Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Apple Finally Fell From the Tree...But Not Far



He followed in his father's footsteps, but his gait was somewhat erratic. ~Nicolas Bentley


Last week, I got a call from my son in Boston..."Dad, yesterday I think I did the stupidest thing I've ever done. Ok, let me first tell you the second stupidest thing that I did a couple of days ago...".

Now, let me give you some backdrop to the 2nd stupidest thing. Despite both of our fair amount of Good Sense, we are completely devoid of any ability to deal with a plumbing problem and some of our encounters have almost become legend. One time, for instance, I was in our second floor bathroom and a sink was leaking...just leaking! No BIG deal, but just enough for my male genes to begin to awaken and clamor in unison, "We can fix this".  So, I get my trusty wrench, because all I was actually going to do was tighten the faucet thingy at the top of the sink...Hmmm, a little tight... Better push a little harder. All of  sudden, the faucet comes flying off the sink, I mean like an ICBM missile, HITTING THE BATHROOM CEILING, and water comes gushing out of the sink hole like Old Faithful where the faucet used to be. On top of all this (prepare yourself for a couple of "on top of all this"), it was the HOT water side!! Instant panic. The water is actually pouring out of this hole like the iceberg hole in the Titanic, flooding the bathroom floor. I'm grabbing towels left and right like a madman, trying to somehow stop a million pounds of hot water pressure with some hand towels! Remember, HOT water.  I open the cabinet under the sink to try to cut the water off, but of course it's rusted in the open position and a Sumo wrestler ain't gonna budge it. I start screaming for my wife...you see, ON TOP OF ALL THIS, she is about two weeks out of back surgery, and is trying to avoid stairs, but she makes her way upstairs to the horror of water everywhere, her husband drenched with hot water, an inch of water on the floor, and a literal fountain of hot water spraying all over...I mean ALL over. 

ME (screaming): "I don't know what to do". 
HER:  "I'll hold the towels and you go down in the crawl space and shut the water off".
ME: "You can't hold the towels. It's hot water". 

I start thinking the only thing to do is just let go, run real fast down three flights of stairs, open the combination lock, find the cutoff valve in the dark crawl space, and not worry about the great flood upstairs. All of a sudden the water goes off! My first thought is we've drained the reservoir, but then I noticed my wife is gone. She ambled down the three flights of stairs and found the cutoff valve. Before coming back upstairs, she also called the plumber for a late night call. I did not volunteer that I could fix this. Except for my Blood Pressure being around 500/300, it was a great cardio workout, and I got my wife off the couch to test this new back!! Plus, the floor (and the walls, and the ceiling) all got cleaned. And all with only minimal leakage down to the first floor. Holy Cow!!

So, back to son #1 and the 2nd stupidest thing...see if this sounds familiar...leaking sink...."I can fix this". The big difference is he is working on an original sink in a house that's nearly a century old. He sees he cannot tighten this bolt (or whatever the heck it is) from the top. So, underneath the sink is a totally rusted bolt that he gives a pretty good tug on...won't budge...must need a gooder tug...AND HE CRACKS THE WHOLE SINK!! I'm so proud of him. That's my boy!

Ok, on to what he calls the stupidest thing. Although he has periodically tried to get running in his blood, it never really lit his fire. But, he has always been interested in cycling, going back to his High School days when we used to cycle some together. The Tour de France was an annual father/son bonding experience that we still enjoy. But, life got in the way of being able to cycle regularly or seriously, until this past fall when he bought a very good road bike and has been cycling around the streets of Boston or on his trainer (because snow is slippery). He's been enjoying working up a sweat and setting PR's on Heartbreak Hill. 

This past weekend, he decided to sign up for a 200 mile, 2-day, fundraising cycling jaunt across Massachusetts. After being a Leukemia Team-in-Training Run Coach for 15 years, I'm proud of him for signing up to help folks that will never be able to thank him, but also, I'm really tickled that he is taking that first dive into endurance sports. Someone once asked me what describes an endurance activity and I said it was one where you had to eat during the event to keep going. Yes, some carry that eating thing a little far! After doing dozens and dozens of marathon and ultramarathon running events (and 6 cycling centuries), I sure feel like it's in my blood, and it's not something that's easily described to someone who has never experienced doing an athletic event for hours upon hours. I can't wait for him to get deep into the training for this and then to feel the pride of doing something you never thought you'd even attempt to do. I hope he gets hooked.

No son, it wasn't stupid. I like to think it's just something that I passed down to you and you finally answered the calling. Ok, I also passed that plumbing thing down to you...hahaha...cracked the whole sink....that's hilarious. I love it!Guess I'm next up.

Time to go for a run. The trails are calling. No cycling for me. Too much time lost changing flat tires. I'll see you on the roads and on the trails - Al

"One child lost is too many...One child saved can change the world"