A serious lack of spatial awareness has caused me problems and made me look a right numpty throughout my life. So what is spatial awareness then? Google defines it as “an organized knowledge of objects in relation to oneself in that given space.” Well, that might as well have said, “rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.” My own definition is, “Seeing how stuff goes together and fits.”That’s much easier isn’t it. Basically, my brain just has difficulties computing how things go together, fit etc. I can put together some flat pack furniture but it will take me 5 times as long as it should, mainly due to everything being back to front or upside down 27 times. It’s not just spatial awareness, anything DIY scares me. I didn’t even attempt hanging a picture on a wall until I was in my mid twenties and even then they were always about a foot out of place.
Before I got married I lived with a friend for about 5 years. It worked really well; I cooked, cleaned, did all the house admin and he did the DIY stuff and any repairs. With my track record there were a lot of those including a smashed wall in the bathroom, (don’t ask).
When I got married I was secretly hoping Rachel would be a dab hand at DIY herself but sadly she’s even worse than me and has less spatial awareness so nothing ever gets done or repaired here. We’ve had to call people out when appliances have stopped working only to discover a plug had come out without us realising. I’m telling you, it’s an expensive issue.
I think my crowning (un) glory was putting together a basketball set for the garden. The girls (but mainly me) had wanted one since we moved house and after a LOT of research, mainly due to my obsessive nature we ordered one. It then sat in the corner unopened for two weeks until Katie came to me begging that I put it together as she wanted to play with it before bed. I looked at her straight in the eyes and said, “Katie, I promise I will build it tonight for you.” My girls know that when I say I promise I’m telling the truth / will definitely do what I say so this was it.
I checked the instructions and it said it should take two people 30 mins so an hour on my own. Perfect, it was 7pm so Katie could have a quick play on it before bed. I should have realised it wasn’t going to be that easy when I a) Saw how many screws, bolts etc there were and b) Read the bit where it said, “Have one person hold the end whilst you screw in bolts 27” I cracked on and progress was slow, very slow. Two hours later I had completed less than half and Katie sadly accepted that she wouldn’t be using it. I reassured her that it would definitely be built as promised so she could play with it before school in the morning.
It was now dark in the garden and my eyesight’s a bit rubbish so things were getting a bit challenging. It was the bit where the second person had to hold the other end of the main pole. I had to balance the end very precariously on my outstretched legs whilst attempting to fit the bolts from underneath the pole whilst laying on the grass. One slip later and the pole fell onto my head, probably causing a mild concussion but that wasn’t going to stop me. An hour later the bolts were in and I was getting there. The board was then finished and I finally completed my masterpiece at 11.35pm. Four and a half hours but I’d done it and I felt proud. I went to bed feeling good and excited about the girls seeing it in the morning.
They came running downstairs and outside giggling excitedly like it was Christmas. Sorry, this was the next day not 11.35pm as that would be very bad parenting. They grabbed the basketball, looked at the net, looked at me and sightly confused said, “Daddy it looks weird.” Looking up, my heart sunk as I realised to my horror that I’d put the board upside down. To be fair, that was the bit that was done in complete darkness and after I had my possible slight concussion.
I reassured them that I’d correct my mistake and they could play after school. An hour and a half later it was done and I proudly threw my first basket ball at our beautiful new net. Amazingly, it went straight in, bounced onto the weighted stand and hit the window. Hold on, hit the stand? My heart sank again so it was now around my knees somewhere. I’d put the stand back to front so it was facing forwards instead of behind the net. AAgghh! The whole lot had to be undone but unperturbed I set about my task with renewed vigour and determination. Two hours later it was done, and it was correct, perfect and I was a happy man.
Final job was to fill the stand with sand and water to keep it from flying away. Twenty kilos of sand and lots of water later it was filled and finished. I stood back to admire my handiwork and perhaps my biggest challenge……..Wait, why is sandy water leaking everywhere? The stand had developed a big crack and was hemorrhaging a serious amount of it all over the patio. I wanted to cry but the whole experience had somehow frozen my ability to do so. Instead I wept internally and ate lots of chocolate. After speaking to the company we bought it from the whole lot went back and I got a refund. The worst part about it all, it was actually too big for the space we had so wasn’t really practical anyway. These days we just stick to playing Monopoly Empire and watching Marvel films, much less frustrating.
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