I was laughing up until I got to the, "using the good oscilloscope" part in the last story, at which point I felt my heart sink in to my stomach, face palmed, and let out a mumbled "oh, no" for you and your dad. On a related note, here's one of those old lame engineering jokes. Do you know why they call it a flyback transformer? Old TV repairmen came up with it because they used to fly back across the room when they accidentally touched one inside an old cathode ray tube television set. :-)
I have been fortunate enough to not have to explain any damaged/destroyed expensive test equipment to any of my employers... many damaged/destroyed prototypes, once an old oscilloscope probe (a relatively cheap one), but never anything like a whole oscilloscope. I'm so paranoid anytime I hook up something really expensive like a network analyzer I triple check everything before connecting power to the unit under test, and even then I flinch a little when I flip the supply switch.
Just another Perl hooker - But the purist monks keep telling me I should do it for love, not money.