Dad and the huge cage in the basement…

Years ago, in that big house on Clifton Blvd. where we grew up, I was greeted by my Dad coming up out of the basement with such a smile on his face and a look of accomplishment saying, “Well, I finally did it!  There’s no way that dog can get into those clean clothes now!” 

Now keep in mind that my father had acquired a huge green formica topped table, he then hacksawed off half of the lead pipe legs to make it really short to get it down the basement steps. He somehow managed to squeeze it through that side door and down those steps.  The thing was huge. It must have been 4 foot across by about 12 foot long. He had some friends that were in the dry cleaning business and I suspect when they remodeled their facility Daddy jumped at their huge laundry table. Well what had seemed like a good idea soon became the catch-all for any and everything in the basement. And with a family of 8 daughters and 1 son the tides that surged back and forth across that table with every change of the season. The only consistent thing was the dog. My nephew had a little pug named “Ty” who just loved to snuggle up in those clean clothes. And every night that pug would be put into the basement for the night so it wouldn’t go all over the house.

The only problem there was once it got tired of being kept on that cold cement basement floor so “Ty” figured a way to jump into those clothes. Dad couldn’t figure it out, I mean after all the table top was at least 3 1/2 feet off the ground. There was simply no way that tiny pug could jump that far.  At least that’s what Dad thought. And he was right. Ty simply “thought it out” and climbed the stairs and leaped into those warm clothes. Once my Father figured out that was how he did it the race was on. Just like outsmarting the Raccoons, Dad was going to crack this case and keep that damn dog out of his laundry.

Well Dad’s solution was ingenious, and very profitable for Home Depot, I’m sure. Start with a few 2×4’s, make a frame 12 foot by 4 foot  and make it 1 foot deep. Now run chicken wire all around the sides. Make a frame top covered with chicken wire and set the lid so that it opens and closes with a pulley system involving a sand filled bleach bottle. You get the picture. All this in defense of a dog the size of a big rat.  A giant chicken wire box to keep the dog out and the clean clothes safe.

I still think Ty would occasionally stand on the top and pee just to get even with Dad.

But what was worse occasionally the pulley didn’t work or jammed or  whatever and Dad’s mechanically challenged daughters and grandchildren would all stand around cursing our captive clothes. I’d swear I could hear that dog snicker…it had a kind of asthma where you could hear it breathe. Eerie!?!  And I can’t tell you over the course of years how many of us hit our heads on that damn thing. I can only imagine the scar tissue aquired to this day. But at least he kept the dog out, kind of…

I did notice shortly after the academic challenge of the basement, Dad started talking to Ty when they were alone together. And finally he actually started greeting the little guy everytime he went to the basement. He was just amazed that the dog figured it out. I think he was proud of him.

This reminds me of a story about my husband’s Dad. This happened years ago when Bill tried to get a loose dead branch out of that giant Oak tree that stands still in front of his childhood home in Lakewood. That tree is over 80 feet tall and towers over Westwood Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. Well Bill, (Dave’s Dad) tied some twine around a hammer and threw the hammer up into the tree to snag the branch. Well it got stuck so Bill pulled and pulled and darned if that hammer didn’t come back flying at him. At this point his son (my Dave) suggested perhaps a tennis ball with an eyehook screwed into it tied onto twine and pitched into the tree would work… with the thinking that if that thing comes back and hits us it’s not gonna hurt as much.

But the best was their garage. Why does every Dad do battle with the structure of the Garage and the permits required by City Hall? Well, they had this old warped garage out back that had shimmeyed and shammied and warped itself out of all proportion. The side walls were bowed, similar to a cowboys legs. Well , Bill had just the fix for this. He recruited his boys help. Both Tom and Dave where there for the great straightening out attempt.

What they did was this, they put heavy-duty hooks in each wall opposite each other and then attached a tool called a “come-along” (already this sounds bad).

The tool had a ratchet handle with cable with hooks at each end and you attach the hook to another hook then the other hook so your finally standing in the middle of the garage with cables attached to each hook…then you crank the handle slowly to draw the cable ends toward each other …thus pulling the “bow” out of the wall.

How do you say; LOTS OF TENSION.

Well, with the last twist something snapped and the three of them took off running out of there as fast as they could. “Upon further review”,  from the front yard they could see the garage was still as crooked when they started. Ah, but now there were handy hooks on the wall to hang things from….except 1 hook…that was totally straightened out.

All this to straighten one hook. Guys and Dads…you gotta love ’em.

3 responses to “Dad and the huge cage in the basement…

  1. Just read this one again, and it still cracks me up. 🙂

  2. Dad gave my brother the assignment of tearing down a garage. He went from outside in, got all the way to the last supporting 4 x 4 post in the center. Knocked that down and ran for his life.

    Fun article, Sheila.

    • Carol,
      I laughed so hard I had to go find those damn tissues. You are the best and thanks for the kudos on writing. I was looking at and just love you writing also. That was a wonderful piece on spring and Pisces (all my favorite people). But that comment here about your brother just left me in stitches…Thanks Carol!


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