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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on June 22nd, 2010, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 11, Issue 15 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 11, Issue 15

Derby drama

Krider races to get his kid's car done for the races

By ROB KRIDER


FILE PHOTO
Summertime is upon us, which means one thing at my house: All American Soap Box Derby. This is the time of year when I spend every waking moment in the garage trying not to puncture my own hand with a nail gun as I attempt to build the world’s fastest gravity-powered racecar. Wait, I meant to say, “This is the time of year when my kids build their soap box derby cars and I just guide them in the right direction and make sure they are using the power tools in a safe manner.” In reality, the only guiding I do for them is to the refrigerator to fetch their dad another cold one. “Hurry up with that beverage, Son. Papa’s got a lot of power sanding to do, and it’s almost midnight.” Yes, my neighbors love this time of year, too.

This year, my son and I went all out in an attempt to build the fastest car we could. We spent hours upon hours with Bondo and sandpaper, trying to make his car as aerodynamic as possible so he could cut through the air like a knife. Once we had the car “just right,” I let my son pick the color he wanted his car to be. (See, I do let him help.) He picked a cool-looking metallic green paint. We bought the last three cans of spray paint the store had and headed home to start painting. We painted the car, the saw horses the car was sitting on, the ground under the car, and anything within 50 feet of us metallic green. Unfortunately, we ran out of paint, but the half of the car that was painted green was looking great.

We headed back to the store to get some more paint to finish the job. The only problem was the store didn’t have any more. We went to another store, which would surely have the special gorgeous metallic green paint my son loved so much. No dice. So we headed to the next, and the next, and the next store. Nobody had the paint; it was getting ridiculous. We drove 50 miles in both directions trying to find this rare green paint. It was gone. Apparently we purchased the last three cans in existence and only got half of the car painted. We were screwed!

We decided to pick another color and start from scratch. My son was bummed out because he had his sights set on the green. I tried to reassure him, “You don’t want to race a car that looks like a booger anyway.” He decided on a metallic blue, a color that the store had plenty of and also didn’t match the color of any byproduct of the human body.

To make sure we didn’t run into the same issue in the future and run out of paint, I purchased a lifetime supply of blue metallic, which cost me a small fortune. If you’re looking for blue metallic paint, swing by my garage and maybe I’ll ration some out to you.

We began to put on our new blue color and found that the blue and the green paints hated each other. They underwent some sort of chemical reaction and the finish on the car started cracking. This meant that I would need to sand the entire car down again and start from scratch. My personal labor is incredibly cheap (I charge myself next to nothing) so it wasn’t a big deal to have to redo it, but the race was in two days and we were running out of time. This was my fault for procrastinating until the last minute, but I just didn’t see this whole paint fiasco approaching. The way things were looking, my son would be racing down the hill in a car with wet blue paint.

I had to call in sick to work to give myself enough time to finish the project: “Hey, boss, I got this problem with my eye—I just can’t see myself coming to work today.” I spent countless hours painting, using a heat gun to encourage the paint to dry faster, wet sanding, painting, drying, sanding, painting. It was an endless cycle. My son worked hard, too, keeping me hydrated with beer. My wife, whom I love, forbade me to come into the house because I was so dirty from working on the car.

Every four hours or so, she would send some cheese and crackers into the garage to keep me alive. It was working. I was on the perfect high of paint fumes, beer, and cheese. My son finally got tired of the madness and went to bed. I stayed up all night tweaking on cheese and paint, and in the morning the car was a beautiful blue.

My son woke up and found his car completed. Did he say thanks?  No. Did he say he couldn’t wait to drive it? No. So, what did he say? “It looks good, but it’s too bad it isn’t green.”

The lack of sleep, paint fumes, and cheese had me loopy and I snapped, “You don’t have to drive it. I’ll find some underprivileged kid on the street and see if he can stand the color enough to race this car at the soap box derby.”

My son’s eyes got very large: “Just kidding dad, I love the color.”

“I thought so.” m

Rob’s paint job dried before the race (barely), and the car finished fourth in the Masters class.




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