I bought the net at Target and I had two options. The $19.99 model was for Level I - Beginners. The $29.99 model was for Level II - Intermediate. They didn't have the Level III - Professional and I probably didn't want to know how much it cost.
So since I knew we clearly were not Beginners, I bought the Level II - Intermediate model. We got home and first had to mow the yard (that's when the incident with the neighbor behind us happened - again, saved for another day). Once the boys and I were done mowing, we proceeded to put the Level II - Intermediate net together. You can imagine the type of assembly required, poles that are supposed to fit into other poles and bungie-corded hooks that are supposed to hold the net in place. A net which appeared to be about two sizes too small as we attempted to stretch it into place. Once constructed, the entire assembly is to be held to the ground by hooks which are slid into the ground
Well the poles didn't hold together well and the hooks did not hold the contraption in the ground. I don't know if it's the throwing power of 13 year old boys or just a cheap Level II - Intermediate net. Most likely it has to do with the level of talent of the 13 year old boys (even though The Big Fella could knock it over too).
So I decided to "Aldenize" it. It's important that I explain the term "Aldenize." To Aldenize is to take various parts from around the house and "fix" an item. It's important that various sized screws, miscellaneous pieces of wood, and other items such as rubber bands are used. They must be surplus items, items you did not purchase, and must not look as though they were meant to be together in any single constructed project. The word is taken from my mom's dad whose name was Alden and was a legend for Aldenizing many items in his house. In fact, the table that holds the computer that I am blogging on right now is an Aldenized creation. My wife can attest to its
I took several boards, screws, nuts and bolts and proceeded to afix the net to become a single firm structure, capable of withstanding the pitches of 13 year olds who are probably worthy of a Level III - Professional net.
As I was working on assembling the contraption (that word itself is an Aldenized word of which my mom's side of the family could talk for hours), my youngest, Eddie Joe, came in the shed. He asked if he could help. I told him, "sure."
I asked him to place the washers onto the screws that I was using to attached the net assembly to its new base. As he worked on sliding the screw into the washer, the threads on the screw kept catching on the washer. He kept working on it and I could see his eyes start to move toward mine. As he noticed that I was quietly waiting for the next assembled screw and washer he continued to his task, working diligently to slide the screw into the washer. Finally, he stopped and looked at me and said, "Dad, you're being very patient." I was at first amused at his comment. Then I realized that he was noting a different response from me than normal. He was expecting my normal response of "hurry up, let's go." He was expecting my impatience. In that moment, it was good to enjoy a time where I actually showed patience and enjoyed a quiet, slow moment with one of my kids. It was also in that moment that I was shown, yet again, my need for patience. Once again, I realized how my normal response is to be focused on events and schedules that I think are important, rather than the needs of people. I have a long way to go.
I am thankful that my Heavenly Father exhibits perfect and complete and unwavering patience toward me, never saying, "hurry up, let's go."
As a follow-up, when I took the picture at the top of the blog, I noticed that it now has two big holes in the net. More clear indication that my boys are not Level II - Intermediate type talent, but rather are Level III - Professional type talent.
Here's a picture of Eddie Joe. This was taken when he was working his day job of being a super hero. The world is safe when he is on the job. How could anyone be impatient with a wonderful super hero like him?