Sunday, September 6, 2015

DIY Bookcases 2: It Takes a Village

There are two downfalls to doing a home project on yourself. The first is making sure that the materials fit into your car. The second is carrying said supplies to your home.

When I first went to IKEA I stacked 6 74" shelves onto a wobbly trolley. In a comedy of errors, I somehow managed to get these stuffed into my car. But even with the back seats laid flat and the shelves shove to the rear view mirror, this occurred BARELY.When I got home I sighed in resignation as I had to lug these up the stairs to my little corner nook. Then the villagers arrived.

The villagers in question are the two coolest kids in the world: Reese and Walker. These brothers are 11 and 8 respectively, very chatty and friendly, and the most thoughtful kids around. They always have a ballgame going on in the courtyard, help the neighbors with pruning and weeding, and pause the ballgame (played with a woofle ball) whenever a neighbor leaves their home, for fear of hitting them. See? Thoughtful.

I had carried the first two shelves in when Reese came down to help his dad unload the car. He looked at me balancing two more shelves on my shoulder and ran over to grab an end. Walker followed not long after and decided to get the middle of the shelves rather than help his dad. Sorry, but seeing our little Marine unit carrying shelves is kind of funny. Never mind that I ended up returning them and replacing them with bookshelves a week later, the help was still awesome.

Walker then begged to help me put them together. "I want to learn things. I want to do things," he said. So I put off assembling the bookcases until he had a free day. I went to Starbucks that morning and got myself a latte and him a hot cocoa. I had just assembled the first bookcase when he came in. I laid out all the tools, the materials, and the instructions and we went step-by-step together. He learned the difference between a flat-head and Phillip's screwdriver, how to paint, how to hammer (I started the nails off and he finished them off), and how to read directions. He also learned how to fix mistakes, like when you hit a nail crooked.

His favorite tasks were hammering nails in, which after about six nails he would rush into the kitchen for a cocoa break. Throughout he was willing to listen, learn, and apply what he learned. Great kid!

Most of all he learned how to break down a project into steps. I learned this when I first moved out as the only time I worked on projects was with my dad. Yeesh! Scary times. After the first five minutes of excitement he would follow-up with a bout of angry cursing, beating parts into submission, and eventual throwing of anything handy. Ironic, as those items are rendered un-handy when you throw them. I wanted Walker to have a different experience. Instead when Walker looked panicked at a crooked nail I just replied, "If this was going to be perfect it would have been made by God, not us." He got to learn in a relaxed environment and at the end he got to see the results of a job well done!

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