“You like my bike?” Miss4 asked our guests last night. They smiled and nodded appropriately. “Daddy took it to a shop so the man could clean it.”
The trouble with hiring people to do stuff around my house is the kids just naturally assume I can’t do anything – which is
mostly in some respects wrong. We have a guy who mows the lawn. And we have a guy who built the balcony and another guy who put in the retaining walls and fixed the gates.
But aside from that it is all me.
Oh, and my mate, Rob, who tends to fix all the stuff I stuff up.
“It wasn’t for a clean,” I stammered under the sudden inquisitive gaze of our guests. Even I know I can clean a bike if I get the urge. “It was to get the trainer wheels put on.” I quickly realised this didn’t sound a whole lot better, so I explained to them, “We needed to buy new trainer wheels because we didn’t have a set.”
“Because after I took them off, Daddy threw them out,” said Miss4, annoyingly.
This is not the first time she’s attempted to undermine my skill set, such as it is. Only a couple of weeks ago she was ‘helping’ me by sitting on her bed and throwing out some words of encouragement.
“Do you know what you’re doing, Daddy?”, she asked, while I put up some floating shelves in her room.
For some reason I felt a bit put out by this. I’m a grown man using tools. Tools are what brought our ancestors out of the caves. Of course I knew what I was doing.
I told her as much.
“Of course I know what I’m doing,” I said, ignoring the fact one of the shelves was tilted in such a way marbles, pencils and water would run towards the wall.
“You sure?” she asked, giving me pause to wonder if she wasn’t some sort of savant.
I’d have loved to have sounded confident, but I figured she needed to be distracted so I could figure out what I was doing wrong. At this point my best guess was that the house was on a 15 degree lean.
“Where’s Mummy?” I asked her.
“Right here,” said Tracey from the doorway. She had a cup of tea and her phone with her. “Let me know if I need to call Rob,” she said, sitting down beside Miss4.
For the record, I managed to manhandle those shelves into very near levelness. At least as near levelness as the shelves of Sylvania houses require.
But all this pales compared to the embarrassment of being called out in front of your friends by your four year old daughter because you can’t take training wheels off a kiddy bike.
“What do you mean you took them off?” I asked her. I know how to take trainer wheels off. I’ve had seven kids. It’s almost a right of passage for fathers of large families.
“Actually, she did,” confirmed my unsupportive wife. “She got the shits with them because they were loose and you couldn’t tighten them.”
“Of course I could tighten them.”
“Okay,” said Tracey. “You wouldn’t tighten them then.”
That sounded more likely. Unfortunately.
“Daddy couldn’t put the wheels on my bike-” said Miss4.
“-because we didn’t have a set-“, I interjected.
“‘-so he took my bike to the shop and the man cleaned it.”
“He did that of his own accord,” I assured our guests, knowing full well how pathetic I sounded. I mean, I know how to clean a bike.
“Is it the same way you clean the car?” asked Tracey. If I’d thought about it I might have seen a trap. I didn’t.
“You mean with a bucket of soapy water?” I scoffed, thinking I’d just made some sort of point.
“No,” she said. “I mean leaving it out in the rain.”
Some days I feel like the whole world is against me. Other days I realise it’s just my wife and her bloody spawnlings.
For the record, I wouldn’t have it another way.
I know I’m shit at this stuff and tools suck, including soap. I’m just glad I know guys who are prepared to come and fix it while the kids are at school.
Psst Kathy, tell Rob to expect a call this week. Tell him to bring his level.
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Raising a family on little more than laughs.