On Friday, I moved from a rented studio apartment to my own two-bedroom condo. One of the moving guys said, “I love how everything in here is perfectly apartment sized.”
“Me too, until the moment I bought a two-bedroom condo and now nothing fits,” I replied with the bitter and overwhelming taste of “what have I gotten myself into” on my tongue.
It was a two plus year journey for me to reach this adulthood milestone. It took my dad 46 years of working before he retired and could now offer to come up on a weekday to help me get settled.
Big changes for us both.
My dad is a whiz with numbers and directions, but tools and construction and handyman work were never his forte/passion. I got neither his ability with numbers or directions, but the gene pool did give me his handyman abilities, which is to say we were quite the pair in attempting some minor condo renovations this weekend.
It turned out “strength in numbers” worked. His logical brain + his math skills + his previous experience with some power tools + stubbornness to get the job done + my practical brain + my ability to fit through a window + my flower covered tools + my sous-chef-but-in-handyman-term abilities + stubbornness to get the job done = I (mostly) feel at home now.
Together, we installed a shower rod, a Nest thermostat, a mailbox, new electrical outlet and light switch covers, some exterior pipe insulation, and window shades. We repurposed bar stools, silverware holding containers, garbage bags, and shade shavings. We jerry-rigged a drain pipe and discovered another benefit to the bottom of my stairwell and went to Home Depot six times and figured out the best way to get out of the driveway and found new ways to navigate my neighborhood via car and foot and ate some amazing meals to cap off our grueling days.
He showed me that even when you think you know someone, your prior knowledge can be out of date. It’s important to keep your expectations flexible, your mind open, and your heart full. That way, you’ll be able to recognize the handyman sized shadow your dad now casts.
You’ll also be able to recognize your own changing reflection in the mirror.*
*That your dad hung in 5 minutes flat.