Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly. ~P.J. O’Rourke
Sometimes when you’re told you have a task to do and, as you are reminded week after week, you almost take it for granted that you really don’t have to do it. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Dad told me for weeks now that I had to put together this tree stand for him. Actually he asked Kyle to do it, but expected that I would assist. A few weeks ago on Saturday I was not feeling well, sinuses draining, sore throat, the whole nine yards. It was a really pretty fall day so, as the day matured, I started to feel better and decided to tackle the big metal puzzle. Initially I sent Kyle out to put it together. I knew he would do a better job than I would, after all he’s been training for this his whole life. Shortly after Kyle exited the house and re-entered, I was informed the directions clearly state that this was a two person job while I was given that old ‘Aunt Heather, now you have to help me’ look.
Kyle and I let the dogs run around the yard while we put together this dreaded tree stand. We made pretty good timing, about an hour. As we put the pieces together, we didn’t tighten the nuts too much, in case we messed up and had to take something apart. I knew dad wouldn’t be happy if I stripped the nuts. So, once it was put together, I decided I had enough. We came in and I told dad he better tighten all the joints because we didn’t. At that moment, I was informed that I would have to go to New York to put the darn thing up. In a tree! These are the days I really miss my brother. As I argued with dad, letting him know that it was not efficient to drive six hours to put up the stand and drive six hours back, he vetoed my clearly logical thinking. I guess I knew I have been putting this off for weeks now and I knew it wasn’t a surprise that this was expected of me, but it doesn’t mean I wanted to do it. Dad’s logic was, “Well, when I kick off, you can be glad we spent time together.” I said, “No I’ll still be complaining about it, how you made me drive that distance to put up a tree stand.”
Just then it hit me, the tree stand was not safe, all the nuts needed tightened, they were barely hanging on. Initially, when we put together the tree stand, I kinda chuckled to myself thinking he should have helped put it together for his own safety. Now, the joke is on me! I was going to be the one to test out the stand, ’cause I had to climb a tree to put it there. All I could picture in my mind was me hanging alongside the tree like a cat ready to be taken over by gravity.
Well, in the days that followed that conversation, dad got mad at me for arguing the trip and decided to put the tree stand up when he went to New York hunting, which happened to be this past weekend. Now all I can think of is dad alone in the woods with this unsafe tree stand. This past week I asked him if he tightened the screws and his reply was, “No, not yet.” Yikes, what is he waiting for? Now all I can picture is gravity taking a good hold of dad and driving him to the ground.
Dealing with parents is just like dealing with children. Just when you put your foot down to take a stand and prove a point, you feel bad about it. Now how can I make this right? I told him I would follow him up, help him set up the tree stand and then come back. I thought that sounded like a reasonable plan until he told me he was going up on Thursday and I had to work, plus I had a meeting with a client Friday morning. Not to mention, I had a dentist appointment (I love getting my teeth cleaned, I actually look forward to it) and Kyle’s play Friday afternoon. And it was Light Up Night in Pittsburgh. O crap! There you have it. I guess everyone has moments that they should have done differently.
Luckily, after all the back and forth, dad decided not to take the stand. I think he made a better choice. He needs to walk around and get his exercise.