When I was growing up, my dad would always involve me in his projects. Sometimes it was as simple as painting fence posts; other times it was driving the posts, stretching the wire over multiple acres, electrifying it and hanging gates. We’ve built koi ponds, fixed cars and constructed horse stalls. One of my favorite memories with him is making an Athena-themed wooden shield for a school project on Greek mythology. We got an A+.
Of course, I wasn’t always thrilled to be holding the flashlight or passing the drill in these scenarios. But when I’d start staring blankly into space, he’d bring me back down to Earth, saying, “I can help you now, but one day you might marry a man who isn’t handy, so you need to know how to do these things.”
Cut to today, and he was right. My husband, Zack, didn’t grow up like my dad, who was raised to fix what’s broken and never pay someone else to do what you could do for yourself. Zack has taught himself plenty of handyman skills now that we’re homeowners, but his No. 1 skill has always been harnessing the power of the Internet.
If knowledge, a person or a product exists online, Zack can find it. He’s in charge of all the technology in our house and has signed us up for grocery delivery subscriptions, dog-walking services while we’re out of town, and more. Recently my dad visited to help us resurface our porch, and mid-demo he mentioned wanting a burger. Zack whipped out his favorite tool—his iPhone—and set about ordering lunch for us all on Uber Eats. Meanwhile, my dad was measuring, sawing and placing more tongue-and-groove boards. Zack went back to watching and learning while we waited on the burgers to arrive.
A few days before my dad got into town, he called and asked if Zack could get out the drill and take the lattice off the base of the house to examine the boards under the porch. I said, “Why should I wait for him to do it? I know where the drill is.” Dad laughed, remembering his own words from all those projects before.
With all the apps and services available to my generation now, there’s a lot we can outsource and not have to do for ourselves anymore. Rebuilding my own front porch with my dad was a reminder of our many projects growing up, and now Zack and I both get the chance to keep learning from my dad. Also, I think my old man was just as happy to learn from us that you can pay someone to bring you burgers.