Thanks to My Dad

If something is broken I always think I can fix it. My dad was that way too.It seemed to me when I was a kid that he could fix anything. I grew up being taught that it was a waste to discard something that could be mended.

I have actually fixed a myriad and odd assortment of things.Antique furniture, bicycles, a Seth Thomas clock, an old farmhouse left in a state of disrepair from many years of neglect, leaky pipes, vintage clothing, a sewing machine, old plaster frames , broken toys, squeaking steps, gold chains, book bindings, various pieces of jewelry, stone retaining walls, ancient door locks, rotted window sills, a garage door, fountain pens, broken window panes, wicker chairs, a fainting couch opening mechanism, ornate moldings, eye glasses, a player piano, dresser drawers, chain saws.

Sometimes I get paid to fix things. An 1880's papier mache Belsnickle, antique German porcelain dolls, heirloom angels, a collectible Father Christmas that a dog chewed.

If I see someone else trying to fix something, I itch to grab it away from them and do it the right way--my way.

Sometimes I laugh at myself for my audacity to think I can fix anything. But, I continue to attempt to mend the broken, reassemble the fragmented, fix the unfixable.

Almost always, I succeed.

I thank my dad for instilling in me the audacious belief that I can do it, the practical skills needed to make the attempt, knowledge of tools and materials, a common sense approach to step-by-step action, and the freedom to follow intuition as to how it might be done.

His lessons on belief in myself and my abilities, creating an action plan, following intuition, and just plain willingness to give it a try have served me well-- in fixing things and in life in general. I have his tools now, and when I hold his pliers in my hand I feel him with me, saying "You can do it. Just try".  It's a wonderful feeling. 

datura datura
56-60, F
58 Responses Oct 29, 2008

Luck I no good fixing things

Quite an impressive gift you were given, the ability to put things together, take them apart, and fix them; and the drive to pursue it to the extremes. We all have gifts, but pursuing them is what makes us great in this world.

Thay is neat.😊

I've been a Mr fixit all my life, was an engineer before becoming a bum, people still bring me stuff to weld, machine or to fabricate for some old relic.<br />
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I have not met many women that have the intrest or skills to do what you do. Good for your dad and for you.

Thanks Oldjack!

Hi Tanyi!<br />
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I'm glad you liked the story :-)

It's awesome!! The only hing I can do is get them into a mess....I hope I could be versatile someday as you are.<br />
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I think your story is a wonderful lesson for me of not to waste things in life. Probably I should try to fix them or send them to the second hand market. Making my life more comfortable and savable.<br />
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Thank you, datura. ^ ^

It's nice to feel needed, TheOriginalTalkingLamp ......<br />
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Although perhaps you have me confused with someone else since I'm not a mere mortal. ;-)

Well, you're just full of surprises. Obviously you're no 'mere' mortal though. I don't know many humans with your penchant for fixing. It's an undervalued talent.

I'm impressed mortal. I am going to need people like you in my future country. I, like your father believe nothing should be thrown out that has any hope of being repaired or rebuilt. I'll keep you posted. People like you will be indispensable in the new world.

Clever boy! You sound a lot like my brothers ;-) That's why I ended up being the one helping dad and learning all that stuff from him!

I found this post really interesting. Sadly my dad never taught me to fix things. He never had the patience and would always step in to take over my slow fumblings.. As i got older and 'wiser' i used to pretend to be slow, so that he would step in and finish the job/chore whatever.... It is only now as an adult and that he has gone that i have had to train myself to do all those useful things. I now love to fix things, though im nowhere near as neat as him.

Loved your comment, Honeysuckle! It was the same way with me. Lots of times I was just watching Dad, but was learning so much, too. What a great memory of your dad!

Thanks wd2011! We were lucky to have fathers who encouraged us.

Reiki and a mug of tea coming right up!

Can you fix me a mug of tea and stop my leg throbbing ?

I might have written it a few years ago but I still audaciously fix things, resi. <br />
I love it when people revisit my older stories. Most of them still pertain today. And these lessons my Dad taught me will be with me always.

I so agree with that statement datura. When I'm tackling a project, I always try to include my children and have them be involved as well. Not just my daughter, but my son too. <br />
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Sometimes my husband will work on something and will become frustrated by the situation, weather it's taking him longer than expected, or he needs a part that was forgotten when at the store. Thus the temper flares and does nothing to help the situation. <br />
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Where as I will work on that 5 minute job for hours, and would never flip out like that. (oh yes, I do get upset) But what's the point in getting so damn angry? <br />
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Myself and the kids will actually laugh sometimes at him when he's flipping out (so to speak) because it really is funny in a sense, knowing his fit won't solve anything.

Max, it will be your attitude toward them that will give them the confidence more than anything. A daughter very much wants to please her father, and if she senses that he thinks she can do anything, she will feel she can! That was my experience anyway.<br />
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My dad always made me feel like I should give it a try. He empowered me and for this I am very grateful. <br />
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Your daughters are lucky that you are their dad.

