Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Can Do Stuff

After walking the dogs this afternoon, we were sitting in front of the television when a commercial came on, announcing auditions for handymen. Susan pointed to the screen, mischievously smiled and ever so matter-of-factly teased, "You wouldn't be able to do that."

"Gee, thanks," I thought to myself.

I get no credit. Zero. A mere iota of credit is too much to hope for.

Does it matter that in spite of my own reluctance, hesitation and apprehension, I've installed light fixtures, bathroom ceiling fans and oven hoods? I've built two barbecues, a basketball net and a slew of friggin' Ikea furniture, including desks, chairs, tables, dressers and shelves. I can hook-up audio and video components and I've installed a wood floor, with some help. True, the groundwork for our backyard shed wasn't quite as level as it needed to be, but the installers made the necessary adjustment. I recently put together a ping pong table and a weight bench. Oh yeah, I can do stuff.

I grumble all the way through it and when I'm done, I mostly expect the stuff I've installed or assembled to blow up!

I'm not even mentioning the really impressive stuff I've done.

Is it the successes my loved ones remember? Not a chance. There's no fun in successes.

They prefer to dwell on the slip-ups and face plants. Worse, when they recall those less glorious moments, my wife and son merrily join in a chorus of, "Handy Man". They're not singing the song of the same title by James Taylor. Instead, they sing the words "handy man" to the tune of the Sammy Davis classic, "Candy Man". It's, oh, so tough to take.

In all honesty, I admit my successes astound even myself!

I've been striving to up my game as a handyman, to minimal avail.

Last week, we had a new dishwasher installed. I dared not do the installation myself, even though all the guys I know insisted dishwasher installation is a piece of cake! Ask them about any bit of handiwork and they, inevitably and unfailingly, drone on about it being a piece of cake! Easy as pie. Frankly, it's nauseating. They love it! They live for it, while I'm the little speck on the horizon, running the other way! It seems every other man I know struts through their household in tights and a cape, with a big "H" emblazoned on their chest!

Phooey! All frauds, I say, with considerably more tolerant family members!

A few days after the dishwasher was installed, the kitchen sink seemed to be draining more slowly than usual. This "handy man" swung into action, unravelling a wire hanger. My son asked what I was doing and I explained with great confidence, competence and proficiency, that I was going to use the end of the hanger to poke at whatever clog might have been lurking in the drain pipe. He may even have been impressed at my completely un-original ingenuity! I turned on the tap and, as the sink began to fill, I began probing with the end of the hanger. I pushed and pulled, twisted and rammed.

Lo and behold, the water began flowing freely.

I turned to my son and proudly urged, "Sing it with me". Ever so graciously, he joined me in a chorus of their mocking song, "Handy Man". Just as he was finishing the chorus, he stopped, looked down and exclaimed, "My feet are getting soaked!"

Apparently and as impossible as it still sounds to me, I had jammed the hanger tip into the curve of the pipe with such force, I dislodged the entire drain pipe from the sink. The running water was flowing straight from the tap into the cupboard underneath and out onto the kitchen floor. What had I done and how on earth had I done it?

Oh, in the end, I blamed the dishwasher installer.

I got everything hooked up again, on my own; although I'm certain Susan and Tristan are keeping their fingers crossed.

Am I keeping my fingers crossed? You know it.

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