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 “Oak Island”; 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 taken 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 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. Grout is applied for sealing purposes only; the thicker the better. We can scrape the extra off later, he mutters.
I save the paperwork for every appliance and fixture in the house, and I lay them out on the table for him before he begins. He piles his wrenches and bolts atop them and starts investigating the problem with eyes and fingers.
If a bigger nail will secure a piece of trim that has loosened from its tiny brad, that big nail will be pounded in. Eye level. Tiny brad. Tiny brad. Tiny brad. Railroad spike of a giant nail.
And, of course, that’s the first thing I see every time I enter the kitchen. I can’t help it.
He packs up his hammer and spikes, whistling a tune of success as he strides away.
I’ve quietly assembled a team of repairmen in our area. I tactfully suggest calling them now and then, trying to appeal to his reasoning of how much easier it will be, how unusual the fixture/bolt/wiring seems to be in this house, etc.
Sometimes he relents. I think he considers it a learning opportunity when they arrive because he follows and leans in as they work, offering his ideas as to how he would have handled the job.
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 affixed haphazardly against a hole 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 knobs are the same size and that my hanging fern is not heavy enough to merit a naval-weight eye bolt.
He’s tapping again. I may never leave this room.
Contact Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org