Parental Corner Cutting

Posted on Sunday, March 27, 2011 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

Three is a magical age when it doesn't matter to a child where their new toy came from, or even if it's new.

This morning as I approached the end of my paper route, I came upon a motorized, kid-sized Gator (those oversized go-karts that people use to drive around fairgrounds and farms and stuff when they want to drive a go-kart but have to act like they're doing work). My curiosity was piqued, but when I saw the "Free" sign on it I was sold.

I set about trying to shove it in my trunk, mostly failed, tried my back seat, really failed, and went back to the trunk. After taking a screwdriver to the plastic windshield I'd jammed most of the front end in. I found a piece of twine I had in my car and used it to tie the hood of the trunk down, though I couldn't reach anything solid with the other end so I just tied it to my heavy post driver. Somehow this shoddy job last all the way to the next town over when I stopped to get some gas and realized I could use my tow strap to better tie everything down. Now confident I wouldn't lose it the rest of the way home I set out.

When I got back I took it out and set it in the yard where I knew Emmy could see it from the window, then went up to grab another hour or two of sleep while the wife and kid were still doing so. Emmy woke me up a little bit later and I told her I had a surprise for her. We went downstairs and I pointed it out to her from inside. From then on the day became about making sure it worked for her to give it a test drive later.

I went out and tore open the back end to make sure the motors were actually turning still. They were, but once the wheels touched the ground it wasn't really going very far. So I found the battery and set to work finding a way to recharge it without any of the plugs and accessories it would have come with brand new. After several hours of stripping an old fan cord and finding electrical connectors that could fit down into the plug, I'd fashioned a make-shift charging cord. I grabbed the car battery charger, set it to the lowest setting, and hooked it up.

After an hour of charging Emmy was ready to go outside and the battery was ready for testing. I shoved it back in and pressed the pedal: It took off. Emmy quickly got adjusted to driving it and was shifting into reverse and drive like a pro.

Some parents can go out and pay the likely 200 or so dollars that one of those things would cost, but I have to cut corners. When those parents set it in their yard with a "Free" sign because they lost the charging cable, I snatch it up and begin work. It still brought a smile to Emmy's face even if it was slightly used. Maybe when she's a teenager something like that won't fly, but for now we had a fun day with a new toy for absolutely no money. It's a win-win for me.

2 Response to "Parental Corner Cutting"

Anonymous Says....

You are an awesome father!!! Although a pic of Emmy riding it would have been great.

Alex R. Cronk-Young Says....

I took some but I didn't send them to photobucket before I turned my phone off and plugged it in. Otherwise they would be up on this post. I'll probably add them in later, for posterity's sake.

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