The first Saturday of every month Home Depot offers a free "Kids How-To Workshop". Home Depot provides hammers, nails, official Home Depot aprons (the kids get to keep them) glue and a kit for the kids to build. Their slogan is "Build. Learn. Create." I have taken Maxfield and Wyatt to these workshops (and the ones at Lowes) in the past and we usually have a good time. We have built bird houses, trucks, pirate ships and other wooden type stuff.
We have not attended a how-to clinic in quite a while and Lauren suggested that I take the kids this past Saturday, which I did. The workshop, which has seating for 16-20, people was quite busy on Saturday. When we arrived there was already a 10 minute wait for available space at the work table and a line, of about 8 other kids, formed behind Max and Wyatt.
The build-it-yourself kit this week was a bean bag game thing. The kit came with 5 pieces of wood, 2 bean bags, 10 short nails and 4 long nails. The instructions did not look too complicated. The way I usually handle these workshop kit things is that I get Max started on his project and then I build Wyatt's to a couple of steps past Max's so if questions come up I can be ready to answer them. I got Max started on the first nail and I began to build Wyatt's.
Max was ready for step two and asked me for help. Since I was already on step three, I set up Max's nails for his step two and I continued tinkering with Wyatt's. I tinkered and tinkered. I could not get step three to work right. I looked at the instructions over and over and the pieces of wood for step three would not fit. I looked at all the other parents and their kids and they all were doing fine. I tried to get a closer look at the project of the little girl sitting closest to us but I felt like I was cheating on a test. I think she even tried to shield her assembly with her elbow and forearm and she gave me the evil eye. I started to break a sweat.
Max was done his step two and asked me to help him with step three. It was right then I realized that I put step two together the wrong way. I confused the "right leg" with the "left leg"and although they were identical pieces of wood, it totally made a difference in the assembly. I took the claw of the hammer and I removed the long nails from the "right leg" as well as a chunk of flesh from my thumb. I started to bleed. Not just a little bit, but alot. It was one of those cuts that looks worse than it is because it would not stop trickling blood.
I quickly hammered Wyatt's pieces back together and I explained to Max that his step two was wrong and that I needed to pull it apart so he could do it the right way. He got mad and asked that I not bleed on his bean bag game. I clawed Max's pieces and hammered them back. I got wood glue all over my hands in the process. We all moved to step three together, which again, I could not figure out.
I looked at the instructions and then at the wood pieces in front of me. The instructions, the wood pieces. The instructions, the wood pieces. I shook my head and sighed. I put step two together wrong again. I put the pieces right back the way I had them. I took them all apart, again, while Max and Wyatt protested. I added more glue and I hammered the pieces together. I bent one of the long nails in Wyatt's game and I dropped two nails on the floor, they rolled out of reach under the table. I was very frustrated. People who were behind us in line at the start of the workshop were finished their projects and were heading out the door.
I studied the instructions again as I sucked on the cut on my thumb to prevent the blood from dripping on the table. I got a mouthful of wood glue. I started to work on step three when I could feel my face get flush and my ears burn, I could feel anger rising from my chest.
"Son of a...." I swallowed the last word. "I can't believe it."
I put the pieces back together the exact same way I did the first few times. Wrong.
I could not believe I made the same mistake, not once, not twice, not three, but four fa-ricking times.
I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I have gutted rooms, dry-walled cielings, re-done kitchens and bathrooms, I even have put together many pieces of Ikea furniture and never had this many problems. What the hell was wrong with me and this simple little game? I was beside myself. Flustered.
Then it hit me. I was holding back due to the room full of children. My mental block, my problem with this do-it-yourself clinic was the fact that I was unable to curse when I messed up.
My DIY motto has always been "Build. Curse. Learn."