No Mechanical Inclination, My A-Frame!

When I was in junior high, my eighth grade class was issued a series of tests.  I’m not really sure what they were designed to indicate, but there were standardized tests for reading, writing, math, and science along with a few others more specific to our developing abilities.  One of the tests was designed to test our mechanical inclination.  I don’t remember any of the other tests, just the mechanical inclination.  I remember it well because I scored a ZERO on it.  I didn’t get a single question right.  The test was made up of 3-dimensional figures that were flattened out.  The object was to assemble the figures in your mind and choose one of three 3-dimensional figures it would most resemble.  I remember struggling with the concept, staring at the pages, and finally filling in the circle on the scan tron that I was sure had to be the right answer.  WRONG!

How could someone get every question wrong?  If someone was trying to get them all wrong, I doubt that they could have succeeded as easily as I did.  I remember this vividly because my teacher called a special meeting with my parents to discuss this terrible handicap I would suffer with for the rest of my life.  It wasn’t like junior high was all that stellar to begin with, and here they just added insult to injury.  Thanks!

Anyway, as I got older I began to care less and less about my so-called inability to incline mechanically.  I found it rather humorous that of all the things I could be lacking, mechanical inclination was at the top of the list.  If this was going to be my worst attribute, I could live with that.

Funny thing is, for the past 20 years here at our house I am responsible for the assembly of all furniture, toys, storage units, and appliances that comes through our doors.  My husband does enough of that sort of thing at work so when he comes home, he is not in the mood to put a crib, a bookcase, patio furniture, the grill, or any of the kids toys that blatantly lie about “SOME” assembly required, together.  It was do or die — and I did it.  There were some mishaps when I’d have to unassemble and start over, but after 25 years of this, I’m pretty darn good at it now.

For Christmas many years ago I didn’t get pajamas or perfume, I got my rechargeable power tools, micro-precision tool set, and a rolling toolbox for my ever-growing collection of tools.  There aren’t a whole lot of power tools I don’t use on a regular basis, but I do admit, a full size circular saw does give me pause.  I think it’s the noise and possibility of death or dismemberment if I slip that makes me leery.  Still, when it comes right down to it, if I have a lot of wood that needs cutting, I’ll pull out the circular saw, set up my saw horses, and get to it.

Today my to do list consisted of, among the standards, building an a-frame for the garden for the pickling cucumbers I wanted to plant.  I found a picture of one online with some general instructions, and decided it was something I could handle.  Thankfully I had 1 x 2’s left over from some Christmas window frames I had disassembled last year.  This meant all I had to do was buy 3 additional 1 x 2 x 8 pieces of wood and some twine.  I probably could have found some twine stuck in the back of a drawer somewhere too, but figured — don’t slow me down, and bought a fresh spool.

It took me about 40 minutes to assemble the frame, wrap it with twine, and plant the pickles.  I think I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself.  I’m not sure I’ll get cucumbers this year or not, as I’ve said before I’ve not been very successful at gardening, but I think my a-frame looks pretty good.

Here is the link from the website I refered to: http://yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.com/2012/04/frame-trellises.html

 Bell checking out the boards I've laid out for assembly.

Bell checking out the boards I’ve laid out for assembly.

First I screwed one side completely, then moved to the other.

First I screwed one side completely, then moved to the other.

After the sides were assembled in the garage, I moved them to the garden for final assembly.

After the sides were assembled in the garage, I moved them to the garden for final assembly.

To make the frame more secure, I put a side bar on each side.

To make the frame more secure, I put a side bar on each side.

Once assembled, I dug 1.5' holes to hold the frame in the ground.

Once assembled, I dug 1.5′ holes to hold the frame in the ground.

The secured a-frame in the ground.

The secured a-frame in the ground.

The final step was to wrap some twine on the frame and plant the cucmbers.

The final step was to wrap some twine on the frame and plant the cucumbers.

I wonder sometimes what schools are thinking when they test children and use these scores as an indication as to what they will be good at or capable of in the future.  In my opinion I find this restrictive and damaging.  Telling me that I was not mechanically inclined could have influenced me to give up and accept my would-be handicap.  Instead, I embraced it, accepted the challenge — prevailed, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Of course, let’s hope my handiwork  lasts the summer!

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4 responses

    • Thanks. I was so excited to show my husband when he got home. Of course, he brought me down a bit when he told me the wood would rot, especially the part I buried in the ground. Still, I’m happy and according to the website I found this on, his lasted for three years. That’s good enough for me.

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