We were all busy Monday cleaning house. Chris scrubbed down the bathrooms. Yordi swept while I cleaned out the garage. And Habtamu helped by hand inspecting everything I had thoughtlessly thrown in the garbage, carefully analyzing its intended function and whether it really belonged in the trash in the first place, deciding that pretty much everything was indeed salvageable, and then showing me what an uncreative and wasteful American I truly am.
H does have a fascination with junk, but Chris and I are of the "saving things you don't need doesn't save you money" mentality. To me garbage picking is a really annoying habit, but I know many folks who would love to have another pair of eyes helping them spot out forsaken treasures. So I try to temper his urges without snuffing out his natural MacGyver tendancies. The reality is that I can sometimes get out a "look don't touch!" before he starts digging. He hasn't learned any hard lessons about broken glass around garbage cans yet, but he did get his hand on the lid of a grease dumpster once before I could stop him. He looked back at me wondering what the big deal was and then he inhaled. But anyway, in this case, I couldn't really deny him the pleasure of sifting through our garage junk. As long as none of it ended up back in the garage, I didn't really care.
Well, I didn't think I cared. I think the first things he spotted were the 4 speakers I had replaced out of Chris's car. Three of them were blown, but really, they were shiny and magnetic and looked fine... who could resist? He asked if he could keep them in his room. I thought twice about it and came up with "No" both times. Turns out that was a good call because he had just as much fun smashing them with a hammer on the concrete steps. Then he found an extension cord which I told him specifically not to touch because it had been severed. Not knowing what 'severed' meant, but understanding 'no touch' just fine, he dove for the small water pump next to it, which we pulled out the fountain last year. Again, like the speakers, this could be a really cool science project if daddy wasn't so busy cleaning the flippin' garage. He walked off happy with his new treasure and I could see his gears churning trying to figure out exactly what it was supposed to do versus what he was actually going to do with it.
If you've ever been a parent, you know that when your kids go quiet you need to be on your guard. Well, my kids stayed noisey and even invited me over to see what they had been up to. Like I'm going to give any attention to that behavior, right? Stinkers. Besides, I had a garage to clean and was trying to stay on task. When I finally went in the backyard to see what was going on, my son beamed up at me as he had completely disassembled the pump with a screwdriver and was fingering the gears on the inside. That was fine. Well... it was fine until I realized that the back step was now covered in oil AND there were oily hand prints on the gate door AND oily footprints all over the deck to match. (Anybody out there know how to get oil stains out of wood? Anyone?) But the kicker was that he had gone back and plugged it in with the frayed extension cord. Only by the grace of God did we not have another 110 volt lesson that day. He was so proud and had worked so hard to get all the screws out, and now I had to go put on my game face and scold him for garbage picking and USING the forbidden extension cord and leaving permanent footprints on the deck. I showed him the tear in the cord and he promptly junked it, but he really didn't understand what was so serious about the "water" on the deck.
I couldn't explain it. I didn't really understand what a permanent stain meant until I became a homeowner. How could I expect a 10 year old to get it? And really, I still only really grasp it under specific contexts. I get really irritated when I notice new places on my car where the paint has chipped off, but could not care less about bent silverware, or whatever minutia weirds out my wife at the moment.
On a lighter note, H did later use his powers for good. I'd love to take credit for his stage presence and charisma, but at this point he hadn't seen me perform outside the dining room.
So I present to you... in his debut, and extremely exclusive, performance... H-Bomb G!
And the crowd goes wild! Note that he is singing into a hose handle, and has the LeapFrog radio propped on top of the raccoon cage which is connected to a spiral hose and a speaker cover. As far as I know, the partial balloon animal is completely decorative.
ABC to your MUTHA!