What My Pink Toolbox Taught Me

Written By: Kim - Jun• 19•11

I was a lucky kid. I grew up in a family with loving parents. Sometimes our traditional family meant a single-parent family. Dad was in the US Army and deployed to Vietnam twice, Germany, Korea and Thailand once each. During those long stretches of time, Mom would hold down the fort. She was excellent at doing this despite the challenges. But this is not a post about Mom.

My Dad could fix anything. His childhood fascination with car motors translated in to helicopter maintenance for the Army that lead to his ability to fix many things around the house. He took his interest in cars a step further: Dad restored old trucks and cars during his free time.

Emory C. Wickline & me, 1970

Dad taught me how to drive on a clutch. He would take me to a hill and we stayed there until I could successfully move the car from neutral without stalling it. I can still hear him calmly say: “Ease up on the clutch and press on the gas.” I only hope I can be as calm as he was if my kids ask me to teach them to drive. Too bad he wasn’t as calm when I broke my left wrist riding my skateboard. He was so nervous, Mom had to drive me to the hospital.

My Dad also taught me how to check the oil in my car and the tire pressure; how to change a tire; use a hammer, what the difference was between a Philips screwdriver and a flat tip; what monkey wrenches were for; and where the fuse box is located.  But most all, he taught me to be independent and strong.

My first toolkit, courtesy of my Dad.

I am sure he must have looked kind of silly buying me my first tool kit — in pink. But, over 20 years after I moved out, it’s still in my laundry room with quick tools we might need. I think of him every time I access it and my husband chuckles every time he sees it. Pink indeed.

More than the logistics of basic car knowledge and tool use, my Dad became my benchmark for men. I compared all of them to him. Did they love their Moms? How did they treat their sisters? Were the handy? Smart? Caring? Loving? Dependable? Supportive? Did he have moxie? Was he patriotic? Does he give back to his community? What kind of animal lover was he? Did he cry when his family dog died? Did he want children? How loyal and faithful would he be? My future husband’s shoes were big to fill and I am lucky to have found the man to fill them.

So to all the Dads out there, I say thank you and Happy Father’s Day. Anyone can father a child, but it takes a special man to be a Dad. We love you.

 

Transforming But Not Reforming

Written By: Kim - Jun• 05•11

“We have the power to transform our partner but should not reform our partner.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury who married Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke these words on their April 29 wedding. Never have truer words been spoken regarding relationships.

How many times have we tried to reform someone? Maybe he or she had habits that annoyed. Perhaps the behavior was detrimental to his or her health, life or your relationship. Maybe you thought he would change for you.

No, he won’t.

Oh, he might be on his best behavior for a short amount of time, but his old habits will resurface. If you really hate his dog, don’t date him. If you can’t stand his friends, they won’t go away after the wedding. If you think you will have problems with his Mom, you will.

I have been married to the same man for 20 years. He still leaves his shoes in the kitchen. He lets his paperwork, newspapers and magazines pile up on the counter. He procrastinates about everything but the business he runs. He is the ultimate alpha male who drives us everywhere.

Do these things drive me up the wall? Yep. Are they the worst habits someone can have? Nope. Have I changed any of this in two decades? Obviously not.

Are there things about him that I adore? Yes. He is a faithful, loving man who puts his family first. He’s a wonderful cook. He has never forgotten a birthday or anniversary. He makes me feel like the most important woman in the room.

© Leo Cummings, via stock.xchng

You do marry in to his family. His friends will be at your home. He is not giving up his dog for you. If he is an alpha male or mister milk toast, he is not likely to switch sides.

So, if there are things about a potential mate that drive you crazy while you date, deal with it or walk away. You both will be happier in the long run.

True love generally means acceptance of the good, the bad and the ugly.