Progress continues, slowed a little by my dealing with a migraine that took me down this morning. We didn’t really get going until afternoon, and by then it was already more than 100F out there. Slowly, slowly. Patience, and lots of liquid, and then my friend handing me about 32 oz of delicious iced coffee while we sat watching my son mow & mulch and we chatted.
The titular cuts are how many four foot long perfectly straight cuts my son had to make with a circular saw for the wainscoting installation to be optimal. It is a pleasure to watch him picking up skills, and tools, and learning to use them as he goes. Yesterday was his first try at a pneumatic nail gun (why yes, there was a little masculine giggle of glee once he got the hang of it!) and today was learning how to make a guided cut on hardboard. Including cutting out neat little rectangles for outlets.
As I watched him learn how best to use a jigsaw to create those holes in the board, I pointed out to him he was actually doing applied calculus. He learned rapidly that the spade bit would do awful things to the pre-coated hardboard wainscoting material, so he’d cut that hole into the central area, then carefully make shallow curves with the jig, until finally he was able to make a straight neat line. He could see how it worked, of course, but calculus would give him the language to express that, should he ever need to move beyond the grasped skill to the theoretical.
He also learned that sometimes measuring the window, then calculating where trim is going… doesn’t work that way. The trim on that first window in the bedroom is rather wonky. He stepped back “I can take that down and cut more pieces to make it right.”
“No! I want it just that way. This is your learning window, and in 20 years I’ll show it to you and you’ll see how how far you have come.”
It’s not in public. I don’t care – in fact, it makes me a little happy to see it, because it will always remind me of these hot days, learning and teaching and working on our home together. The First Reader has limited home renovation experience. We call him in for expertise (how would you handle this recessed outlet box…?) but mostly he’s been relaxing and helping by fixing a meal now and again. I’m getting to teach my last chick how to make a nest, before he flies off to get his own in order.
I may not be able to teach him calculus. But I can show him how to use it. He can cut a straight line with a saw, and paint a smooth coat of paint on a wall, and troubleshoot making a level edge on wainscoting. Today, that’s enough. Tomorrow? The First Reader takes over teaching duty, reaching back into his past. You see, we’re renting a floor buffer…