make a couple hundred coffee cups, and a ton of irritating little plastic bags that used to have itty-bitty parts in them!
Mutter and search. Mutter some more.
No lock washers.
So I grab a bolt and head to Dad's cabinet, open the door marked "BOLTS/WASHERS", and start digging for the tiny lock washers that fit the bolt. I needed ten of 'em for the five fan blades.

And as I'm digging toward the bottom of the drawer for tiny lock washers the memories come flooding...
All the times Dad was there, over in his chair, letting us do the work and learn from our mistakes, only commenting or advising us when we needed him.

I found ten washers, put them on the bolts, then went back up the ladder...
Only then did I see there were bolts and lock washers in the fan motor that had to be removed, then re-installed with the fan blades. The bolts I had in my hand were extras.
Grumble, mutter, curse.
Damn destructions.
Damn Chinese. I think they do this just to raise an old man's blood pressure and try to kill him.

Dad and I finished the job.
The ceiling fan AND the light on it work fine.
I took the extra bolts and the now not-needed lock washers back to the cabinet drawer marked BOLTS/WASHERS and added them to the others.

Dad is strong there, and I could never have imagined how comforting that cabinet and the memories it sparks would be to me.

Thanks Dad (and Mom), for providing that little hub of activity where EVERYONE was comfortable.
Through those memories you'll both live forever.

6 comments:

Timothy Frazier said...

You'll need to repost or bump to the top next father's day. Good one, and it made me remember my Dad...same type of Mr. Fix-it, but his parts were scattered or jumbled in dozens of junk drawers, five gallon cans, and (for the bigger ones) 55 gallon former oil drums.

Somehow he knew were even the tiniest scratch bolt or machine screw could be found, as well as "that old generator we took off the 32 Ford ten years ago".

Red Shoes said...

Great story...

I've heard that as long as someone is remembered, they never really die...

You are a great testament to your Dad.

~shoes~

Old NFO said...

Great story, thanks for sharing!!! There seems to be something in my eye...

cj said...

GB -

I love it when you find them sitting on your shoulder like that. It's the greatest.

And, BTW, I've been watching the old "Tour of Duty" series on Youtube and every time I see a chopper, I think of you. Wonder why that is...

cjh

discount table lamps said...

So sad to hear your story but also thanking you for sharing the beautiful memories you had with dad.

Aimee L'Mieux said...

I really loved your story. I'm sorry that your dad passed away but you seem to be a good handyman yourself. Sorry about the lock washers. Those things are a nuisance sometimes.