Summer, the time to stop and take notice of the wonders around you. The blooming flowers, the fresh cut grass, the gaping hole in the side of your house, the paint job that is only half done, the cracks in your driveway and your splintering deck.
Ah yes, Summer. While I always look forward to the end of winter, this season fills me with feelings of incompetence for I was not born a handy man.
Oh, I’m quite good at destroying things. In fact, the gaping hole in the side of my house was only a minor bubble before I took a hammer and some other tool to it.
It’s the rebuilding that always trips me up. My wife Laura grew up with a father who fixed (and still fixes) everything. I see the look of disappointment in her eyes when I call in general contractors to discuss hanging a picture. She believes that by doing it ourselves, and by “ourselves” I mean me, we can save time and money.
So when our kitchen sink sprung a leak last month I was fed up with my inadequacies and decided to tackle this task, which rates a 1 on the Bob Villa scale (1 meaning that an average one year old child could complete it.). I proudly announced to Laura that in an effort to save time and money I was heading to the Home Depot and would return to fix the leak.
She responded by asking me if the homeowner’s insurance policy was up to date. A reference to my attempt to fix a light in my laundry room last year, which resulted in a Federal probe to see if I was involved in great blackout. I was cleared but we need to turn on the dishwasher in order for the light to work.
I returned from Home Depot and began. After I removed the problem area, and by “removed” I mean demolished, it appeared I had the wrong parts. This began what I refer to as the “Home Depot Shuffle” which is a ritual I’ve been performing since we purchased our house eight years ago.
The shuffle consists of my going to Home Depot and purchasing a lot of parts then returning to my home to discover they have nothing to do with anything in my home.
Then I return to Home Depot and repeat the process. This goes quicker than you’d imagine since I do not return anything. Which is why I have closets filled with crown molding, gifts that don’t fit, coupons that Laura gave me and every recyclable bottle we’ve ever used.
At dusk, it was apparent that we weren’t saving time or money. We did have enough PCV pipe and faucet parts to repair a high school locker room. Unfortunately, our sink didn’t make it. I tried as best as I could to conceal the damage from Laura but I suspect my wet clothing and the new reservoir in the middle of our kitchen gave me away.
I called the plumber using an assumed name to avoid recognition from last year’s baseboard heating incident, but it was too late. Apparently, they have some type of flag in their system and every plumber on the south shore came to have a look at my handy work. Luckily, I had coffee and spare parts.
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