Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Knowing what not to do

A few years before he died, my Grandpa C. wrote an autobiography. In his late teens, he found out what he didn't want to do with his life:

In the summer of 1943 I got a factory job working at the CB&Q Foundry in the machine shop. Bob worked there and he got me the job. The whole summer I stood at an automatic drill drilling two holes into small plugs, which fit into the small hole in the end of barrels. I thought I had drilled enough of these pieces to last forever. After standing at that drill all summer, I made up my mind that I was going to do something besides work in a factory. A summer of this was enough for a life time.

Grandpa taught us a valuable lesson. It's okay to try something and decide it's not for you.

Somehow, with two grandfathers who were skilled carpenters, I managed to inherit not a single carpentry gene. A few weeks ago, my silverware drawer broke; or, more precisely, the slide mechanism broke. Not a problem, said I. I am woman, hear me operate a Dremel. But as Scripture says, pride goes before a fall. And as I recall, the Proverbs 31 woman was nowhere praised as a whiz with a hammer and screws.

I followed all the directions for the new slide with just a few muttered curse words as I contorted my body to fit inside the cabinet. I drilled, screwed, realized I'd measured wrong, drilled and screwed again, only to find in the final analysis that the whole assembly is mounted ever so slightly too low. There is a small gap showing above the drawer front and it's all just a little atilt.

Fortunately, I have picked up one good skill through the years: knowing when to walk away before the tears spill over. I would a thousand times rather be sitting here at the computer telling you the story, in a humorous fashion, than be down in the kitchen drilling and screwing for a third time over. I am officially crossing "carpenter" off the list of jobs I might want to have someday.

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