Hi Onceuponatime. It's not just women. I've run into a lot of men who won't try either!

I am the same way. I can't imagine how some women simply won't even try to figure something out. <br />
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The other day i was outside waxing my car, when a neighbor pulled in and said "what are you doing?" OK so she's blind (joke) I'm thinking DUHHH I do it every spring, followed by the motorcycles. She simply said "don't let my husband see you doing that, you make me look and feel useless already. <br />
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I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or bad thing. :-)

tosh (tsh)<br />
n. Chiefly British <br />
Foolish nonsense.<br />
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />
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[Probably blend of trash and bosh

NancyDrew--super sleuth! Super secret toolbox even! I love it! NancyDrew, holding her flashlight steadily, creeps into the kitchen, opens the super secret toolbox, withdraws the trusty philips head screwdriver and tightens the loose screw on the screen door handle.....

I even have a secret set of tools in a super secret toolbox hidden in my kitchen. :)<br />
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Tosh. Yes what does it mean? It is fun to say.

Tasmin, please define tosh. I like that one too! tosh, tosh, tosh.....<br />
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NancyDrew...I can just picture you sneaking around secretly repairing things! teehee

You're a wonder Datura.<br />
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My Dad is the same way. I learned a lot from him. My spouse trusts me to fix nothing so I do all my repairs in secret. :)

I love this story!<br />
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Nothing to watch on tv .. just a load of old tosh!

Hi b! <br />
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Not having the proper tools is always a fabulous excuse!<br />

well done all. yes, lady d. it is faff. <br />
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i don't fix things because i refuse to buy tools - or is it, i don't buy tools so that i don't fix things.<br />
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hehe<br />
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ps - i am not obsessive.

I must bin my tendency to faff around!

Faffing about -- what we do here on EP.

faff about/around phrasal verb<br />
to waste time doing unnecessary things: <br />
Stop faffing around!

And I shall use, "Just bin it!"<br />
Ex:<br />
That leftover codfish holds no promise for tonight's dinner; just bin it.

You see, Miss Tasmin! You do like to fix things! You like to fix comments. You enjoy first making us smile with a silly, sly off beat retort-- and then you relish fixing it into a wonderful and warm reply! You fix stories!<br />
Yes, please give us the correct spelling on faffing because I intend to use it regularly now. Faffing, faffing, faffing, faffing....just love the very sound of it!<br />
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I're think "Just bin it!".

Oh .. blast!<br />
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I was going to change my comment to something superb about the joys of spending hours fixing old treasures and now there are realms of comments relating to it ..<br />
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faffing is a real word here .. (not sure about the spelling though .. will go and check ) ..

Yes it is , Juan. It will be so sad if those two wonderful ex<x>pressions vanish from the comments as mysteriously seem to happen from time to time!

Hmmm...<br />
"Bin it" is a fine ex<x>pression as well.

Tasmin, I see you must be a lot like my beloved daughter! <br />
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I love the word "faffing"! Never heard it before. Did you make it up?

Oh for goodness sake just bin it!!<br />
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Life is too short to be faffing about mending stuff!

Now, Juan, my daughter belongs to your school of thought about the matter! She has many skills and talents, but cares nothing for the thrill of the great repair! She has no desire to take apart the pla<x>yer piano and discover the leak in the bellows! It simply never occurs to her that a hardware store is a treasure trove of products--water putty, copper tubing, solder, plaster of paris, kilz, gold leaf, upholstery tacks, seam tape.<br />
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I love her anyway.

I am just the opposite. I shy away from the fixing at the very first roadblock. I'm not sure what it is about the way my mind works, but my comprehension of how things function is very very weak. As is my drive to do something about it.

It is a great feeling, Greg! And I enjoy the challenge aspect of it very much.<br />
I've come to feel that part of my life's mission is to return things to functioning, working order!

I share your skill. Isn't it a challenge and a great feeling inside when someone presents you with an item about which they are heartbroken because it no longer works....but then to be able to restore it to working condition?

I feel the same way about my dad, Julo. And passing down what they taught us to our children honors them in a very real way and keeps their legacy alive.

Wow, I didn't think that EP would have fixer upper. My dad could fix anything and he had all the tools too. He was a furniture maker by profession but he also fixed the car, redone the house, electrical, fibreglass, cement, rubber mold, some farming etc. <br />
I now have most of his tools and rent tools from Home Depot if needed. <br />
At 6 I was the only one who could properly hold and retract the extention cord of the floor sander so it woul'nt get suck in the sander when he refinished the hard wood floor. <br />
I miss being able to ask him how to...? He knew so much. I was lucky to have him. <br />
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Now I've got to teach my 2 sons something practical. :> )

No thank goodness! At least now we know that they weren't actually one and the same person. (twilight zone music fades out)<br />
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My dad wasn't 'cultured' in that way, he would sing out loud though and with gusto "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!" and "Oh what a beautiful morning; Oh what a beautiful day!" And he was relentlessly playful. <br />
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Perhaps the thing I most smile over were all the times he would make me laugh when I was so angry that I was determined never to crack a smile again. It became a lifelong game he played, doing everything (making faces, poking, doing hide & seek) whatever it took to break me down and I tried SO hard to stay mad and not crack up but inevitably we would both end up laughing uncontrollably... <br />
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I bet that our dads would have liked each other.

