Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12 - Something You Never Get Compliments On

My ingenuity or ability to think outside of the box to make something work.  That's what I think is under appreciated.  I believe, had I the ability to go back in time, I would have urged myself to go into engineering.

I'll be honest, this might just be a typical man thing.  We make/build/repair something...even if we were the ones who accidentally broke it...and then want someone to witness the miricle that is our genius!

At work, the typical person in my position is very, shall we say, hands off on the nitty gritty.  I'll actually bring in a ladder every few months with the HVAC filters and replace them at the stores.  Why?  Because while I'm doing a menial task, the contractors don't really think about the fact that I'm observing their customer interaction.  The intimidation factor of me sitting in their lobby during a transaction changes their behavior.  Playing the handyman role is far less intrusive and their guard is down.  I have the opportunity to see a (semi) realty at their store.

Some posters I'd ordered came in today.  They were not what I thought I was ordering form our supplier.  These things don't go into frames, they are wing-stand banners.  I'm talking two feet wide by six feet tall vinyl flags that go on what I can only describe as "old school projector screen" style stands.  Well, let's figure out how to make this work.  After going nuts sorting through Grainger's online catalog searching for "DOW ROD" and coming up with 11,411 search results (none of which resembling a stick) I headed down the road to Lowe's. 

Holy crap!  Wooden dow rods are expensive!  I thought I could pick up twenty for under $10.  We're talking $1.50-$6 each!  I found some PVC piping for electrical work.  They were five feet long, so I could cut them in half and get two out of each one.  They were only 75 cents each.  Thank you very much.  I walked back into the store I office out of with my purchases, and the counter agent starts laughing at me.  (He's seen me break a thing or two over the years)  His ineptness around all things to do with using his hands made him skeptical.  I'll have you know...after a brief demonstration how a pipe cutter works...my creation looked amazing hanging from the wall!  OK, so aside from the rod and finding the cheapest way to hang it (which was the trickiest part), this wasn't a complicated task, but it's still above and beyond what my peers would have done!

By the way, if you've never seen a pipe cutter before, seriously, this thing looks like a Medieval torture device.  Oh look!  Here's one now!

See those teeth looking things in the center?  Those ratchet with every click as the blade slowly and steadily slices cleanly through what ever has been stuck through the "eye" or "mouth" of the device.

I pointed out that this is not the sound you want to wake up to after a fight with your wife...especially if cheating is involved!  He said he'd have a shrinky dink with the first click!  Well there you have it folks that's three in a week.  Definitely a record for me!

Back to the topic at hand.  I'm not a master gageteer or junk recycler like mine or my wife's grandfather.  They seriously, never throw anything out because it could come in handy someday.  And they seldom use things for their intended purpose.  For example, my wife's Papaw wouldn't buy a humidifier.  Instead he took an old crockpot, filled it with water and put it in a corner of the room.  Works the same I guess.  He even made a indicator out of a painted perscription bottle cap so he knew when to refill it.  Honestly, I have dozens of examples of his hill billy engineering, but really he deserves a blog post or twenty all on his own.

I've re-purposed the end caps of a long gone futon (supposed to hold magazines) into spice racks that we still use to this day.  I even reworked the closets at our old apartment in ways that sadden me that no one will ever notice...inspired perfection I tell ya!

Ah well.  So no one comes running to compliment me on my works.  At least I know what I'm capable of.  Sadly, they are rarely worth a picture, but to me many of my creations are works of art!

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