Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Penguins and Poles and the Tenacity of My Resolve

Can we join Club Penguin? When can we join Club Penguin? We’ll pay for it. Can we join Club Penguin after dinner?

This is only the tip of the penguin-topped iceberg. I’ve been hearing about Club Penguin for days. I’m sick of Club Penguin. But I marvel at my son’s tenacity. I suppose I should be more understanding and tolerant of it. He has the same form of tenacity that I do.

I’m not certain when or how I developed my stick-to-itiveness. I suppose if you wanted to call it stubborness, you can say I inherited it genetically via my Belarussian roots. Obviously, my children inherited too. If they want something, say a toy or to go see a certain movie, they hold on with such resolve. It’s like watching a dog with a bone.

In this regard, my kids are a lot like me. And don’t you dare tell us we’re not capable of doing something. That’s how I ended up an airline pilot. “The airlines are all laying off pilots, you’ll never get a job.” “You have an aptitude for engineering. You should be an engineer.” I was fourteen. The only kind of engineering I understood concerned the guy who drove the train. “Why would you want to be a pilot? Women aren’t pilots.” “No one will marry you if you’re a pilot.” “You won’t be able to have a family if you’re a pilot.” Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Sometimes stubbornness--I mean tenacity, has its rewards.

Another example would be my telephone pole, a favorite reminder of the adage, “feel free to keep telling me what I’m doing is impossible, while you sit there and watch me do it.” Whenever I’m at the sink doing dishes, my telephone pole makes me happy.

When we bought our house, it didn’t have a garage. No big deal, we thought, we’ll build one. But the telephone pole was right where the overhead door should be. As we got estimates, all the sales guys told me we’d have to put in a two-car garage. But we wanted a three-car garage. One guy made the mistake of saying they used to move telephone poles, but not anymore. That was the Danley guy, busy doing a hard-sell, and he wanted me signing a contract for a two-car garage right that minute.

But he’d given me an idea. That it might be possible to move the pole. I told him I’d get back to him as soon as we got all the estimates in. “You can do that, but then it wouldn't be a Danley garage.” He exhaled out the sentence with such a pompous sigh, it took a lot of control to not scream, “Get out of my kitchen!”

I called ComEd. Yes, we move poles. Where do you want it? (I don’t know why I was so surprised; the house was here before the electricity.) I called AT&T. Yes, we ‘ll move our stuff to the new pole, but it’ll cost you.

Compared to the price of a new garage, compared to the added resale value of a three vs. two-car garage, AT&T’s fee felt reasonable. My only regret is that I’ll never see the look on the Danley guy’s face if he ever happens to drive past our three-car, Steele & Loeber garage, to find that telephone pole sitting twenty-five feet to the south.

Whenever I feel my resolve start to waiver, my husband kindly points out I single-handedly moved a fifty-foot telephone pole.

I try to remember I’m capable of that kind of resolve, as I sign my boys up for Club Penguin.

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