Exactly! I was the only one who could hold the mirror right!<br />
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My dad did have an amazing sense of humor. And the neatest smile and twinkle in his eyes when he pulled one over on me.<br />
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Now, if you tell me that your dad wrote poetry or was interested in Edgar Cayce and Atlantis and many metaphysical subjects, I will really freak out.

ohmygoodness! yes--the TV test tube and holding the mirror. No one else in my family could do it right--they would get bored and be distracted, so I would do it and my father would get the TV working much more quickly that way. I can see how all of those little moments still live in me when I do things in my life now. Did your dad have an amazing sense of humor too?

Swan, I got a chill reading this. Not only am I also a "Finder" as I actually call it , but I also became compulsive about fixing things at one point in my life. I learned a lot about myself and my life through looking at that pattern in myself , too, and brought it into balance over time through much reflection and inner work.<br />
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I, too, helped hold the tape measure, hold the mirror while he repaired the old round TV sets with their glass tubes so he could see the screen, and followed him around the lumber yard. I played in the sawdust and collected the beads of solder from the soldering iron. And constantly learned things I wasn't even aware he was teaching me.<br />
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At his death, I even had a special moment such as yours.<br />
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Almost eerie? I think it has actually crossed over to just plain eerie, Swan.

This is almost eerie, Datura. Did your father perhaps lead a parallel life as my father too? Word for word I kept getting the feeling that I was reading my own life story here. I know the pride and well-being that such a legacy holds and I can really see in your life, the many ways in which this gift has touched so much, that your life now represents. He would be so proud!<br />
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I think its wonderful that you now use his tools! The legacy is tangible.<br />
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Not only did my father constantly fix things, he built (or built onto) every house we lived in. My childhood was spent making hills out of the sawdust beneath his huge table saw in the garage, holding a tape measure for him and following him around the yard or accompanying him to the hardware store. <br />
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I learned at his side that, with no training or experience, one can do anything if one wants to, the only thing required is to begin. One thing leads to another and presto! It happens. It was a very empowering thing for a child to learn. <br />
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I often think of how the internet would have exploded open so much more in the way of resources for him. But his world was so natural and simple, that even watching him operate the DVD machine he & my mom used, to watch their movies in their golden years, seemed a bit strange to me. <br />
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However, I've got to bring in the shadow side of this story, for myself. The ability to fix things actually became a bit obsessive for me. I'm not only good at fixing things but at finding lost things as well. I can find or fix anything. When my baby brother's swan lamp shattered into pieces (it was his nightlight) I was a teenager and I spent an entire week painstakingly glueing the whole thing back together. <br />
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On the rare occasions when I've been unable to find something or fix something, what would happen is that I would keep at it--even if the entire day was given over to it. One day I got horrified at this pattern and I actually sat down and looked at the interior symbology and what it said about my life. Now THAT was very interesting! <br />
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Obviously, your story triggered a lot here. Are we twins in a parallel universe? The good news is that I'm over it now. I no longer obsessively find or fix things! But when something needs to be done, made or located, and I'm up for it, the knack and the confidence my dad instilled by his example is always there. <br />
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One of my most precious moments occurred at my father's deathbed. I told him good bye and thanked him for all that he had been in my life. One of the things I got to say was how very much I appreciated the way I'd learned from him, that I could do anything I wanted, just by starting and wanting to--because he had always modeled that for me. He looked up at me out of his deep place of semi-consciousness and smiled, saying happily, "Well, I'll be damned!" I could tell it meant a lot to him.

Yes...I think I would love it!<br />
Are there photos?

I blame my stubborn German ancestors. I'm too stubborn or too dumb to know when to quit. One or the other.

I think that there are a few people whose innate abilities were allowed to grow and prosper under the auspices of an individual like your father. I am sure you were a great pleasure to him.<br />
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My philosophy about trying something new is:<br />
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If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. Don't make a damn fool of yourself.

It's my pride and joy, Peace. You would love it here!

" old farmhouse left in a state of disrepair from many years of neglect.."<br />
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NOW you are talkin my language!

Absolutely, it has it's place! Great for holding together a pair of worn soccer shoes, a ripped 3-ring binder, a cracked sink sprayer...on and on.<br />
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And I love the prom outfits that are fashioned out of duct tape too!<br />
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Hope my dad isn't looking down and listening. He had another motto. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right".

Thank you so much, D1!<br />
You could be an English teacher. Your command of the language is perfect.

Its a beautiful experience and equally beautifully shared. A very well worded piece. I feel like using this in an english class. Too bad i am not an english teacher.<br />
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Dats you must be a very good person to be with.

Thanks, Josie.<br />
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I don't know about the hearts. I never learned cardiac surgery! But I could try ; )

You really are an amazing Lady. Broken hearts too? '-)