Thursday, August 30, 2007

This one doesn't really have a title...

My dad likes to have his little projects to do. He likes to put stuff together and make things with his hands. At the moment, his pet project is finishing the basement as fast as humanly possible. So when my dad calls me down into the basement to "give him a hand" I knew I wouldn't be smelling the upstairs air for a while.

I stand at the top of the stairs, gathering my courage. At last, I take a deep breath and walk down the stairs, not knowing what sort of help my father wanted, but having a pretty good idea that there was manual labor involved.

Sure enough, I get down there and the first thing he says is, "Hey help me lift this wall." Lift the wall?? And why didn't he ask Josh (my brother, who is way taller and stronger than I am) to do this? Well, whatever. "Eh...okay." I say. Turns out, it was just about eight or nine 2x4s all screwed together to form a "wall" of sorts. So I help him lift it, hefting my side while he lifts his. After the wall is up, he says, "Okay, hang on while I get some more screws."

Yeah, okay. No problem. Take your time. I'm only holding up a wall with my bare hands. No big deal. So then it starts to slip. "Uh...dad?" I can hear him behind me, trying to find those screws, oblivious to my peril. "Dad..." slipping...slipping..."Dad!"
"What? Whoa, Johanna, the wall is slipping!" Doy.

So he finally finds the screws and secures the "wall" so it's no longer falling on top of me. I step back to admire the fruits of my labor and catch my breath, hoping the "helping" was over. so dad starts to measure this and that and make little marks on the wood with his little flat orange pencil, muttering things about "whack that off" and "put another one there" and "give this one a little room" and using little words like "we" and "us" and "lets" and stuff like that, making me wonder if I was supposed to stay, but feeling kind of useless and kind of wanting to go back upstairs where I wasn't going to have to heft any more walls, but not sure weather or not he wanted me to stay and help, or keep him company or what. (Whoa! that's gotta break some kind of run-on-sentence record).

So I cough a little, reminding him that I was still there, and that I wasn’t doing anything. If he wanted me to help, fine. If not, I wasn’t planning to stick around. I had places to be, things to do. And those places and things didn’t, in any way, shape or form, involve even the word “strenuous”. Dad doesn’t seem to notice me. “Uh, dad? Can I go upstairs?” I ask, still unsure if he needed me for some other bizarre chore.

“Hmm. What? Oh, sure.” He says, without so much as glancing in my direction. Apparently I wasn’t needed too much after all. So I left him to his work then and retreated back into the safety of the upstairs. Maybe he did want me to stay, for all I know. Misery loves company. But who ever said company loves misery? :P

5 comments:

j'net said...

i can relate....i remember when mike finished our basement. the kids were still little enough that he decided i was the best help, so he had me hold drywall up on the ceiling while he screwed it in place. number one, i wasn't tall enough, so i'm standing on my tiptoes, and number two drywall is soooo heavy and my arms have no strength!!! glad it was only one wall you had to maneuver!

Hero's Cousin said...

awesome, jo. i can totally picture dad doing just what you described: "whack that off....mumble mumble...this one here...this...we could...mumble...long enough..."

glad you got out of there in time. i remember holding plenty of walls up in my day, when we did the basement in CO. but dad also let us write on the 2x4s to leave a legacy to whoever tore down those walls in a hundred years (we hoped).

Jessica said...

Ahh dad got to love them. I love when you come in to ask them something and they go "huh? oh yeah sure" and that later they are like " what? i never said that!"

Johanna said...

haha...my dad does that all the time! which is why I usually go to mom instead. :)

Jessica said...

Unless of course u know momk is going to say no, than go to dad heehee