Don’t Assume I Fix Things

An excruciatingly crude drawing of myself wielding a hammer with the words, "Please Hammer, don't hurt me."

I am man, hear me roar.

It’s a well-known fact around our household that I’m not the least bit inclined toward handymanliness, or, for that matter, rudimentary dexterity (as evidence, see the “drawing” to your right). I can’t even use duct tape properly; when I try to do anything with it, I end up with a tape wad torn at multiple weird angles.

For many years, this wasn’t a problem. When it came time for me to move out on my own after college, I made sure that the first apartment I rented was in a house owned by a retired guy who constantly tinkered with stuff as a hobby. Even though he and his wife lived across town from their rental property, he kept his workshop in a detached garage behind the apartment house. His wife banished him there whenever he was either making too much noise with power tools, or whenever it appeared he was about to accidentally blow something up. Since either of these two situations were occurring nearly all of the time, he was always around whenever something went haywire, and the result was that I never had to fix anything.

But all things must come to an end, and about six years ago my wife and I decided it was time to settle down and buy a house together, therefore magically transforming us into Responsible People. Maybe not quite Responsible People in the Middle America sense of the term, since we actually bought the house first and then got married a little later, but we were Homeowners, dag nabbit, at any rate.

We quickly realized we were in over our heads. For starters, neither of us enjoy anything to do with maintaining green-colored things that grow, yet we had a flower garden area in front of and alongside our new home. Since we moved in during November, we didn’t know what flowers would come up during the spring and summer, so we just decided to wait and see.

The flaw in this reasoning was readily apparent the following spring as soon as plants began sprouting. We didn’t see hydrangeas and tulips and nettles and dandelions. We simply saw green stuff, and we had absolutely no idea what was supposed to be there and what was a weed. So, after one year of botanical chaos, we had a landscaper come in, rip out the flower garden, and replace it with a collection of a few shrubs poking up from ground that is otherwise now covered in stones. Yeah, we’re classy people. But at least we’re Responsible Homeowner-type classy people, even if we don’t know chrysanthemums from kudzu.

Don't Assume I Fix ThingsThat’s nothing compared to the inside of the house. In our upstairs bathroom is a vanity cabinet that has three mirrored doors on it. At least, it’s supposed to have three mirrored doors on it. It actually has two. About a year and a half after we moved in, one of the doors fell off. We’ve never gotten around to replacing either the door or the entire vanity cabinet. We figure that it still works fine as it is right now, it doesn’t bother us, and we can always get around to replacing it if and when the time comes to move.

That, however, pales in comparison to the time we actually had to call my wife’s father to come over and change a light bulb. I kid you not. The bulb in our bathroom ceiling fan burned out several years ago, and after nearly an hour of trying, neither of us could figure out how to open it up so that we could get to the bulb and change it. So, it was Father-In-Law to the rescue. I don’t feel terribly emasculated about that one, though, since it also took him about 20 minutes to figure out how to get the cover off the light fixture.

There was also the time that I was on the verge of calling a plumber to fix our bathtub because, after 45 minutes of hard plunging and pouring in two economy-sized bottles of Drano, I could not get the water to go down. Little did I know through that whole ordeal that I had the drain closed the entire time.

So why would I mention all of this now? Because it just took me 15 minutes to open the battery compartment on one of the kids’ toys, that’s why.

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