Thursday, January 05, 2006

PC and SmallBoy

I am kicking myself for buying generic storebrand batteries for my digital camera. My camera is so particular that it will only take a name brand - give it a store brand and it turns on just long enough to say, "OH! Store brand! F - You!" Lacking "real" batteries, left me without my camera last night when I desperately wanted to capture the moment. I suppose I will, therefore, have to create the picture for you.

Once upon a time, in a cozy Midwest kitchen, SmallBoy and PC sat with a block of wood, four wheels, and some nails. "Whatever for," you ask. You see, SmallBoy is a Cub Scout and it is the time of the year when all of the different troops (aka - The Pack) gather for the BIG RACE...The Pinewood Derby. The goal: have the fastest car and win the race....DUH! The beauty of the race is really in the many different car designs, colors, decorations, styles, etc....Truly, however, the amazing part is how all of those cars came about.

The boys are given a kit, such as pictured above. They are then instructed that the have to turn that block of wood into a car that weighs no more than 5 ounces and doesn't exceed any ground clearance or length and width rules. Oh yes, yes yes....the BOYS are expected to do this themselves. As with all projects involving tools, we know who ends up creating the car....yup, the parents - more often than not, dad, stepdad, big brother, etc. The moaning starts early, upon receipt of the box, "Oh come on! You know I'm going to be the one who ends up doing this. It's going to take forever. How do they expect 7-11 year olds to do this themselves?" Well, DUH...hello! The BSA knows full well who this contest is really geared towards - MEN. It's a testosterone battle....downhill car racing for big men who never got to race off the line. It's a battle of my car's cooler than yours, my car can go faster than yours, my car's more aerodynamic than yours. (Note: that is not our car)

Oh, sorry. I got away from the real story here. Back to my guys. There they sat at the kitchen table with their block of wood. The big race is only a few days away, yet there they sat with the block of wood in front of them. Finally, the two realized they should create a design before digging in with the saw. SmallBoy sat down and designed, while PC taught him about aerodynamics and speed. This is where the Asperger's became a true advantage. SmallBoy took the knowledge he was learning from PC and altered his design accordingly, while constantly checking in for approval of every change, modification, and nuance of the paper car. Once the design was set, it was time to plan the actual manufacturing of the car.

As a Christmas gift from GR, SmallBoy had received a set of "tools" to help with the "molding" of the vehicle. PC had gotten ahold of a vice, and the two set to work. The basic outline of the design was drawn on the car - oops, block of wood, and the block of wood, then, was locked into the grips of the vice in order to be cut with the tiniest of saws. This was NOT an easy process, by any means. PC had to change blades on the saw a couple of times, but ultimately, with some elbow grease and sweat, the cuts were made and the block of wood began its transformation. Slowly, the paper design began to take shape on the wood, the guys constantly checking with each other for approval.

As the time for SmallBoy's bed drew near, PC promised him that he would get the sanding done so that the paint could be applied the next night and then it would be ready for the weigh in the following night. The excitement in the kitchen was explosive. I'm not certain if it was real or imagined, but I could swear that I saw drool coming from each of their mouths. The guys discussed paint color to imply speed, and placement of the really cool decals (also from GR), and then SmallBoy headed off to bed, knowing that his car was in good hands.

A man of his word, PC set about the tedious task of sanding the car. In the tool kit was a circular strip of sandpaper and a sanding "tool" on which to place this paper. PC, being the incredibly intelligent man that he is, remembered that there was still some heavy duty sandpaper from the current house project. Once he found it, there was no stopping him. The car was sleek, aerodynamic, and REALLY COOL! One would have thought by watching him, that he was having FUN!

Did that do it for you? How was the picture? I hope it matched the one in my head (KH, I hear you laughing!). This morning, SmallBoy was ecstatic as he HOPPED OUT OF BED to go back to school from break. He was thrilled with what his personal carpenter had created. Tonight the painting begins. I MUST remember to get REAL batteries to further document this. OH, and stop on by this article that SmallBoy wrote last night while PC was using the saw (not for SmallBoy hands to use).


Eileen said...

That's so cool! I can't wait to hear the rest.

Felicity said...

Just want to advise, I bought rechargeable batteries and a charger for my digital camera, on the advice from someone advice I ever got! So I'm sharing it! But your telling was good, too.

mommyguilt said...

Thanks! I'll heed that advice. It makes MUCH more sense!

Wade Rankin said...

That one's a lott cooler than the ones my older boy made when he was a Cub. Small Boy is obviously more talented than my son, although I suspect they put an equal amount of their own work into their respective projects. :-)

mommyguilt said...

Actually, that one's not ours, just a pic I pulled off of google to show what that little block of wood turns into. My next posting should have pics of the work in progress.

I'm amazed, though, by what some of the people dream's truly an open imagination fest!

Laura said...

I remember my brother and Dad spending HOURS on the Pinewood Derby. However, PC is much kinder than my Dad. He made my brother do everything. And of course, back in the 80s children were allowed to use saws. Can't wait to see the finished product!