I married for love but I would give my kingdom for a handyman! (actually, I always secretly hoped my daughters would marry someone in the trades, a plumber, electrician, a mechanic even, but no such luck. Both went white collar, just my luck!) Home repairs are a never ending task list and if you have to hire someone for every little chore it almost defeats the purpose of owning a home.
My father was handy and could manage any home repair. He just had an aptitude for, well, everything and I miss being able to just call dad when I needed a repair. Now I should point out, I’ve managed a number of home repairs on my own, thanks to a curious mind, ‘How to’ videos, and a cheap husband. (he flinches at the thought of paying for any home repair. In his mind it’s better to just live with it and when it really becomes unbearable, move.) Now, I don’t want to harp on his short comings because he’s really a great guy. He’s just painfully inept at home repairs. Is that a birth defect? Or maybe it’s a ‘selective’ deficiency, you know, you don’t do well the things you don’t like. Either way it’s an expensive inconvenience.
Now he has tried some home maintenance over the years. When we were first married we had pigeons nesting on our small balcony rendering it useless for our own use. Animal control advised us to toss the empty nest over the balcony. The pigeons would relocate their home upon returning to see it was gone. Sounded easy enough. The trick was getting near enough to scoop up the nest in the midst of all the pigeons – there were a lot (these things travel in hoards) and neither of us was keen on getting pecked by a bird. But, it had to be done, and the chore fell to the man of the house.
Unfamiliar with how to deal with any wildlife, he ‘suited up’ to ensure he was protected should any rogue pigeons attack him. He wore knee high rubber boots, my oven mitts, a long trench coat, and in the absence of a helmet for face protection, he propped a bucket over his head. (I wish I’d thought to take a picture!) After steeling up his courage he opened the balcony door and walked with determination toward the flock of birds. He grabbed the nest in a flurry of squawking and fluttering, and turned to quickly toss it over the balcony. As he did so the bucket perched on his forehead fell over his face and he stumbled slightly, over his rubber boot, and ended up tossing not only the nest but one of my oven mitts and the bucket that was his headgear. Not quite the smooth maneuver we had planned but it worked. The pigeons were gone and did not return, and all it cost was one oven mitt, a bucket, and a little humility.
Over the years he has tried random home repairs but most failed miserably and he eventually gave up trying the tough stuff, leaving it to myself or, if I couldn’t handle it, a professional.
Most recently he made to replace a light bulb in one of our driveway lampposts. Seemed simple enough. Now, I should preface this by saying (because he brought it up later) that I had recently thrown out an old 5 foot step ladder we had. It was left in the home we currently occupy and was rickety and unreliable. It also didn’t go as high as we often needed so we had recently purchased a 8 foot extension ladder and I had planned to replace the old step ladder in time. (apparently not soon enough) In any event, I was at the computer as I saw him head down the driveway with the new extension ladder. He said he needed to replace a bulb in our lamp post. I foolishly didn’t give it another thought.
A few moments later I heard a crash and the shattering of glass. Glancing up from the computer I sensed what had happened so I got up and headed out the door and down the driveway. There he was, getting up from the ground with skinned knees, a light bulb in one hand and a puzzled expression on his face. “This ladder is too long for this” he declared, and looked at me accusingly. I don’t know how but somehow I kept from laughing. Maybe it was because I was biting my tongue so hard it bled. This 175 pound man propped an 8 foot ladder up against a six foot lamp post then expected it to hold his body weight as he climbed up to reach the burnt out bulb. Needless to say the post snapped and all 4 lanterns crashed and shattered. The ONLY salvageable piece left was the new bulb he was to replace.
Now, I could point out the folly of his strategy but that would be wasted on one so completely unfamiliar with home repair. Suffice it to say we now have a new lamp post and it only cost $440 plus the new bulb and the cost of a new step ladder (apparently all this happened because I threw out his ‘bulb changing ladder’)
Some people are handy, some are not. My darling husband, who is smart and funny and kind, is NOT, and if there’s one thing more expensive than hiring a professional, it’s letting ‘someone who’s not’ tackle the job!