Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Thank Heaven For the Handyman

My Mother was over the other day when she answered the phone for me. A polite voice inquired, Hello, is Roger handy?.

Well, my Mom confided quickly, not as a rule, but he does the best he can.

While my Mom may have misinterpreted the caller's query regarding my husband's whereabouts, she had hit the nail on the head! Although he's helpful and hardworking, Roger's just not well, handy!

Unfortunately for him, this is the time of year when the pressure to prove oneself proficient with power tools really starts to build. Following weeks of feverishly running around town merrily giving and receiving, the cold air of January brings us back indoors to quietly reflect, recover - and redecorate.

It doesn't take long for the tryptophan-induced tranquility from the holiday turkey to wear off and restlessness to set in. Only a few lazy days of lounging and remotely clicking away the time watching shows like Trading Spaces and Mission Organization, even Yankee Workshop, and you start to look around and think, Holy pit, this old house could sure use some work too!. Your thoughts take flight and then there's an almost uncontrollable urge to fly back out the door and start re-feathering the 'ole nest.

After all, home improvement can be a much quicker fix then self-improvement, and you don't have to give up carbs.

This month, you'll find swarms of Bob Vila wannabees buzzing in and out hardware stores across North Raleigh. Each one lumbering by, pushing carts packed with optimism and promise in the shape of assorted hardware. Their eyes glazed over in heads filled with dreams and hopes that all will go as planned.

But for the handy-capped, like Rog, there's plenty of room for improvement in that department.

Lucky for him, I come from a long line of handy folk, so help is just a humbling call away. Someone is usually around to talk him through a tough spot via speakerphone. The installation of our new thermostat sounded an awful lot like a bomb squad defusing an explosive. It's just too bad that he didn't dial for a lifeline when I was out and he tried to change a faucet. It ended up looking like a monkey went ape in the toolbox and we needed a canoe to paddle around our kitchen island.

My grandfather had honed his mechanical skills making fetching frames and display cases for my grandmother's handicraft masterpieces in ceramic and puff paint. On weekends, my Uncle John effortlessly peels away at Aunt Jeanne's ever-growing honey do list, while Uncle Irwin whittles in his own woodshop - making crafts for Aunt Ruth from his leftover Chateau Lafite Rothschild wine crates.

My Dad and brother are also crack plumbers. One morning they decided to build a new bathroom and by nightfall they were playing rock-paper-scissors to see who got to take the first bubble bath! Even my Mom can run rings around Rosie the Riveter. Oh, and the by the way - that Makita drill in the garage is actually mine.

Yes, the rest of my family could rebuild a fallen empire with some duct tape, epoxy glue, and a length of string.

But as I greet my defeated looking husband upon the return of his fourth trip to our local
do it yourself store in his attempt to install a dimmer switch, I'm reminded, once again, that not everyone is wired with the skills to actually do it themselves. Thank heaven for the local Handyman!


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