When fixing a rusted out pig feeder, I questioned my dad on why he didn't just tell the older and very practical farmer to buy a newer one. With a grin on his face, Dad's response was in three words, “For The Challenge,” a moment I will always fondly remember. It was like new when Dad finished, and he undercharged as typical for his skillful workmanship while not using high technology.

When changing an old mailbox for my mother-in-law, I often thought of my dad's words and a few others not so positive.

First of all, the old one was uniquely attached by my father-in-law at their Lafayette home. There were several different screws and bolts as well as brackets, all rusted and some very hard to get to and off. In addition, birds apparently enjoyed incorporating white spots on the black box, and I had to contend with a bee who had made its home in the wood post.

Second, my wife had purchased the new one without inquiring about the necessary hardware. I was convinced there was still a way to make the old hardware work but was grateful when she insisted on stopping so she could eventually return to the store in Columbus. I would conclude the project on our next visit. Then, I had to put the old mailbox back in place, of course with as little of the old hardware as possible.

When returning to finalize the job with the correct hardware, I was somewhat confident in my ability to complete the job. After reading the instructions several times and thinking the steps out, I was ready only to be interrupted by my wife who looked over the situation and asked, “Are you sure this will work?”

I assured her it would even though I had some doubt about the holes lining up perfectly to secure the mailbox. In the meantime, she decided to clean the wood post which was in need of her touch. Finally, it was my turn to follow through on the plan. The holes matched, and I was relieved. I congratulated myself for meeting the challenge only to hear my wife say, “David, I can't open the door.”

Sure enough, the new box was not as long as the previous one, and the extended arm needed to be shortened in order for the door to shut. I tried to do the job without taking the box off and worked away with a chisel and hammer; it was a futile attempt. Thus, I removed the box again to use a saw. Unfortunately, I could not find the right saw and had to use a hacksaw, not the best. Well, I finally took care of the issue.

Afterward, we placed the mail notification alarm in the box and in my mother-in-law's home which took us as well as several other people hours to figure out before that day. When returning to Lafayette several weeks later, it was unplugged due to frequently going off!

The alarm will stay unplugged due to my mother-in-law presently having leg problems and unable to walk to her new mailbox. After receiving a doctor's statement and permission from United States Postal Service, she now has another one close to her door that only took 15 minutes to install.

It would be embarrassing to share the time for the other installation, but it admittedly was hours. However, I know that two of the greatest men a person could know, my Dad and Father-In-Law, are both pleased that I met the challenge but likely are still laughing about my fixing abilities.