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Dad Magic

The Chevelle, in its natural habitat.

It’s June. This means all kinds of stuff is in store, like the last day of school, the first day of summer and, of course, Father’s Day.

I got to thinking about Dad stuff the other day, as I was driving with my oldest. He said, “Hey Mom, look at that cool car!” I said, “Yep, looks like a Chevelle. That’s a nice one.” Quizzical amazement passed across his face as he asked how I knew so much about different types of cars. Apparently, my ability to identify something he hadn’t seen before makes me an expert. I told him, “I don’t know, I guess I just remember listening to my dad talk about them. He’d always point it out when he saw one.” That little conversation left me thinking about all the miscellaneous stuff I picked up from my Dad, over time; everything from my specific ideas on how lawn care should be performed to the fact that the phrase, “this is why we can’t have nice things” was totally invented by my father.

Now, as it relates to the holiday, becoming a father is really not that difficult, speaking from the perspective of a person who actually grew children and brought them into this world. However, the stuff dads do from that point on is kind of incredible. I mean, before we had kids, my husband would look at a leaky faucet with a mixture of confusion and panic. As soon as the first child was born, he could suddenly change out shower heads and tile the kitchen. After the second kid, he was a pro at vinyl siding and rebuilding lawn tractor engines. How does this happen?

There is some kind of crazy Dad Magic that goes on and, whether you own or rent your home, having that Dad Magic at your disposal is a complete necessity when things inevitably need fixin’.

Don’t get me wrong, most of these opportunities are things I could probably take care of on my own. I’m not saying Moms can’t, I’m just appreciating that Dads can. I am not interested in cleaning out the gutters, rebuilding the fence, sharpening lawn mower blades, fixing leaky pipes, changing HVAC filters, cleaning the chimney or installing new light fixtures. I’m just not… and these are little things. If I was in charge of some of the projects my husband has undertaken, I would’ve just sent the house keys back to the bank and moved into my car.

Once upon a time, my husband would announce a household problem that he intended to fix and I would smile, wait until he went outside, and call my Dad. It seemed like my Dad knew everything about anything. I would describe the problem and listen as he talked through some troubleshooting and what he’d probably do to get things back on track. Then, I’d go out and casually supervise my husband, trying to drop inconspicuous hints about how he was doing things wrong, based on what Dad had said.

We’ve come a long way since then.

I’ve got to be honest, buying a house can be trying. You need every bit of paperwork ever created and then, a week before closing, you need it all again. You buy lunch one day because you forgot to bring yours and you break into cold sweats, worrying that you may have just skewed your DTI. You look at every house in the tri-state area, trying to find The One. Once you find it, you learn that your offer is one of 37 other hopefuls that was not accepted by the seller and you have to start the search over. You have dreams of the buyer who got “your house” waving wads of cash and shouting, “One dollar, Bob!”

It’s a tough market right now, to be sure, but the toughest part of owning a home, for me, is not being able to call my Dad. I remember pretending like I totally knew what I was doing when he reminded me to get a new wax ring for the toilet I was trying to install. I could hear him roll his eyes, as he told me to let him know how it worked out, when I explained that I was going to use rock salt to kill weeds around the house, instead of Round Up. He once diagnosed my lawn mower over the phone and asked me what I’d hit, when I told him it was “kinda shaky.” He just knew stuff. You know, Dad Magic.

With years of experience now under his belt, my husband (sometimes with the assistance of his BFF, YouTube) can do amazing things and has kept our home running time and time again. I am so thankful when the kids help or even even just listen to the planning for, or recounting of, an Adventure in Homeownership. They’ll need these little experience nuggets down the road and, just as I did, I fully expect they’ll call their Dad to troubleshoot. Following in the footsteps of the fathers before him, he’ll walk them through things using that Dad Magic, laced with a little pride.

Happy Father’s Day to all those celebrating!

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