My dad fixed things, usually using whatever he could find lying around. He kept a lot of miscellaneous stuff that seemed worn out or useless, but as it turns out, he was a pretty good judge of what he would actually use someday. (After Mom and I sorted through some things in the barn and got rid of old floor mats we couldn’t imagine being useful for anything, she realized they would have been the perfect fix for something she needed.)
He did a lot of fixing in his head before actually fixing the problem. Not that he mulled it over for long, but he was a good imagineer and problem-solver. He could work through the fix and be prepared before taking the first step.
Of course, sometimes what he imagined didn’t work. He just got more determined to find another option. I think he probably mentally said the words, “What if I…?” hundreds of thousands of times in his lifetime.
Sometimes what he fixed wasn’t ever broken, but it was still a problem to be solved in order to keep something from breaking. Like the china cabinet when my husband and I moved across town with our young girls. He couldn’t do a lot of lifting during the move, which was okay. I needed his mind to problem solve and direct moving on one end, while I directed on the other end of the move. And he knew how important the china cabinet was to me. It’s an old piece passed down through my mom’s family.
All I did was unpack it. I trusted him to take care of the rest.
When it got to the new house, I laughed. He certainly figured out a way to pack it well. It had pillows on the inside of the glass panes to cushion any slight jiggles and jolts. It had cardboard wrapped around the outside of the glass to prevent anything from bumping into it and cracking it. And it was wrapped in a blanket, so the wood wouldn’t get scratched.
Dad’s fix worked. The china cabinet safely arrived and was used in that house for 20 years, until we moved to our current house several months ago.
I missed my dad the day of the move. While I’m not nearly as handy as he was, I got a bit of his “how best to do things” mindset. He would have (mostly) approved of my packing and moving approach.
Although the contents of the china cabinet were some of the first boxes I packed, I put off preparing the china cabinet for the move. I knew I’d try to secure it the same way my dad had, but I wasn’t quite ready to see it the same way I had seen it 20 years earlier because of his handiwork. But I finally did it. I stood back and looked at it all wrapped up in pillows, cardboard, and duct tape, and I smiled. He would have been proud.
It was one of the first things to go into the moving truck and one of the last things to come into the new house. My son-in-law knew how important it was to me, and he made sure it came in carefully and was placed right where I wanted it. I unwrapped it, and my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law placed dishes in it.
I’m still a little surprised it has survived multiple moves in its long life. I’m glad my mom passed it down to me and that my dad passed down his ideas for packing and fixing things well.
It’s an important life skill to have, especially with all the jiggles and jolts of moving through life.