Home-repair jobs turn Father's Day into family affair


June 19, 1993|By ROB KASPER

Since tomorrow is Father's Day, I'm sure a lot of folks are frantically trying to come up with home-repair type activities they can do with their Dads.

Well, worry no more. Here in convenient list form are six activities that will please the old man.

First is that ever-popular undertaking, Mapping Your Home's lTC Electric Circuits. This task doesn't merely allow every member of the family to participate, it requires it.

It works like this: The Dad, armed with a pencil and paper, takes up his position at the circuit breaker box, also called the service panel. It is the big, gray box, the house's electrical brain, that routes electricity to various rooms in the house.

The Dad flips a switch in the circuit breaker box, say switch No. 1, and waits to hear what effect his work has had on the household's electrical life. Kids, posted in various spots around the house, have been told to shout when the power goes out in their area. The kids report to the Mom, who, positioned midway between the shouters and the switch-thrower, relays information in each direction.

In practice it goes something like this.

Dad: Are the bedroom lights still on?

Mom: Are the lights on?

Kid : What lights?

Mom: The lights in the bedroom. Are they off?

Kid: You want me to turn the lights off?

Mom: You want him to turn the lights off?

Dad: Forget it. Move to the family room.

Mom: Move to the family room.

Kid: Hey! The TV isn't working.

Mom: The TV isn't working.

Dad, pulling switches: Is it working now?

Mom: Is the TV working now?

Kid: No response.

Mom, louder: Is the TV working now?

Kid: Leave me alone, I'm watching TV.

This is often a good place in the map-making process to stop working as a family. After a start like this, the Dad usually completes the map of the electric circuits on a night when he is home alone.

Another Father's Day ritual families could try is the Returning of the Wayward Tools. The measuring tape that wandered up to the sewing room. The hammer that lost its way in a backyard clubhouse. The needle-nose pliers that went astray somewhere in the kitchen.

Return a lost tool to a Dad on Father's Day and he will treat it like it was the prodigal son. Some families have even stuck "lost" tools in wrapping paper and give them as Father's Day presents. It works. Taking the Anti-Tool-Abuse Pledge, as a family, is another way to please Dad.

The wording varies from household to household but the gist of the pledge goes something like this: "On my honor, I promise not to use the good screwdrivers to chip ice, pry open paint cans or stir paint. I will not 'saw' cardboard with the saw. I will clean the paint brushes. And whenever I borrow one of Dad's tools, I will always put it back. So help me God."

Families who are pressed for time, or aren't much for ritual, can cut the whole Father's Day shindig short. Just give him a flashlight of his very own, one that works, and he will be overcome with gratitude.

Families searching for the really big gift for Dad, the stunner, should promise him they will clean the interior of the car, including vacuuming underneath the back seat. He will be speechless, perhaps with disbelief. But eventually he will be thankful.

Finally a word about a traditional Father's Day gift, socks. There is a lot to be said for them. But keep them simple. Black dress socks and white sweat socks. No patterns or doodads. Simple socks blend right in with most existing sock supplies and don't force a Dad to go through the mind-numbing work of matching sock patterns in the early morning.

Moreover, once their time as apparel is over, socks make good tools.

Black socks polish shoes and old sweat socks make ideal car-washing rags. And any Dad whose family presents him with polished shoes and a shiny car on Father's Day feels like he has done something right.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.