Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Don't Have Million Dollar Domestic Skills

A craftsman never blames his tools. But I am not a craftsman and there’s only so much I can do with a handsaw.

Not long after graduating from college, the wife and I lived in a townhome. We lived there with our two cats, Rocky & Bullwinkle. Prior to moving to our townhome, we lived in an apartment. The apartment had large, wide window sills where the cats could lay and look out the window. Our new townhome didn’t have wide window sills. It had small, puny window sills. Like all good pet owners, we felt guilty.

Shortly after moving in, I went to the pet store and purchased the solution. It was a hammock consisting of a comfy blanket that was suspended from a plastic frame. The frame was designed to be hung from a wall flush with the sill so the cat could lie contentedly and gaze out the window…at other townhomes. But the view wasn’t important. It was being content that truly mattered.

Unfortunately for our cats, they’re big boned. Along with those bones comes other stuff that netted them out to 15 pounds. It soon became apparent that the hammock wasn’t going to hold their weight. The screws in the wall just weren’t enough. And wall anchors weren’t going to cut it either.

I was initially demoralized. But then I came up with an idea. The hammock needed reinforcement on the side opposite the wall. I had taken wood shop. I built the gum ball machine. It worked. I did a kick ass job working the lathe, the drill press, and the miter box. I would build the support that I envisioned by myself!!

Exhibit A below depicts the support that I envisioned.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t own a lathe, a drill press, or a miter box. I owned a TV, a Packard Bell computer, a Sega Game Gear, a bookcase from Ikea, and a Saturn SL1 and that was about it for my post college life. So I set out for Home Depot (or someplace similar). In addition to not having the aforementioned woodworking tools, I also didn’t have much money. So I returned home with some wood, a clamp (because I couldn’t afford a vise), and a 12” hand saw (because I couldn’t afford anything else better).

One evening after work I began constructing my “vision.” Unfortunately, my vision wasn’t coming together quite as I envisioned. The clamp wasn’t quite cutting it. The saw wasn’t helping much either. The ruler worked as intended. But considering I spent most of the time holding the wood between my knees and couldn’t cut a straight line, that wasn’t much help. After a few hours and some cuts on my hand, I emerged from the garage with something slightly different than my vision.

Exhibit B below depicts the support as constructed. Wobble lines not shown.So the cats never got to look out the window when we lived in the townhome.

I would like to point out to my wife that I’m old enough now to afford a vise, a miter box, saw horses, or a power saw. And I even have a tape measure now. Because the true disappointment isn’t that the cats couldn’t look out the window. The disappointment is that my wife unjustly pictures Exhibit B in her mind any time I suggest doing something around the house.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, my husband and I had two cats at one point -- the parallels never end. ;-)