Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Empowered kids.

"Dad, can you help me with my bike tires?" asked my 11 year old daughter. This gets me moving pretty quickly. I don't much care for requests that I do it for her. But help her? You bet.

I was surprised that I'd never worked with her on her bicycle.

First, I had her get the compressor, plug it in, and try to air up the tires. The back one took pressure, but the front one was a no-go. The valve stem had partially separated. I had suspected as much, and my wife had purchased a new inner tube the week before, after I gave her the tire specs.

I showed her how to stand the bike on its seat and handlebars, because we didn't have a bike stand. I showed her how, when working on low projects, it's worth the time to seek out a stool. (I procured for us each a 5 gallon bucket to overturn for that purpose.)

I asked her first what she thought we should do. She thought that we should take the wheel off. I told her that sounded like a good idea, and said to do that. She looked at the nuts on the axles for a few seconds, and went to the garage, coming back with a crescent wrench. She adjusted the wrench until it fit to the flats of the nuts, and removed the nuts and washers from the axle, and then pulled the tire, being careful as it came through the caliper brake.

I asked her how she thought we could get the tire off the wheel. She wasn't sure. I asked her to fetch me two large screwdrivers. She did so. I showed her how to pop the tire from the rim, twice. We took the tube off. She took out the new tube, noting how much heavier it was than the old tube-- about 3 or 4 times heavier. This new one was "thorn resistant." We put the tube on, and I showed her how the tire just pooped on with finger pressure, without tools.

At about this time, a 9 year old neighbor boy came by, with a dead snake in a box. He had been retrieving eggs from the henhouse, and found the chicken snake in the hen house. I asked him how he killed it. "I brained it with a rock," he said with a grin. "Got 3 others, yesterday." I admonished him not to just kill all snakes, as they keep down the rat population. He claimed he didn't.

Both my girls poked at the recently-dead snake with interest, and then the neighbor boy and my younger daughter fed it to my chickens. The omnivorous birds pecked at it, cheerfully.

My elder daughter put the wheel back on the bike and bolted it back on, before airing up the tire to 60 PSI. She flipped the bike over, hopped on, and rode away, with a quick "Thanks, Dad."

I should have told her to come back and put the tools away. But I didn't. I put them up myself. It was my pleasure.

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At Tuesday, May 25, 2010 4:29:00 PM, Blogger Rev. Paul said...

That was a good day, Dad. I live for those, myself.

At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 7:09:00 AM, Anonymous Blackwing1 said...

Just a side might be worth buying her a set of tire irons, just for her OWN. The little plastic ones are very cheap, work quite nicely, and can be carried strapped with a rubber band to a spare tube, and tucked under the seat. The rounded edges of the irons have much less of a tendency to rip the edges of the tube, particularly when wielded by someone with less experience than an adult (who's working with a sharp-cornered screwdriver).

The could even be the start of her own toolbox with some other simple ones...the squeezer/nut-rounder, the banger, and the bolt-turny thing.

At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 7:57:00 AM, Blogger John B said...

I love those moments. I still have a clear memory of helping my niece with her bike. She didn't let "You're only a girl." stop her. After all, her male role models found a shady spot and a twelve-pack, not much help or encouragement there.

I remember having her hold pliers and a screwdriver, and saying, "See, you can hold tools, you can use tools, you'll get better with practice. So practice!" She married a fairly good man, and sometimes uses what I shown her.

At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:35:00 AM, Blogger Farmmom said...

Enjoy those times while they last. They end way too soon.

At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Crucis said...

I helped my daughter with a flat tire when she was that age. I had a 12v electric air pump that I carried in my trunk.

All went well after I told her how to attach the pump and get it started. The FAIL portion was forgetting what the require pressure was before the tire went BANG!.

Next, I showed her how to replace the inner tube...

At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:20:00 PM, Blogger Holly said...

You are SUCH a good Dad.

At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:24:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Enjoy the time now Matt, it IS fleeting...

At Thursday, June 24, 2010 11:53:00 AM, Blogger .. said...

I don't usually comment much, but you impress me greatly.


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