My dad likes building stuff. It’s actually one of the coolest things about him. Whereas I design things on paper, then work with people to bring it into reality, he pictures it and then does it himself.
Since I was a kid, my dad has wanted to restore an old Ford pickup truck. He finally set aside time to do it and over the past few months, has been slowly rebuilding a frame from the ground up with his brother. I think he bought the core at some auto auction; I’m not sure. I happened to call about something a few days ago and he asked Aaron and I to stop working for a few minutes to come over and see it.
It seemed like the perfect excuse to take a break and get a cup of coffee, plus I was the only member of the family that had yet to see this now-famous hobby of his, so we jumped in the car and found our way over to the garage where they are doing the work. (I told him that at this rate, I figured we would walk into an abandoned shed like that scene in ‘a Beautiful Mind’ when everyone realizes it was all in Russel Crowe’s head.) Nope, it exists. And it’s awesome.
It’s funny how we get nostalgic about stuff. My dad grew up in Southern California, near San Francisco, where my grandfather owned a demolition company. These would have been the old trucks that were on the highways during his childhood. In his case, it is a modified restoration because it will have all of the modern amenities to which one is accustomed, probably down to the navigation system. He loves hands-on projects, which I think is a huge part of the appeal for him.
I completely see how people get into collecting, restoring, and driving these classic cars. I want a Monopoly car now. I just think it’s cool that he has the ability to do it.
Back in August of last year, he took a few thousand square feet in his house and turned it into a media room, building the whole thing by himself in his spare time as a hobby. He worked with a granite wholesaler, the lumber suppliers, the carpet sellers. After dinners or on weekends, he’d go off by himself to think about his business and work on the hobby. Here were the results of that project:
Maybe that is why I am attracted to project-oriented planning methods; I grew up surrounded by this sort of thing. You identify what you want, you plan it, you begin working that plan, then you evaluate the finished result to see if it conforms with what you wanted. If not, you figure out the reason, then correct it until you are satisfied. It’s all connected.
Though personality is definitely genetic. He tells stories that when I was really young – only a few years old – he took my outside to help him with a project. There was only a few inches of shadow from the overhang on the roof. It was a miserably hot summer day. I scrunched my body up, contorting so that the sun couldn’t touch any part of me as I watched him work. Clearly, the whole manual labor thing wasn’t for me. Instead, he asked if I wanted a Coke and we went back in the house. He, on the other hand, at the same age would grab a paintbrush and help his mother paint their fence in California. So much of who we are is encoded into our personalities before birth.