Have you ever gone to the home improvement store as a kid and played? How about as a dad with your own kids? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both questions, I am talking to the right audience.
My wife had to go grocery shopping again (see Episode 12 Playground). Coincidentally, there was a Lowe’s Build and Grow® workshop at the exact same time that I persuaded her to buy food. Yes, it was a stroke of luck that it just so happened to work out that way. Truly.
“How about if I take the older boys to Lowe’s and you take the others with you?” I asked.
“That’s fine. It will go faster anyway. I’ll pick you up an hour when I’m done.” She replied.
“I sure hope so, otherwise we’ll have to hijack a Lowe’s racecar shopping cart to drive home. And that would look awfully silly.”
The sarcasm was unnecessary and it nearly landed us in the grocery store. Mental note for next time. [Sarcasm leads to Shopping]. Got it.
After the drop, the three of us B-lined to the lumber aisle and tore open our pull-back racer kits. Immediately, I was stumped.
“Paso 1, Abra el kit.”
“Boys, I’m out! I can’t read this! It’s written in hieroglyphics!” As I motioned to leave.
“Dad, turn the paper over! You’re reading the Spanish side.” My wise-beyond-his-years son said.
I turned the paper over,
“Step 1, Open the kit… Oh. My bad.”
Now, we were getting somewhere. I called off the retreat and pressed into the project with the boys. My older son did his own car and I supervised my 4-year-old as he swung the miniature Lowe’s hammer like a jackhammer.
Shortly after construction, two race cars, two boys, and one dad left the lumber aisle strutting our stuff and ready to give the Tim Allen growl. We had 40 minutes left until pick-up. Crisis time. What would we do? Do we go outside and wait? Thus, I consulted the Dadnamics Manual…
Section II, Article 5, Paragraph 1: “Thou shall not leave the hardware store without consulting the PVC aisle and, possibly, the underbelly of the product racks.”
The next 40 minutes were spent turning Lowe’s into a FAO Schwarz, minus the giant foot piano. We played carousel of doors in the ‘Windows & Doors‘ section, then we conducted a pull-back racer Grand Prix in the light fixtures aisle. The 4-year-old destroyed his older brother, so the older retreated into “The Cave”.
We followed him in, realizing that the underbelly of Lowe’s was a lot of fun. We crawled and sprawled and gnawed (actually scratch the gnawing part). Have you ever gone under the shelves in the hardware store? Truthfully, have you ever… wanted to? I felt like Gollum looking for ‘My Precious‘.
Our final stop was the plumbing section. Now, in full disclosure. I stink at plumbing (pun intended). Therefore, I would not be seen actually buying equipment or parts there. But playing – that’s a different story.
We quickly found the LEGO® aisle or what the signs seemed to read ‘PVC’. No way! They were giant curved LEGO® pieces. The boys made quick work with their Master Builder status that they were awarded after the 5th viewing of the LEGO® movie.
At the end of the video, Kolby had an idea to communicate via PVC. It was a rather effective landline telephone as I heard him loud and clear. It was so loud that I heard the bells ringing in the store (could have been in my head though).
“MISTER CARFAGNO AND FAMILY, PLEASE REPORT TO THE SERVICE DESK.”
This absolutely happened. We were paged. I had NEVER been paged before in a store. We put back our PVC and found Mama waiting patiently out front. Adventure over. Dadnamics Manual… followed to a tee.
Along his journey from artist to engineer to entrepreneur, Ken Carfagno became a dad. And like many new dads, his kids inspired a long-forgotten gift. Ken could make up stories and draw his kids into them. This sparked a dream that lead to Dadnamics, the infusion of creativity, adventure, and silliness into dad time. And it lead to the Arctic Land experience.