Leach

John is fixing something in the house. I am hiding in my office. I just heard some tapping, and what is being fixed requires no tapping. 

John is bored now that he is retired. I understand and try to engage him in hobbies to keep him busy. I bought a book on woodcarving. He loves watching “The Curse of Oak Island” on TV; I suggested a shovel and metal detector. I even offered to buy him a harmonica for those long days sitting in the back yard.

But he has chosen to take on the hobby of fixing things. I live in fear every day.

Don’t misunderstand; John is a capable, experienced man of many domestic and occupational talents. He can change a tire and till a garden. His arsenal of tools includes all the usual—hammers and screwdrivers and wrenches—and he knows how to use them.

All I have to do is mention a job that needs done, and he scurries to the garage to gather his supplies. He attacks each repair job with a fervor usually reserved for a revivalist saving sinners’ souls. The faucet needs fixing. He will fix it. Amen.

It’s not his skill I question when he says, “I’ll take a look at that”. He’ll probably be successful in repairing whatever is broken. The end result, however, will make me shudder.

My house is certainly not a Better Homes and Gardens showcase. It’s just a box we live in. But I try to keep it pretty and somewhat in line with the norms of domestic style. Window screens that fit. Knobs that turn. Functioning lamps.

John’s repairs are, shall we say, not esthetically pleasing to ANYONE WITH EYES. In Cave Man mentality, his brain translates “broken” to “fixed” with little regard as to how it may look afterward. 

John is the overalls in a world of fitted jeans.

His favorite tools are Gorilla Tape, Super Glue, and really long nails. He likes big hooks for little cups. Caulk is squeezed into tiny crevices with the what must be a fireplace bellow; the thicker the better. We can scrape the extra off later, he mutters.

If a bigger nail will secure a piece of eye-level trim that has loosened from its tiny brad, that big nail will be pounded in. Railroad spike of a giant nail. 

He packs up his hammer and spikes, whistling a jaunty tune as he chugs away.

The manuals for every appliance and fixture in the house are always handy. I lay them out on the table for him before he begins. John piles his wrenches and bolts atop the papers and starts investigating the problem with eyes and fingers.

I’m glad John is willing to do things around the house. I really am. If I needed someone to slather concrete on a bare wall and stick screws on it, he would be my man. A patch of drywall compound swirled in a Picasso pattern in the back of the closet is dandy. 

Even duct tape wrapped around a pipe under the sink as a simple fix for a tiny leak is tolerable.

 I just wish he’d realize that it really IS important that all the kitchen cabinet knobs are, at least, close to the same size and color, and that my hanging fern is not heavy enough to merit a naval-weight, fist-sized eye bolt.

There’s that tapping again. I may never leave this room.

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Contact Robin at robinwrites@yahoo.com