“Oh, I don’t know, whatever you pick out will be great,” my wife Kara said to her mom on the phone, as I waited for her to notice what I’d just done.
“What about you guys? You’re always so hard to shop for,” she said, my shame deepening with each passing moment, my failure nakedly on display but not yet noticed.
Kara finally looked at me and sensed something wasn’t right.
“What?” she asked with her eyes.
“I’ll fix it,” I mouthed. “And I’m sorry.”
Her eyes darted to the home worsening project I’d recently embarked upon. The original idea had been for the project to be of the home improvement variety, but things took a turn south once I started operating power tools.
“Oh, no,” she said.
Our silverware drawer sat on top of the kitchen counter, empty, the mighty wind of my humiliation whistling through the single hole drilled right through the front of it.
I’d been installing Tot-locks on our kitchen cabinets and drawers to make cooking as annoying as possible. That way, we’d have to eat more pizza to survive. The secondary benefit would be that our child would have to find a hobby other than dumping the contents of our kitchen cabinets all over the floor.
To our son Evan, the kitchen had become a giant Advent calendar, with every door hiding a wonderful surprise, a surprise that must be removed, spindled and mutilated as quickly as possible. He’d spent the bulk of the previous day standing next to our open kitchen drawer, gleefully tossing our most prized food preparation documents (takeout menus) into the air.
So I had started working my way around the kitchen, installing locks that would make even the most stubborn adult stop and ask himself, “How badly do I really need a spoon right now?” In our house, yogurt had just become finger food.
The Tot-locks open with a magnetic key that lives on the fridge, so when you’re installing the locking mechanism, you have to drill deep enough into the back of the cabinet or drawer so that only the thinnest sheet of wood would separate the lock from the key. This type of precision should not be expected from a person who finds a toilet to be an impossibly small target.
When the drill bit came roaring through the front of the drawer, right next to the handle, my shame was intensified not only because Kara was talking with her mom, instantly giving my failure a wider audience than I would have preferred, but also because I’d been using the fattest drill bit I could find, the kind you’d expect to see mounted on the front of a vehicle bound for the center of the Earth.
Hopefully, Evan won’t be afflicted with the same sort of mechanical ineptitude that plagues his old man. He’s already showing some promise at accomplishing tasks normally left to adults.
“Babe, why is our cable bill twenty bucks higher this month?” Kara asked recently.
“I have no idea,” I said, then we both looked at Evan, who was holding the cable remote up to his ear like it was a phone. He held out his phone and started dialing it by mashing random buttons.
“Mweh?” he asked when he held the remote back up to his ear.
As it turned out, it’s possible to order a Platinum Package from our cable provider simply by pressing a single button on the remote over and over. In a remarkable coincidence, that button happened to be the largest one on the remote. I wonder how many people have subscribed to HBO using nothing but their butts. Probably less than the number of people who can pinch a fork out of their kitchen drawer without opening it.
You can hide your power tools from Mike Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.