Handyman

August 31, 2016

 

 

I am not a handyman. I used to be, but I'm not anymore.

 

When I was younger, my wife and I bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse. Being young and incredibly stupid, I thought I could fix it. If I do it myself, I thought, we'll also save a ton of money. Foolish boy.

 

One of the first things I discovered was that every job is easier if you have the right tools. Slowly, as I began my projects, I began to accumulate the tools I needed. I still have most of those tools, but I haven't used them in years and I'm not going to use them. I don't know why I keep them. I seriously doubt that I'm going to wake up in the morning and tell the Lovely Louise, “Hey, I'm going to do new sheetrock in the bathroom today!” If you need any sheetrock tools, call me; I've got several sets.

 

About the only thing I won't do is electrical work. There's something about electricity that just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe being colorblind is part of it—I can't always tell what color the wires are. Not a good situation if you're going to be cutting wires. One time while changing a hanging light I turned off the light switch so I wouldn't get shocked. I got shocked. I ended up throwing the master switch on the whole house just toHandyman be sure.

 

I think I'm good at plumbing, but I'm really not. I had a plumber friend come over the house to give me a price on a job that was beyond my capability. He said, “it's $50 an hour. If you want to watch, it's $75 an hour and, if you want to help, it's $100 an hour”. I got the message and left him alone. My plumber now encourages me to do plumbing work. He understands that when I call him to come fix what I've screwed up, he's going to make even more money.

 

As I was redoing the bathroom in that old farmhouse, I decided to tile the floor. I bought a couple of boxes of tiles, and when I opened the first box I thought, isn't that convenient: The tiles were small, about an inch square, and they were all attached to this square sheet. I thought this was to help organize them. I very carefully peeled each tile off of the sheet and placed them on the floor. It was impossible to get them all to line up properly. The job was taking forever, and it was looking like a really bad mosaic.

 

My friend Jimmy came over and peeked in the bathroom to see what I was doing. Jimmy was a builder.

 

Jimmy: What the hell are you doing?

 

Me: Tiling the floor.

 

Jimmy: I can see that, but why are you peeling the tiles off of the backing?

 

Me: What do you mean?

 

Jimmy: The tiles come in a square with backing, so you lay the whole sheet down. That way the tiles line up properly.

 

Me: Ohhh …

 

I have a basement full of tools. I have three table saws, two chop saws, three drill presses, a scroll saw, four skill saws … well, you get the idea. I have a drawer with over a hundred screwdrivers and another drawer with special tools that are only needed to build guitars. I have these because at one point I wanted to build guitars, so I bought all of the tools I would need. I started one but could never get the neck to fit the body properly, and it still sits in my basement waiting for someone better than me to stop by and finish it.

 

Hammers—I got 'em. Plumbing tools, too. Let me know what you need. Painting, sheetrock, carpentry, power washing, roofing … you name it, I've got it. I have literally hundreds of wrenches of all kinds. I don't use any of them, but I keep them around in case I feel this overwhelming urge to try to fix something. So far, I've successfully resisted that urge.

 

When the Lovely Louise and I first met, she asked if I was handy. I told her that I was very handy, since I knew exactly whom to call to come fix almost anything. And that's the way I like it.

 

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