Overhead the helicopters rage, the machine guns mounted to their sides flash a blizzard of lead into the jungle, the screams of the enemy would stay with you forever. Beyond the river thats choked with bodies you hear the commander barking orders to her platoon, she’s scared to death, you can hear it in her voice, thats your special thing being able to hear fear in their voices.
The blasts from the enemy are getting closer, this godforsaken war on an alien planet is killing what sanity you ever had, the world is so foreign as is the enemy.
Beside you a tree evaporates into a pillar of smoke and steam, only odd leaves tumble down, the rest is gone, a horrid scream fills the air as the tree dies, it’s soul wrenched from this plane.
You hear men crying in the distance as the alien hoard advances, another blast, this time above your head, the sheltering rock face crumbles into dust, a rain of ash falls into your eyes, you blink out the dust only to see Morgan striding forwards, his Advanced Mech Suit blasting aliens to pieces.
Looks like the tides turning.
Now you might have a chance to build that piece of Ikea furniture that the general needs to display her medals in.
#DadRule No.20 You’ll be responsible for constructing everything that’s brought into the house.
You curse every time a “new thing” comes into the house, first it was a bike, then a cubby-house, then they brought home a new cupboard for the kids room, or a set of draws, every so often one of the children demands their bunkbeds to be built again. Sometimes you manage to avoid it with witty comebacks and cleaver rebuttals, “Your bunk bed is to high for this ceiling!” “I’d need to dynamite the backyard to lay the foundation for that cubby house, I’m waiting on a good price for explosives”.
Mostly you’ll find you just need to knuckle down and build that sucker like the master craftsman you are.
It’s a never ending barrage of builds, as a matter of fact I’m fixing three holes in the wall right now (the cats conveniently like to attack the damaged edges of one, so it’s kind of an urgent job thats getting worse as I put it off). I’m also repairing a draw that our baby went Hulk on, and a doll house that she’s used berserker strength to tear apart.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Below I want to outline a few things that I’ve had the privilege of constructing multiple time, but instead of going over best practices on how to assemble, as there’s so much variety in products these days. I wanted to just cover of the essential tools you’l likely need. Bear in mind that this is a broad list and that certain jobs will need certain tools.
When that bike arrives at Christmas or the birthday you’re going to be the one and only hope for them to be riding it in pure joy and ecstasy. Lets take a look at what tools you’ll need to get those two wheels on the road to joyland.
- Tire pump: It goes without saying, but I bet you didn’t think of this. You’ll need this for the first ride; bike tires aren’t often inflated when you get them home, and believe you me I’ve done the walk of shame to the 7-Eleven on Xmas morning. “Not cool dad.”
- Combination wrenches: 8, 9 and 10mm should do the trick, you’ll also use these for other projects. My suggestion would be to buy a box of these with lots of sizes: bikes, trampolines, cubby-houses, toilets, and shelving units use all types of nuts and bolts.
- Tire lever: I’ve never used one but I can certainly see the value of it. I’ve changed plenty of tires with a screwdriver and it ain’t fun.
- Hex or Allen keys: I’ve used these things more than I’ve used a hammer, and all over the house (we’ve owned loads of Ikea furniture).
- Screwdrivers: Lots of fiddly little screws on bikes. Again a good set with 6-10 drivers both flat and phillips are essential.
These should get your kids bike on the road, it’s far from a pro-riders kit as they have all sorts of spoke tools and stuff. When it boils down to it putting your kids 2, 3, or 4 wheeler together you’ll just need the basics, and as you’ll see there’s lots of uses for these things in other places around the house.
Flat packed furniture
Usually when this stuff arrives at your house and you’ll break your way through 15km’s of tape and 8 million heavy staples to find they’ve graciously included one tiny screwdriver, a painfully small allen key and perhaps a sketchy hand slicing wrench. You could settle in and persevere with these inadequate “tools” or get off your rump, trudge to the shed and get some real ones.
- Containers: What? That’s right some small plastic containers are indispensable, just put them out of the way, but in reach, rip all those little plastic bags open and dump the screws, nuts, and weird metal things in there. They’ll be easy to sort and wont end up being lost.
- Both a phillips and flat screwdriver: As stated the one thats likely come in the box will be inadequately painful and likely end in a tantrum.
- A cordless drill with screwdriver bits: It might seem that those fools at Ikea drilled the holes in the wrong spots, but trust me it’s highly unlikely. This is to help you get some of those screws in a little bit quicker.
- Allen keys: The amount of times I’ve built stuff and suffered that tiny malnourished allen key that DIY furniture comes with I cant count, just get a set of decent ones.
- Hammer: Sometimes you need to hammer backboards on or work a stubborn peg into a hole.
- Lots of space: Seriously, clear a big space and keep it clean, there’s nothing worse than fighting a loosing war with detritus.
You should get through most flat packed builds with these basics, you can always raid the tool box for other tools should you need to.
Trampolines and Swings
I have seriously built about 8 trampolines in the past 4 years, thats 2 a year yet it feels far more regular if you were to ask me. Again outdoor equipment comes with some pretty standard and average tools, best to bring your own.
- Allen keys: Well this is a popular theme.
- Set of screwdrivers: Another typical household tool staple.
- Containers: For all the fiddly little pieces.
- Combination wrenches: Every outdoor piece of equipment I’ve ever built comes with a crappy wrench with edges so sharp that seem to have been honed. Get some good quality wrenches and you’ll be sweet.
- Lots of space: This stuff is usually big to huge, best to clear some room, plus most of the time you have to flip stuff over or move it around during the build, you don’t want to be knocking bikes over, or tearing up vegetable gardens.
Again raid your tool box if you need anything extra, the instructions will tell you what you need to bring to the party.
Other household builds/fixes
When it comes to fixing stuff around the house I’m pretty rubbish at it, it takes ages for me to get to it, and when I do it usually takes equally as long for me to finish the job. However with three rambunctious kids I’ve had plenty of things to fix around the house and hone those skills: Walls, toys, furniture, cupboards, crockery, etc.
- Vice grip: this is a great investment as it can do lots of stuff including act like a clamp to hold things in place.
- PVA glue: its a lifesaver and can assist when screwing stuff to add a little more stability to the completed project
- Allen keys
- Screws: get a pack with a variety of different types and sizes, I’ve also started to collect ones from things that I dismantle. Keep the screws, nuts and bolts, you never know when you’ll need them (thats the hoarder in me).
- Cordless drill: Try to keep it charged, or charge it a day before you start your project, seriously it’s like watching paint dry waiting for a drill to charge. Add a set of drill bits for both metal and wood along with screwdriver and hex key attachments.
- Masking tape
- Electrical tape
- Plumbers tape: It’s designed for pipes and tapes and such but recently I used some on the seal of my camel pack as it was leaking, worked like a charm. And yet another dad workaround discovered.
- Space: As above space is a premium when doing stuff.
You could naturally add stuff like: silicon, paint, superglue, etc. but with the above you should get a lot of stuff around the house fixed or built, especially when working on kids toys and furniture.
If I’ve missed anything that you think should be on these lists let me know in the comments below.