I have so many other things I should be doing.
In fact, I have a very important To Do list.
Having said that, one item that is NOT on my To Do list: a geometric step stool.
Yep, I’m avoiding certain things by building something unnecessary. Well maybe a step stool is necessary, but one in the shape of a hexagon?.. No. Just, no.
(Unless you’re talking to my 6 year old, then: yes. Heck, yes.)
My kids have been offering up suggestions and making requests more often lately. Sadly, I think it’s because they see the funk I’m in and they’re trying to help.
I miss my dad. It’s only been a few months since he passed, and life is still moving at the relentless pace around me while I move in slo-motion. There are times when I can’t function and my heart feels too heavy to carry around, so I sit. I stare at the TV, but I don’t listen to it. Everything sounds like static noise. Everything is different now. It feels as if there is a footnote to every sentence of inner dialogue:
“I need to do laundry, but my dad’s gone, so I’m sad, so I won’t do it.”
“I’m tired today, but that’s nothing compared to how my dad felt… cancer sucks.”
My thoughts eventually settle on what my mom must be feeling and that, in turn, prompts me to stop feeling sorry for myself until my next bad day.
It seems I am also watching my kids with more intent lately. It’s funny how mortality can wake you up and rearrange all your priorities. In the middle of a particularly hard moment, I stopped and listened closely to my youngest tell me about a project idea he had for me. (I’ve been clinging to these opportunities to lose myself in what my kids are saying lately. It’s a relief to get sucked into their small world, and pretend there isn’t a dad-shaped hole in my life.) This time, something became clear to me as his little hands drew a shape in the air. I needed something to put my hands into auto-pilot… I needed to create exactly what my child was dreaming up. Right now. Enter geometric step stool.
On with the show.
I decided this would be easy, because I knew hexagons. Chalk that up to the last few years spent building snowflakes. (Apparently, there are hexagons involved in snowflake design. It only took me YEARS to figure that out.)
I used a 2×6 for the base, and scrap wood for the top. All six pieces of the base were cut at 30° angles, which creates a hexagon.
After cutting six 9 inch sections for the hexagon, I used my Kreg jig to drill holes on the inside.
Next, I used my bench vise to hold the sections in place while I assembled the hexagon.
To make my life easier, I used my Airstrike to secure them in place before using the Kreg screws.
Once I got the base assembled, I dug around in my out of control scrap wood pile for some odd shapes.
Then I stood still for a moment, and smiled a real smile at myself for finally finding something to do with these pointy scraps. (I’ve been stabbing myself for over a year with them when I dig through my pile.)
Once I had the top covered, I traced on the underside to trim what I could on my miter saw.
(I used my cordless jigsaw on any angles that couldn’t be cut on the miter saw.)
The top was secured with glue and nail gun.
To smooth out any seams in detail, I used my RYOBI Corner Cat sander.
Last of all, I painted the base white and put a clear wax on top. I might regret that later when I have to maintain the wax finish, but that’s kind of asking a lot of myself right now…. to think ahead and what not.
And because I do weird stuff sometimes when left on auto-pilot, I made a few more. Maybe now my kids can play “jump from platform to platform” instead of “jump from couch to end table”.
…or I can just stack them like this.
In closing: At the end of the day, this hullabaloo was about following through, and showing my kids their thoughts and ideas are a part of me too. I need to do this more often, instead of staying too long inside my own grief. It’s okay to come out sometimes, and go on auto-pilot.
-aaand, just in case someone thinks I might be one of “those moms”, who have lots of good mom lessons to share… I should probably tell you that we often eat pop tarts for dinner. Or cold cereal.
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