Don't Use The Hammer.

I didn't give my son a hammer.  We should all remember this.

I have taught my children to use hammers, of course I have, I am a good father and everyone knows that responsible hammer ownership is in the constitution some where.  So I have taught both of my minions to use a hammer and use it well.  I have taught them that things that are alive, you don't hit with a hammer.  I have taught them that you can hit things that are dead with a hammer, but it's pretty gross.  I have taught them that steel and metal deserves to be hit with a hammer.  And that, is the mistake.

My garage is, as you would expect, my sanctuary.  No one is allowed to give me "design ideas" for my garage.  No one is allowed to tell me how to "decorate" my garage.  No one is allowed to hang anything on my garage walls.  It is a place where work gets done and not a place where the pretty gets admired.  I have a whole other room for the pretty.  It's the basement and if she puts in the lotion in the basket, maybe she can come admire the garage.

I do allow my children to the garage though as I find this to be a great place to have many of the father/children important life lessons kinds of talks.  Things such as "Son, treat your mother with respect or you will one day be nailed to my wall."  The atmosphere is great for those deep learning talks that you must have with your children.  I imagine one day I will explain to my daughter about her monthly cycles in my garage, thus damaging her forever and creating an awkwardness between us that will last a lifetime.  We shall never talk about it after that moment.  But she will also know that this is where I will take "Chester", her future deadbeat boyfriend, and explain to him that if he ever hurts the apple of my eye, he will be nailed up next to my son for disrespecting his mother.

My son and I were in my garage to fix a chair, a pretty old chair.  It is/was quite beautiful.  Made out of what I think to be walnut, mortise and tenon joint work, a thatched back that has, until now, survived my minions.  Walnut is one of the toughest woods known to the every day wood worker and in theory, what you build out of it will be good for the next 100 years.  That was before the Little Hoss testing phase though so as you can imagine, it is broken.

It is broken because that is what my children do.  They break things that have stood up to 25 years of abuse.  25 years and the chair has been just fine.  1 year in my house and all of a sudden a walnut leg gets snapped off.  I am told that it was an accident.  We seem to have a lot of "accidents" in this house.  I don't need to really go into details about how they broke the chair because it's become so common place now that I figure you can just go back and read any of the other 100 posts I've done and extrapolate from there.  You will reach the same point that we are at now, we have a broken chair and my son and I are going to fix it.

In all honesty though, I do love when the minions help me fix things.  They are getting pretty good at it which should show you how much practice they get at it.  We do have a rule here, you break it you fix it.  They seem to like the rule, maybe because they get to spend quality time with dad in the garage.

I have the chair clamped up which took some work as it is an odd shape.  I had to use 5 different clamps to get it just right and get the damaged chair leg flush with the side rail.  It was being stubborn so I needed to whack it.

I grabbed my hammer.....

Then I thought no, this isn't a hammer job.  Responsible hammer ownership begins with knowing what isn't a hammer job.  I tell my son instead to grab my rubber mallet.  It's not a hammer.

The mallet won't damage the wood but it will give me the proper force to smack the leg back in. I let my son help because honestly, what kind of damage can you do with rubber mallet?  Dumb question.

I tell him to whack away.  This marks the highlight of his day.  His father has given him something heavy and destructive and permission to swing away.  This is his moment in the big leagues.  The grin on his face is tentative, like he's thinking I am messing with him.  I smile back at him and nod, yes son, swing as hard as you can.

He brings the mallet up, eyeballs his target and swings with all his little arm.  Boom, he makes good contact.  He even misses my face, which is a plus.

He hit the chair leg right where I wanted him to hit it.  It slides closer to where it needs to be.  I tell him to go nuts. And he does.  Because I am an idiot.

He swings and hits.  He swings and hits.  He swings and hits.

He is in his own little world now.  He's almost feverish.  Dad said he could swing with the mallet.  Dad is not stopping him.  Swing and hit, swing and hit.  This may be the best day of his life.

I'm enjoying watching this.  I'm enjoying his enthusiasm.  I am enjoying his smile.  I am a good father.

Without warning he turns.  He has grown bored.  He needs something new.  He finds it.  The hood of my new minivan.  He swings.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" I scream as I reach for the mallet.  If I could only reach it before it makes contact.  If only, if only, if only.  My fingers come within millimeters of the handle.  I am to late.

BOOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGGG!  The rubber mallet makes contact with the hood.  It bounces back.  The shock waves of air expand out toward us like I can see them.  He prepares to take another swing.

My kids destroy stuff.  It's what they do.  It does not matter what it is.  Nothing can withstand their combined might.

This is why I practice responsible rubber mallet ownership.  Well, at least I do now. 

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