Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Father’s Day : Presents to make BOTH of you happy

I Love DadWith Father’s day just a scant few weeks away I thought I would take a moment to help the ladies.

You know how things go…you have a nice house and try to keep on top of things.  But the gutters need cleaning, and the bookshelf that your husband was really interested in making (instead of buying) is still missing two years later.

You’ve tried hinting, making a start on the project in the hopes he will follow suit, and even the occasional late night pillow lecture, but with no luck.  What can you do?

Simple…It’s all about the tools.

Men are seemingly pre-programmed to want to use tools.  It’s in their blood.  Give a man a sharp stick and he’s going to find something to poke with it (there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m not touching it) and so it is with quality tools.

Sirens CallTry it.  Fire up a chain-saw in the back yard and watch in amazement as men are drawn to the sound from miles around.  Like a siren call they just can’t ignore it.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage, and Father’s day is the perfect time to appear loving and move those projects along at the same time.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Need those gutters cleaned?  A pressure-washer with a big red ribbon on it is all you need.  He’ll be just looking for an excuse to show how powerful that sucker is.  All you need to do is periodically Oooh and Aaahh at the impressive results, and maybe just wonder if it could do a nice job on the dirty patio too.
  • Need that book shelf finished?  A nice router or table saw will make light work of whatever piece he’s been stuck on for a while.
  • Do you have a loving geek?  Ask him to set up an on-line to-do list.  He will happily spend hours taking care of tasks on there just so that they can tick the box and have it send you an email of completion…at least for a while.

But before you rush out there are some basic rules about buying tools that you will want to follow:

  1. Buy tools that HE wants.  You’re going to have to think carefully here.  If he really wants a table-saw and you buy him a cordless drill then you could be sending the wrong message.  Some simple probing, or even outright calling his friends (yes…guys actually don’t mind people asking what they want) will save a lot of angst later.
  2. Don’t buy cheap tools.  If he doesn’t think it’s cool, and can’t show off to his friends, then he’s unlikely to use it.  Better to find out what he thinks is cool, or even let him buy it himself, even if it costs a bit more. Remember, if you “let” them buy an expensive tool then you can always get a few more chores done later by pointing out that they spent all that money and now don’t use it.
  3. Know his limits.  If your husband has no idea about engines then you might not want to buy him a 2-cycle machine that requires careful pre-mixing of liquids flammable.  There are usually electric / rechargeable options available these days that don’t need an engineering degree to use.  If he’s a gear head – get him the most powerful machine you can!

Pick the right power tool this year and you can show you love him enough to understand his real wants and get those honey-do tasks done all at the same time.  And what could be better than that this Father’s day?

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Filed under Life - or something like it, The Human Condition

Pass The Salt (Lake City)

This year’s summer vacation started with a trip to Salt Lake City, where we met my Brother and Sister-in-law who came in from London.

As if to prove some of my earlier posts wrong, the flight was mercifully uneventful, and the kids were very, very well-behaved – although the noise-cancelling headphones might have had something to do with that.  What a thoughtful gift to give a man with three young children.

I can’t verify that Joanne was on her best behavior as we were in different rows, but the one time I did seek her out, I found her playing Uno and flirting with a young Stud Muffin Mormon Missionary.  Perhaps this is the Big Love that we all hear about making its presence felt.

We met up with our kin outside the hotel and were immediately introduced to one of the dominant features of Salt Lake City – Vagrants that would appear every time my sister-in-law tried to light a cigarette.  They were always polite, but I swear they were all ex-magicians, because they would materialize, blag a cigarette, and vanish in a haze of fresh smoke.  Pioneer Park seems to be a Mecca for these poor people.

We were only to spend one full day in Salt Lake City, so we set off early the next morning and made for Temple Square, which all of the guide books listed as a “must see”.  The walk there took us through what has to be the cleanest and, at the same time, most barren city I have ever been in.  There were almost no people around (unless you counted the homeless) and one had the odd feeling of being one of the last people on Earth.

After a short stop to let the kids play in a fountain to cool off (it was already starting to get warm), the sight of the temple peeked into view above some buildings.

We entered the gates and were instantly greeted (accosted might be a better word) by two pretty young women asking if we would like a tour.  Since we were right next to the visitors’ center, we opted to try that first. Once inside, we were greeted by two more young ladies, asking if we needed to be shown around. This was to be a recurring theme  – pairs of young women all eager (a little too eager actually) to provide information and show you around.

At first, it seemed very nice and friendly.  They would ask your name, the names of your children, where you were from etc. and then start to tell you about the area you were touring.  Woven into their dialog about a building, or the craftsmanship in a chair, would be little snippets of information about the vision of Brigham Young and how Jesus has been such a powerful influence in their lives.  Near the end of their tour, forms and pens would magically appear (there’s that magician element again) and they would politely ask for your details so that someone could visit you and provide information on how to join their merry band.  As I said, nice and friendly at first – downright creepy after a while.

The buildings themselves were beautiful and a lot of work had obviously gone into making the place spectacular.  In fact, we learned that the pews in the Tabernacle were pine that had been hand painted to look like oak because they didn’t have ‘the best’, but wanted it to look that way.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell that it was paint even on closer inspection.

Unfortunately the temple itself is restricted to entry only by Mormons, and even then only on special occasions.  There is a large model of it in the visitors center that you can look at, along with descriptions of the various rooms that can be accessed using touch screens.

But, as the day wore on, the word ‘creepy’ started to be used quite regularly.  Everything somehow felt too controlled and artificial.  The Stepford Wives movie came to mind on more than one occasion.  I had the strangest feeling that peering beneath the veil of excessive politeness would unearth some horrible truth – a bit like those pew seats really.

Eventually we managed to escape Temple Square (without giving our names to anyone!) and, other than a request for gas money from a man who pulled a large, red, gas-can from a top hat just as we walked past, we made it back to the hotel unmolested.

Since we still had a bit of time left in the day we decided to head to Antelope Island, which one of the guide books had said was beautiful.  I can only assume that the person writing that had either succumbed to the cool-aid or had lived in a dumpster, because that place was hot as hell and as barren as the moon – and not in a good way.

The visitors’ center has to be one of the ugliest buildings I have ever seen, and gave the impression that it was really designed as a place from which to watch nuclear weapon tests.  Which, thinking about it, might not be a bad idea…

Eventually we left the visitors center and headed to the beach of the Great Salt Lake, with the plan of letting the kids swim before an early dinner.  Walking from the car to the lake involved a schlep across about a mile of hot sand and a carpet made of billions of tiny black flies.  Yuk! One man who I passed looked back at the fly barrier at the water’s edge, shook his head in wonder and said “And they [Brigham Young and his band] chose to stop here???”

We let the kids swim for a while but, since those of us not swimming were simultaneously being cooked and attacked by flies, we kept the swim (err…float) short and headed for the “restaurant”.  I put restaurant in quotes, because it turned out to be another bunker – this time with a fridge.  I think they had hot-dogs too, but we decided to limit our feasting there to an ice-cream before heading back into town.

The next morning we loaded up the Rolling Turd and headed for Yellowstone via the scenic route.  It wasn’t long before we were surrounded by the awesome natural beauty of the Grand Tetons, which played a stark contrast to the place we had just left behind.

Salt Lake City certainly has some beautiful buildings…but I’m still not convinced that the people there are real.  Honestly…I was glad to see the back of it.

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Filed under Children, Life - or something like it, The Human Condition, Travel