Monday, August 8, 2016


   Uncle Kirk hasn't gotten a lot of press around here. We've all been waiting for him to do something noteworthy. He hasn't yet, but I've at least found a way to connect him to my increasingly awesome life.

Kirk and Ashley, with my nephew Bruin. Kirk is sporting a fetching green Cowbucker, while Bruin shows solidarity with the camera.

   Kirk, you'll remember, got all of his groomsmen and none of his brothers-in-law some sweet longboards as gifts for his wedding. They were pretty impressive. We even have video of Wyatt trying one out, but here's a picture circa 2014 to melt your heart:

Kirk is in the background somewhere, about to get married or something.

   Well, last Christmas Kirk totally crushed his Wyatt present, making him THIS:

Kirk made the board, and gave him the helmet and pads for Christmas. It now tops the charts for "Best Gift Ever Given To Wyatt," which used to belong to Ashley. The order now goes like this: 1) Kirk (skateboard); 2) Ashley (book); 3) Cara (life).

   It's a stupidly cool gift. Kirk has always wanted to get Wyatt into Star Wars. Really, young kids everywhere. Really, anyone, everywhere. So he has some hyperspace action happening on the board around the name and this is basically the sweetest thing ever. (Kirk also loaned us the Star Wars DVD's, and sometimes Wyatt says "Dad I have an idea, let's watch STAR WARS THIS SUMMER." It's now August, we've watched some Star Wars, and it's still his plan for the summer.)

   Actually, it's so cool that Wyatt has no idea how cool it is. And the prospect of riding a skateboard is a bit daunting for him right now. I'm getting nervous that he's not going to learn to skate until he's too big for the board, and then we will have to place it on the wall above his bed and that's still pretty dang sweet. In the meantime, I might track down a longboard so he and I can skate together.

   So, if you are keeping track at home, Kirk has now made boards for his groomsmen and his nephew but none of his brothers-in-law. So I felt the need to take matters into my own hands. Quite literally. If Kirk wouldn't make me a board, I'd have to make me one myself, darn it. So this started:

The guy on your left is Josh. He built, or at least helped Kirk build, all of the boards that Kirk has claimed credit for over the years. I called him up and we started building a paddle board. Josh makes lots of boards as a hobby under the name Forgiven Boards, and I am sure that the little plug I just shot him will get him tons of business. He's currently building a surfboard for a dude in California that I plan to steal before he puts it in the mail.

This is about as much help as Wyatt ever was. In the above two pictures, we are gluing the side rails to the board after having cut and glued the ribs and spine to the bottom skin.
   Josh and I were floating the river one day. It was in June of 2015. He is always talking boards with people, and I tell him my wife would like me to make her a paddle board or else the love is gone forever. He was down.

   In August I called him and we got started. He was thinking it'd take a few months. In July I got on the water. (seriously). A few things happened that caused it to take so long: 1) I found blueprints for the largest paddle board ever. It actually needs to be registered as a boat in 7 different states. 2) We were only able to work about once a week, and each time we got to work we had to figure out where we left off, which wasted about 12 minutes per session. 3) Spring. Man, spring time was busy for us.

   Josh and I had a great time working together, and I learned a ton. When it was time to get the board wet, I was nervous and wanted to be careful and didn't want to it get damaged, so I knew just where I wanted the maiden voyage to take place:

Funny story: I still don't have a paddle for my stand up paddle board.
   Here are some cool pictures of the final product:

What's crazy is how tall the board is, knowing that I AM SEVEN FEET TALL.

Which... I guess... makes Wyatt a 5 FOOT TALL 4 YEAR OLD.


Cara spent a lot of time upset with me for making a sit-down paddle board. She's the best.
   The board is lots of fun to play on, and moves and floats wonderfully. If you are wondering how to make a paddle board, here are the steps:

1) Start sanding. Everything. Just, take my word for it and sand.
2) Go online and find a blueprint you want to follow. Print up the blueprint, buy the wood (cedar) and glues you'll need. Sand all of these things.
3) Have a friend who builds boards and has all the tools. Go to his house a lot and do what he tells you to.
4) Wear ear protection.
5) Sand the board. Several times. You've not yet sanded enough. Sand it more. If you feel like you are done sanding, this means you are halfway done with all of the sanding you'll have to do. The wood will feel so soft when you are done sanding that you want to make a pillow out of it.
6) Glue, stain, fiberglass, apply polymer finish, sand.
7) Realize that you still need to buy things like a fin, a paddle, a life jacket, groceries, and life insurance. Don't panic.
8) Be prepared to act like you built the thing, even though Josh did. Tell the right stories, discuss the tricks and things to be careful of, try to use technical terms that you don't really understand.
9) Pretend like that bug didn't fall onto the board while you were fiber-glassing, and that you can't always see it forever when on the board.

   Thus ends the tale of the paddle board. I am so relieved its over and have really enjoyed playing on it and making it. Wyatt loves to float with me, Cara will one day stand on it, I'm sure, and Lincoln doesn't know what's going on ever, so his opinion on the point is not very interesting. But most of all, thanks to Kirk for having a friend named Josh who was willing to put up with me for nearly a year long process. Way to go Kirk. And Josh. And Grant. Mostly Grant, probably.

My mood: proud and content
Wyatt's mood: wants to play Spider-Man tag
Link's mood: sick and fussy and teething and growing pains and ugh.
Cara's mood: working too hard.
Listening to: The Shins.

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