Monday, January 21, 2008

Power Tools and Holy Cars

This week we had that powerful father/son bonding experience called the Pinewood Derby. We got his "car" in a box. Inside this magical box was block of wood, 4 little nails, and 4 plastic wheels. I tried to convince Ethan (my 8 year old) that you just attached the wheels to the wood, and that was the end of the "project." He didn't quite believe me. You see I'm not a tool guy. (which I guess could make you question the "guy" part completely) I like power tools, but I have zero skills at doing anything besides using only the most rudimentary screwdriver. This must be common knowledge because a few weeks ago a good friend from church (heretofore known has Murphy Racing) approached me and asked if he could help with Ethan's car. I couldn't believe my luck. Not only did he want to help, but he was incredibly good at it and knew exactly what to do. Over a few sessions in his basement we had a WONDERFUL little car - with spinning wheels and everything.

My only significant to-do was to make sure the weight was right. I did use a scale here and there and it seemed we were pretty close to the 5 ounces we were gunning for. But the night before the race we took it to the grocery store only to discover that we were .5 ounces too heavy. In pinewood derby terms - that's a TON. So the next day I drilled out a bit of wood in the bottom to drop some weight. You'll recall my skill with power tools, well in drilling one of these holes I got too powerful and punched a hole clear through the car. Ugh. Ethan was aghast. After all that work he now had a car with a 3/4 inch hole in the middle of it! I had no idea how to fix it (I know that comes as a shocker), until Traci said we should just plop a sticker over it and call it good - brilliant! Ethan stopped being aghast.

So I went to the grocery store to weight it again . . . 5.4! Ugh. I had taken my huge drill with me so I went out in front of the store and started my skillful drilling again. And again, I punched a hole clear through the car. But this time the bit grabbed the "cover sticker" and turned it into a useless sticker wad (good name for a rock band). I'll spare you the rest, but it took me 8 weighings and 7 drill sessions in 10 degree weather to get the car to the right weight. When I was done the bottom of Ethan's car looked like monstrous alien termites (another good band name) had munched it. Thank goodness we had a bunch of stickers at home.

The most glorious moment of the derby for me was the weigh-in. It came in at 4.98 ounces. I could've gone home feeling great without racing the car once! But they did let the kids race and they all had a blast (click here to read Traci's post and see photos). Ethan got second place in a close match with Trent, whose car had also been worked on by Murphy Racing. They all had a ball, but my memory of it will probably be limited to the image of me walking (frozen and irritated) in and out of the grocery store, covered with wood shavings and holding a huge power drill in my hand . . . over and over and over.

Was it worth it? Like crazy it was!


Anonymous said...

What an awesome, dedicated dad! You guys did great!

alese said...

What a great dad! I loved the story.

Anonymous said...

daddy that was werid when we made a hole thourgh the that was funny.


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