Sunday, May 27, 2012

Developing the Future Buddy Skills

Since the day my son came home at 15 1/2 telling me he needing to get his temps (as in learning permit to drive a car) ASAP, I knew this day was coming. Yesterday, Handsome Son graduated from high school. And since I did understand he will someday have to operate in the real world as a responsible adult, I knew I had to get off the mark and give him the skills he would need to be that man I want him to be.
I have been referring to his teenage years as his being an adult-in-training and the skills he needs as his "future buddy skills". It's the way men bond, as in, "Hey, buddy! I've got a pizza coming; come over and give me a hand on my deck." Translation: "Hey, I don't have a clue how to build my deck, but I know you might and I'll bribe you with pizza if you give me a hand!" This unknown friend with pizza, I refer to as his future buddy. So he has been learning to use a circular saw, a drill, jigsaw, build a garden gate, a deck, fasten wood deck boards to concrete, what a three-way switch is and how it works, how to prune, plumb a sink drain, install curtain rods, and troubleshoot appliances. You get the idea. One of our more interesting projects was this cotton duck canvas tarp/tent rain and shade screen for the side yard we used for his graduation party. I priced tents from rental places and found the price for a day and a half for the basic size of 20' x 20' to be $180. Wow. And then it hit me with my intensively gardened yard, I don't have a 20' x 20' space. So, it came to me that with my fence set 14' from my house, I could literally run a tarp from fascia to fence. I began pricing cotton duck tarps. For $100, I could get a 14' x 16' tarp (plus $40 shipping) and fasten it with eye hooks and bungee cords and once the hooks are initially installed, I could put up and take down the tarp in minutes and have a great space for outdoor entertaining. So with this latest evolution of my garden space, the landscaping in this area will no doubt evolve to make better use of the space. But a decidedly clever application of tenting, and something my son can add to his future buddy skill set.


  1. I applaud your efforts and am sure your son will greatly benefit in the future. I could have used some of that training myself. I can do any gardening task and build bookshelves, but not much more. Sadly, I had a disadvantaged background - I come from a long line of impractical men. As an act of will I was able to aquire more practical skills than my own dad possessed, but that's not saying much. Best wishes to your new graduate!

  2. His dad would call me at work to come and change his flat tires, when we were younger and often broke. His Senior year in high school I also suggested he take the 2-cycle engine class rather than a study hall. Handsome son has rebuilt a couple lawn mowers and my tiller once already. This fall at college he is opting for a set building course to fulfill his Fine Arts breadth rather than an art or music survey. Maybe he'll end up a Philistine, but at least a handy one!

  3. Nobody I know who loves musical learned to love it in a music class. Just because he's handy doesn't mean he'll be a Philistine.