The Handy Apple

Today’s post comes from Sherrilee

Two weeks ago I received a box from Centerpoint Energy with a couple of new shower heads. It took me a little bit to remember that they had been offered to me several months ago as an energy-saving strategy. Being free, I jumped at the offer but then promptly forgot about it until the box showed up.

I’m fairly handy and all self-taught. I’ve sanded a wood floor, replaced a sash window, changed out electrical outlets and even installed new faucets in the bathroom. I do know my limits – no serious plumbing, no building of anything, no anything that requires I get farther than 5-6 feet off the ground.

So when I got the new shower heads, I thought “I can do this”.  Then I thought about having to find the right wrench, the plumber’s tape and most importantly, the time!  I shoved the box to the back of the counter, figuring I might get to it over the weekend or the next.


Last night when I got home and was feeding all the beasts, out of the corner of my eye I noticed the crescent wrench sitting on the counter.  And one of the shower heads was gone from the box.  I wandered upstairs and saw that the new shower head was installed in the shower, complete with new plumbing tape. Since I was pretty sure that nobody broke into the house to change my shower head, the only solution was that Young Adult had done the installation.  Here is our conversation when she got home:

YA: Did you see that I put on the new shower head?

VS:  Yep.  Why did you do it?

YA:  Because you weren’t getting around to it.

VS: How did you know which wrench to use?

YA: I don’t know – I just chose a wrench.

VS: How did you know to use the plumbing tape?

YA:  I don’t know – I just used it.

VS:  How did you know where the tape was kept?

YA: (Now rolling her eyes).  It’s in the bathroom drawer; I see it every time I open it.

I guess maybe she has been paying attention all these years.  If you had asked me yesterday I would have said she didn’t even know where the wrenches were or that she even knew that plumbing tape existed. Guess the apple didn’t fall that far from the tree after all!

What skill/talent would you like to pass down?

40 thoughts on “The Handy Apple”

  1. Congratulations, vs, that’s quite the accomplishment. And good for you, YA for paying attention.

    Having no kids, I’m exempt from having to pass down skills of any sort. Just as well, since at the moment I can’t think of a thing worth passing down.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I seem to have done all right with some math ability and basic determination.

    I’ve epically failed on the fix-it/trouble-shooting piece, which is a cause for sorrow and concern.

    Happy delayed birthday greetings to Dale and Donna! Lovely day for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I seem to be passing along a desire to play in the kitchen – Miss S felt strongly that cupcakes needed to happen yesterday. I was not about to deter her from this (though I did help with things like putting the muffin trays into the hot oven). She doesn’t seem to have picked up the “I can fix this,” trait, but she does seem to have taken on the love of word play passed from my father to me (and now to Daughter). The love of a good pun or taking the wrong dual use for a word (or literal interpretation of “can you” vs. “will you”)…yeah, these are the ties that bind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning. As those of you that know me would probably guess, gardening is the skill that I would like to pass down. I have passed this down, at least a little, to both of my daughters. Just like you, Sherilee, I was surprised to find that I had somehow passed this skill along to them because they didn’t start gardening very early in their life showing no signs of enjoying gardening when they were young. Actually they had lived away from home and graduated from college before they started doing any gardening. Now they have gardens in their back yards. I do provide them with some help. However, I think they would go ahead with having a garden without my help if I wasn’t there to help them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mom approached just about anything that “had” to be done as a chore. Cleaning, cooking and gardening fell into those categories. She didn’t enjoy them, wasn’t good at them, and was usually in a foul mood when engaged in them.

      Dad, while I don’t recall him ever cleaning, approached gardening and cooking with a much more joyful attitude. For him, these were opportunities to explore and experiment. He derived immense pleasure from cooking a tasty meal for family and friends, and I can still see him joyfully harvesting the first new potatoes of the season.

      Cleaning has never been a favorite pastime of mine, and I don’t claim to be an expert gardener or a particularly good cook, but I derive an immense amount of pleasure from both gardening and cooking. Gardening tends to provide a delayed reward, cooking a more immediate one, but in both cases, if there’s no joy in the process, no amount of skill will make it worth while.


