It was late one night, getting close to bed time. It must have been 8:12 pm – 8:15 pm when the phone rang. It was from the oldest grandson who started by asking how Nana was. Now you know nothing good can come from a phone call from your grandson that starts with” “How are you”? Then I heard the dreaded: “Is Papa there”? Shit I was in deep doo-doo! It turns out that the eldest grandson had seen a video on how to convert a jon boat into a bass boat! Now how the eldest grandson came into possession of a jon boat is a story for which there are just not enough screen pixels to express! But all he needed was for me to watch the videos and give him some advice. By now I am holding the phone with one hand and beating myself with the other to keep from screaming.
But I promised to watch the videos and get back with the eldest grandson. And I soon discovered from the videos that no young man or boy had ever performed a jon to bass boat conversion. Instead they had suckered their father or worse their grandpa to do the work for them. Further it would cost more than pocket change to buy the materials for the conversion. And I knew that the eldest grandson was already deep in debt for gas money and shiny fishing lures. Then like a broken Liberty Bell clanging in my head, the thought sprang into being of: “What would Papa do”?
Why Papa would turn this to his advantage! So I talked to eldest grandson about what it would take in both time and money to convert his jon boat. And since he did not have the money for the materials, I would loan him the money. And I would help him with the work on the boat. In exchange, he could repay me by painting my fence and shed at $10 per hour. And he had to promise to complete the painting. Ooooo visions of Walleye, giant striped bass and small mouth passed before the youngster’s glazed eyes. I smiled and set the hook.
Well the conversion of the jon boat to bass boat turned out to be a really nice job. He learned a lot and I enjoyed the company. And it turned out that the eldest grandson talked his brother, the next to eldest grandson, into helping him with work. Somewhere I have a picture of the two of them on that boat fishing and putting a two-inch blue gill on the stringer. But, alas, all fun must end and payback must start.
I purchased 5 gallons of paint, brushes, and rollers at the local big box and proudly presented them to the eldest grandson. True to his word he lit like a man possessed into painting that fence. Soon it became apparent that I would have to pay him a whole lot more than I owed him and it would take a whole lot more of paint.
When the noon day sun was shining down on his back he decided to take a break (actually he went to his Nana to ask for her to cook lunch for him). Then that young man asked if it was be okay for his brother to help him paint the fence for $10 per hour? That young man has been listening to his Papa too much. He was scheming to collect $10 per hour from me, pay his brother $7.50 per hour, and pocket the rest! As much as I appreciated the deviousness; I had to have the fence painted on the square. So there are the two of them painting the fence and shed. It does look nice, doesn’t it.
Along the way I learned that I really need to better think the time and materials required for grandkids to complete a project. If my $20 trim brushes end up like a contestant in an ugly dog contest, it is my fault for not teaching them how to properly clean paint brushes. If the steps to the shed have paint spots on them, then I just need to have the steps painted too. Heck seventy years of living and I am still learning.
And along the way the two of them learned even more. They learned that keeping promises is not always easy; but they did keep them. They learned that going into debt can place you in a position that you may not like. Now they shy away from me like a leper if I try to loan them money for a date or something. And they learned that even brothers can have fun together and enjoy one another’s company.
Best grand I ever spent!!!!