There is an easy way of doing things, and there is a difficult way of doing things. And then there is the Prairie Family way of doing things: the hardest way possible! This is a general principle in our house, and nothing proves it to be more true than when we make our annual set of pinewood derby cars!
This year we cut back a little. Last year we ended up making 11 cars by the time we made all of our usual mistakes. We only had 7 cars for 2012. Yes, we are really slacking off! Ugh! I would say, though, that we have our method down. That doesn’t mean that it always goes smoothly or that it accomplishes much, but we do have a method. Other families can make their cars the night before the race, and their cars look nice and run well. Not us. No, we spend DAYS and DAYS on these silly things, and sometimes they run well, and sometimes they don’t.
Each year it seems that we have at least one car that is a “pickle.” This year was no exception to that although it took a while to show itself. It ended up being Cosette’s car. She had planned on having a ladybug car ever since last year’s race. We had thought through the process of doing a cute paint job and thought we had it all figured out. Unfortunately, sometimes plans don’t work out in the real world like we expect. She and I worked together on that ladybug, but the paint just wouldn’t work. It smudged, smeared, and just made a mess! So, Dan came to the rescue and sanded her car back down to the bare wood to start all over again. Because the race was approaching quickly, we decided to scrap the ladybug plan and do something easier. Cosette is really into cupcakes, so she decided to make a cupcake-themed car.
So, back to the beginning we went with primer, PINK paint, acrylic sealer, and the whole nine yards. We used some cupcake stickers for the main decorations, but then we added a rick-rack stripe on the side with a cake decorator’s bag at the top of it to make it look like it was squeezing out the rick-rack. It ended up being pretty cute, but our troubles had only begun…..
For some unknown reason, we just couldn’t get the wheels on Cosette’s little car! We put them on, tried rolling it, saw that it went crooked, took them off, put them back on, etc. We had used graphite to lubricate the wheels, and while we were working with the car, the graphite got EVERYWHERE! Her cute cupcake car was a complete MESS! Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy. We finally got the wheels on, and then when we put the glue on to hold the axles, it got onto the tires. Yes, you guessed it: we had to start over AGAIN on those silly wheels! We pulled them off, and washed them off. Well, since they were no longer lubricated, I thought it might be best just to use the tires originally planned for my car on Cosette’s car. After all, they were all polished and lubricated. So, my tires went on her car, and my car ended up with two of her old tires and two random tires that had no prepping at all.
That was STILL not the end of the story, though. That cupcake car was just a mess! Graphite was everywhere! I told Cosette not to worry, and that we’d figure out some way of working it out. What I didn’t know was that she went and prayed that God would help us fix her cupcake car. At that very moment (I am not exaggerating), an idea popped into my head: how do I get pencil marks off of the walls? With Magic Erasers! Pencil is, after all, graphite also! So, I carefully tried washing off some of the graphite with one of those Magic Erasers, and….it worked! Unfortunately, some of the stickers and all of the white rick-rack were beyond hope, though. So, Cosette and I carefully peeled off those parts, washed the graphite off of the pink car and replaced the decorations the day before the race. She was absolutely delighted that God had answered her prayer and had helped me know how to fix her problems! Thank you, Lord!
So, the lessons learned this year: problems can be fixed with a little creativity, patience, and prayer; there is value in craftsmanship, not just speed; don’t use light-colored paint because the graphite makes a real mess! 🙂
So, how did the cars do? That will be the subject of my next entry.
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