  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    To Jim’s post I say, “Me, too.” The gardening thing is such a great area to know about, and it provides endless joy. And really, who does not want their progeny to have a source of joy in life?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Son is a counselor at a large, regional university, and he says that students are arriving at campus as freshman unable to manage most things in their lives due to their helicopter parents who seem to have done way too much to smooth the way. He says they are Blackhawk Helicopter parents, even worse than regular helicopter parents. It is refreshing to hear of a young woman who can change out a shower head.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Given that daughter is a social work major and son is a counselor, I guess you could say we passed down a human service sensibility to our offspring. Son loves to cook, and daughter is calling more often for recipes. Son wants a garden when they finally buy a house.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I remember when I switched from being the family launderess to everyone being responsible for her own laundry. Two oldest daughters were well into high school. What motivated me to change the system wasn’t the laundry per se, but the emergency laundry requests, such as “Mom, I’m leaving the house in 30 minutes and I need this piece of clothing washed and dried by then.” Well, the daughter that made the most of those requests was, not surprisingly, the one who protested the new policy the most. Fast forward a few years and I got a big laugh when this same daughter told me, “mom, thanks for making me learn to do laundry. There are kids here who have no clue how to do theirs and I showed them how.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Young Adult has been doing her own laundry since she was about twelve – thank goodness. I can even get her to do mine on occasion!


        1. I would have taught them laundry skills earlier, but there were reasons not to – mainly, laundry facilities in a very creepy, icky basement. Once that changed, I felt like Why Not Have Them Do Laundry? Youngest daughter was around 10 or 11 then…


  8. I spent up to 16 hours a day up to 180 days of the year with my father, helping him do his many skills, often doing the helping part wrong. I can recall him overtly teaching me only a very few things, such as cranking and driving the tractor, harnessing and hitching up the horse. I assumed I would be as cranky a parent as my father was if I made them hep me/be with me/learn from me as I worked. So I taught them nothing about my various skills, such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work. I could see when he was young it was not who my son was, and is not today. My wife grew up without home-making skills because her mother was so very handicapped and her grandmother with whom she lived just did not want to teach her. When we were first married I had to show Sandy how to wash the dishes, not because my mother taught me (she taught her sons no “womanly” skills) but because I had spent so much time in the kitchen for various other reasons. Maybe I learned observation/learning skills from being with my father. I never intended to learn the things I learned.
    We should have taught our two kids more about things like money skills, basic home skills, etc. But they learned them on their own.
    Of my interests they have both jumped into photography as adults, both getting quite good, my son reaching the professional level, solely they both say, from watching me. They did not ask, I did not offer to teach.They just had it in their memory as something that looked enjoyable and challenging. My daughter on her own learned excellent needle and kitchen skills. She has a flair. Was it DNA from my mother?
    I did, of course, teach my children writing. They like many college-bound students, had me for 5-6 semesters out of 8 in grades 9-12. Both are excellent writers, My son could have pursued a writing career. But about this I wonder a bit. I hear them spout with authority things like my opinion on the Oxford comma (please, world use it). They do have no interest in reading my writing.
    My son has art talent, much more than I do, but only dabbles every now and then. My daughter wants art talent, but . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Despite his feelings about hovering parents, I should add that son and dil are dropping gargantuan hints about how nice it would be if we moved to the town they live in when we are retired. I should tell him I wouldn’t want to get in his way to be self sufficient and independent.


    1. I would be honored by the gargantuan hints. Some kids want their parents to be as far away as possible.
      My California son, DIL and grandson are “considering” moving back here. I am guardedly thrilled. The reasons given were global warming (it’s too darned hot), less than ideal friendships they have made and the recognition that it would be handy to be near a support system (and earthquakes, I suppose).
      The problem is that they both work in film and TV and the Twin Cities are not a mecca for that. I know there are things going on here; they will visit in the spring to see if they can attach to them.
      I suppose this is somewhat parallel to your son’s gargantuan hints but my son’s low key delivery makes me feel that my part in this decision is not a major one.


