It’s Good to Be Handy

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Brooke Dilling | @brookefrances

Broads--sometimes it’s better to have a guy around. I don’t say this lightly. Indulge me for a moment.

Most days I enjoy the single-mom life. I’m the boss and what I say goes. There’s no negotiation, no compromise. I get to cook what I want to eat. The toilet seat is always down. I get the entire closet and all the bathroom counter space to myself. But then there are the times when it is very helpful to have a guy about the place:

  • Mowing the lawn.
  • Shoveling heavy snow.
  • And when shit needs to be fixed, like a broken door requiring recent intervention with a crowbar. (See my article, Failing).

Mowing the lawn and shoveling snow aren’t enjoyable, but I woman up and get it done. Because of course I can do it. Women can do anything. It’s a matter of not really wanting to do it.

But I am so terrible at fixing shit that breaks. Today was no exception.

I have a fancy alarm system in the house. The kind that announces every time a door opens.  And since breaking into my own garage two weeks ago, the door to the  garage hasn’t latched. Every time the wind blows, the garage door blows open, and the alarm-system voice calls out: “Garage door.”

The wind stops, the door blows shut. The wind blows again. The door blows open.  “Garage door. Garage door.”  Over and over and over. Or worse, the alarm gets tripped. Clearly, I need to fix this door. Today.

Have I mentioned I am terrible at fixing shit?

The trip to the big-box hardware store is uneventful. I find a new doorknob. I buy a new doorknob. So far, so good.  

Before I get started, I’m going to need some reinforcements: i.e. wine.  I pour some wine and I find the screwdriver–the actual tool, not vodka and oj, although I give brief pause and consider if more libations would be helpful.

The old and broken doorknob comes apart easily. Maybe I’m better at this than I think! I celebrate with some wine. This seems to be going well. Yay me!

I begin to install the new doorknob hardware. And things begin to  fall apart.

The interior part of the doorknob assembly–the latching piece that holds the whole thing together--doesn’t fit into the hole in the door. What the f*ck?! Why are these things not universal? Back to the big box hardware store I go. It’s a good thing I’ve only had one celebratory sip of wine.

Some nice employee at the store helps me determine which doorknob should work with my door. Thirty minutes later, I’m ready to try this again. The pieces all fit, but it takes me forever to get all the pieces lined up on the door. Forty minutes later I’ve got the doorknob back on the door and the little latch-thingie on the side of the garage. Looks good. Yay me. I sure as hell hope this is the end of it.

And then I shut the door. The wind blows; the door blows open. “Garage door”.

Shit. Why the f*ck isn’t this working?

Another twenty minutes later, I’ve adjusted the little latch-thingie on the garage wall about 15 times. The door still blows open. I’ve had more wine. That’s not really fixing the door, but I feel slightly less pissed off. By this time, I’ve spent an hour and a half trying to change a doorknob and I’m still not finished. I suck at fixing things.

I give up. I need help.

My nice neighbor–yes, a man--kindly offers to help figure out why my door won’t latch. It takes him less than two minutes to determine I’ve put the interior latching mechanism in upside down. In another two minutes he’s pulled it apart and put it back together the correct way, and now the door shuts and stays shut. While he’s hanging out, he also helps me reprogram my garage door opener so it will actually open my overhead garage door. And he programs the buttons in my car to open my overhead garage door, too. He’s at my house for 10 minutes and he’s fixed 3 things I’ve found impossible to fix on my own.

Let me break this down for you:

  • Ninety minutes of my time: zero things fixed, with lots of cursing.
  • Ten minutes of the neighbor’s time:  three items fixed, and no cursing. In fact, he might have actually been having fun.

Yep. I think having a guy around may have some advantages. As long as he leaves the toilet seat down and I don’t have to share my closet.  

LifestyleVirginia McCarver