hero_coreToday was a busy day. I think that I have finally started to cast off the shroud of fatigue left over from my life as a working stiff and started to transform into a productive hausmann. I took old clothes to Goodwill. I sold some board games that I haven’t played in years. We did our daily swimming lessons and such. Productivity abounded, but most important, I rescued a lost Lego piece.

The little man decided that he wanted to bring along one of his ‘dudes’ while went to the donation station. Since the flow of least resistance is my usual goal, I agreed. We have done this a few times before without any problem, carting his oversize Lego action figures with us to the grocery store. Today’s trip started out even more smoothly, with the crocodile monster managing not to be a burden of any sort.

We walked. It is about a half mile or so to the donation station and we walked at a nice pace. I carried a pair of grocery bags full of old clothes and the little man carried his dude. We talked and he blew up imaginary foes as usual. The problem didn’t occur until we were nearly there. We had just finished crossing the street when he pulled away and I realized that he had dropped the dude.

I set down my bags quickly and maneuvered the small child away from the busy corner. I snatched up his toy, but as I did so, something worse came into view. The dude had fallen onto a storm drain at the corner. Down in its depths, I could see a piece. A bright orange translucent piece that had popped off and fallen in.

Starting with a bit of damage control, I assured my boy that we could retrieve the piece. I asked him to wait and then I waited myself for the traffic to pass. Once the coast was clear I gave the grate a tug, just to see if I could get it out, but it wouldn’t oblige. I suspect that it was bolted in place, or merely stuck fast with grime. That meant that it would have to be a more elaborate rescue.

We dropped off our donations and I asked if the attendant could give me a wire hangar. He apologetically explained that he couldn’t give me ‘anything.’ That made sense, considering, so we had to hustle home to get tools. The little man apologized profusely, even as I explained that I wasn’t angry. This was the kind of natural accident that comes from leaving the house.

We got home and I grabbed what I needed. I managed to find the last wire coat hanger in the house. With a pair of needle nose pliers, I tried to straighten it out. It broke. Okay, plan C. I grabbed a pack of gum and we went outside to where I grabbed a length of bamboo that I had noticed a few days before. I gave one piece of gum to the boy, who loves gum, and told him to chew it, but not swallow.

As we walked back, I chewed the other piece of gum. I also began to worry. Would our sugar-free gum be sticky enough to accommodate my scheme? I could only hope. We got back to our fateful corner and I collected our gum. I mashed the two wads together and stuck them firmly to the end of the stick. It took a while for the traffic to pass and give us an opening. Then it was the moment of truth.

I stepped to the edge and put my stick down into the grate. The light was good and I could see the piece clearly. I managed to spear it with my first try, and it stuck tight. It banged a bit on the bars as I pulled it free, but there was no Hollywood moment of fail, where it fell back into the depths.

The piece was recovered. My son spoiled me with praise. I had a healthy glow of success was we walked home. I’d managed to be a good dad.