Editor’s note: THE FATHER LIFE is pleased to welcome David Paull to our pages. You’ll find his column, Fresh Brood, appearing regularly right here at thefatherlife.com. Leave David a comment and make him feel welcome!
I’m one of those people for whom things are rarely simple. Don’t get me wrong, I like simple. I strive for simple. But the more I seek simple, the more things get complicated. My latest installment of “nothing’s easy” started with what should have been a simple-enough trip to the “big-box” store for my son’s first bicycle. I first considered trying to find one from a private seller online. Then I decided I didn’t really want to risk ending-up dismembered in some guy’s basement and decided to go the safer, albeit ultimately more complicated, retail route.
Things got complicated early on. My son is big for his age, and as a result, he doesn’t fit on the small “first” bikes that readily come with training wheels. Instead, he needs a larger bike, of which there are very few with training wheels. So we find a pretty cool one (sans training wheels) and I proceed down the stuff-to-keep-your kid-from-killing-himself aisle for a helmet and, of course, a pack of after-market training wheels. The bike, by the way, ran me only 80 bucks. My extreme satisfaction over that, however, lasted a very short time.
Everything went rather smoothly down the keep-your-kid-alive aisle. My son picked a pretty sweet-looking orange helmet that fit him quite well and I grabbed a pack of $7.99 training wheels that were supposedly so simple to install, even a one-eyed possum could do it. Now, I should have seen the red-flag waving, because $7.99 seemed awfully inexpensive for training wheels, but I figured, “what the hell.” Well, I got them home, tried to put them on the bike and quickly learned “what the hell?!” It turns out my “so simple even a one-eyed possum could do it” training wheels can still stump a relatively intelligent (term used loosely) guy. Actually, three relatively intelligent guys because I wasn’t exactly silent in my rage and my neighbor buddies came around to see what all the fuss was about. So there we were, three dudes, all of whom have built various things to varying degrees of success in the past, and none of us could figure out how to get those damn training wheels on that damn bike. I later figured out that it was the training wheels, not me, that were defective, but in that moment I finally said f*** it and decided to bail on the whole big-box-bike experiment. But that’s not the end of the story… oh no.
Before I proceed, let me tell you that before going to “big-box” I went to my local bike shop to see what one of their bad-ass bikes would run me. Turns out, a bad-ass bike for a mucho grandé six-year-old will set you back $200 and that was the end of that… or so I thought.
So this is where my “nothing’s simple” life got complicated yet again. After deciding to bag the big-box-bike and training wheels-from-hell I did what I always do – I went for the overly fancy and ridiculously expensive Plan B (which, if I would just accept how I know the story is going to end anyway, could have been an equally expensive, but far less hassle, Plan A). While my wonderful wife agreed to return the bike and accoutrements to “big-box,” I took my son back to the bad-ass bike shop. We selected the wicked-cool, lime green, overly expensive, bad-ass bike and in about two-seconds the nice bike shop pro guy had a spanky set of training wheels installed.
OK, so we finally got home with a bike that: a) fit my son, b) had training wheels that were actually attached properly, and c) looked bad-ass cool. Check, check, and check. Now it was time to ride off into the sunset, right? Wrong.
Read part 2 here: Hell on (Two) Wheels – Part 2
Image credit: Joachim Bär
David Paull is a father of two great kids – Jarod born in 2002 and Samantha born in 2005 – and also runs a small technology firm in Portland, Oregon. When not working or writing, David and his wife enjoy having fun with their kids and exploring new ways to keep their family happy, healthy, and sane. “Fresh Brood” appears regularly on in THE FATHER LIFE and tells stories of the trials and tribulations of raising a brood of one’s own.