      1. My problem with this is that daughter would also want us to live close to her. Since they are 9 years apart and operate like only children, we can’t move close to one without hurting the other’s feelings. I can’t retire for 5 years, so we have some time to figure this out.


  10. Daughter has proved to be a very hard worker at her current job, and was recently given a new position at the group home at which she works. She will do mainly overnight shifts, getting paid $16.00 an hour to, essentially, sleep. This will leave her lots more time for studying. The clients she works with are pretty mellow and stable developmentally disabled adults who sleep all night. I can’t figure out how she developed this drive to work, since she bucked any attempt on my part to get her to help out around the house or garden. The minute she got her first job, though, she was a demon for working and doing the best work she could do.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Two things. My innate ability to recognize when something is out of square. “That 90 degree angle is off. It’s 91 degrees.” Secondly, my incredible sense of humor.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. I have no children but if I did have I would like them to have developed any art talent they may have inherited from me and pursued it with a passion I don’t seem to have. I have learned to fix and replace faucets, electrical outlets and lamps, a bit of carpentry (not very good) enough to fix damages animals cause to their barns. I would love to have children who would become carpenters and skilled woodworkers. Better gardeners and equestrians than I am, better at working in the world.

    But…not to be. I’m still looking for a rich carpenter to partner with….

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A sense of humor, especially the ability to find something to laugh at when in a situation that is far from funny. (I can’t always do that, but when I can, i know I’ll survive.)

    The ability to know when to use apostrophes – and even more importantly, when NOT to use them.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Hey VS –
    I received the very same shower head from Centerpoint several years ago and it is still in the box (embarrassing, I know). Is YA available for hire?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sherri Lee, has YA considered a career in plumbing? She could get a college degree in the major of her choice and then get a master plumber certification and then the world would be her oyster.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Evening–

    So many things I want to comment on here.
    Growing up on the farm I was always outside following Dad around and ‘helping’. I’m sure there are days he just wanted to send me back in the house. And maybe he did, but I don’t recall those days.
    I remember him giving me a bucket of sand and showing me how the brazing torch worked and letting me play. Brazing nails together. (I also learned that you could melt sand and make cool glassy type stuff!)
    And when I learned in high school welding class how an oxy-acetylene torch worked and said we needed one of them, I got one for my 18th birthday.
    Making fence once and putting in a corner post and tamping the dirt down with a shovel handle and Dad said ‘How’d you learn to do that?’ I said ‘you taught me. Watched you do it for years’.
    I still think my dad was better at fixing things than I am.
    A few weeks ago Mom wanted a different watch band on her watch. But people told her the current band and watch was special and you couldn’t swap it. I figured out how to swap it. She said I was just like my dad; I could fix anything. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud.

    Our son didn’t follow me around outside so much. He wasn’t interested in fixing stuff. So it was a surprise to us when he started taking his computers apart in college and improving them. And his friends figured since he was a farm kid he knew how to do stuff. So he learned how to do stuff. Sometimes with a call home to ask and sometimes with Google and sometimes he just figured it out.
    Kelly and I are most pleased he learned a sense of sarcasm from us. Yeah, like he needed us to learn that…

    At the college today I had four students working in the shop. One girl in particular, she’s used some tools with her dad, just doesn’t always know the name of that exact tool. She was so excited to be using a screw gun and making something! “I have a whole new sense of purpose! I feel like I can survive on my own now!”
    That’s one of the better parts of my job. (And obviously, she needs a whole lot more skills in other areas to ‘survive on her own’, but hey- it’s not a bad start!

    (Of The other students:
    -one is ex-military, 6 month old baby at home, working as a massage tech while going to school for a teaching degree. He’s pretty good on his own. “Build this.” and he does. And then he goes to class. And then he goes to work. And then he goes home to baby and maybe sleep and then he does it all over again the next day.
    There are days I’m in awe of these students. I have no idea what their home lives are like or what they’re dealing with.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You are right…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I learned a lot from my Dad…his way of fixing something was to throw something at the wall, or kick it, or yell at it. Gosh, I’m good at that stuff too!

    Liked by 2 people

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