It’s Father’s Day here in New Zealand.
The boy-child with his finger stuck in the kitchen tongs.
Being particularly averse to anything that reeks of commercialized sentimentalism, the Big T isn’t really into Father’s Day (or birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc).
Being a teenager and loathe to spend money, the boy-child is similarly averse.
Being me, lover of celebration, festivity and family tradition, I thought it would be nice if we at least had breakfast together “as a family”.
It shouldn’t have to be this hard …
The Big T wanted poached eggs and bacon. I don’t eat meat, and the boy-child doesn’t like poached eggs, so eating breakfast “as a family” was always going to be more about timing than content.
Preparing perfect poached eggs, toast (under the grill cos the slices were too thick for the toaster), bacon, fruit and yogurt for me, plus coffee (one long black, one latte) so that they were all ready at the same time is one of those challenges I haven’t totally mastered, but the boy-child agreed to oversee the bacon. So far, so good.
Somehow, for some reason, he also decided to put his finger through the ring at the top of the kitchen tongs. Apparently he’s done this before. Presumably before his hands grew – in that way that teenagers do grow.
His finger got stuck.
At first I thought he was just being silly and laughed.
Then it was obvious that his finger really was stuck.
I suggested dish-washing liquid to help lubricate the finger. It didn’t work. I was still laughing.
Breakfast was getting close and I needed to remove the bacon from the pan – difficult with the tongs attached to my son’s finger.
The Big T suggested oiling the finger. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but we actually debated what sort of oil to use (and decided on toasted sesame oil).
The Big T twisted and pulled; the boy-child screamed. I used a fork to take the bacon out.
The food was ready, but discussion had already turned to which Emergency Clinic we should take him to and how long it would all take.
Reasons to live with an engineer
As I was serving the food (without tongs), the boys went out to the garage. Minutes passed, with much arguing and verbal anguish. Then the Big T, the boy-child and the body of the tongs returned. The ring was still attached to the finger, but the rest of the tongs had been hack-sawed off. We could eat breakfast.
Not exactly the perfect family meal I had in mind, but at least the food was still vaguely edible. And any notion I’d entertained of enjoyable, meaningful discussion was quickly abandoned. The conversation pretty much centred on whether to use a hacksaw or a dremmel to remove the rest of the tongs.
And the winner is …
The hacksaw. This worked brilliantly, but you have to stop every now and then to pour cold water on the hand because (we discovered this empirically) sawing causes friction, which burns skin.
When I woke up this morning; all I wanted was a chance to let the Big T know that we appreciate him, and to create a nice memory of familial togetherness. It didn’t quite go to plan, but at least this is one Father’s Day he’ll never forget.