Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Your Handyman

Last week I mentioned that I inherited my impeccable sense of direction from my dad. On the flip side, however, I think the home repair gene must have skipped a generation.

It’s not that I don’t want to know how to fix things around the house. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve always been the creative thinker, the planner, the visionary. Execution and implementation have never been my strong suits.

Still, now that my Wife and I are on our own, I’m trying to be somewhat useful around the house.

It's the least I can do.

A few months ago, we were having a regular problem with our bathtub clogging up because my Wife sheds more hair than a German Shepherd. The first time around, we actually called our apartment office and had them fix it. Inwardly, I knew this was something I could take care of, so I volunteered my services when the drain got clogged again.

My Wife had to stop me short of throwing a parade when a simple cup full of drain cleaner solved the problem.

Feeling the momentum from that achievement, I was ready for a bigger task.

Last week, I found one: hanging artwork.

When we moved from our old apartment to our new one at the beginning of February, I couldn’t help notice how many nail holes we had put in the old walls to hang pictures. To be fair, my wife had hung most of them by herself while I was at work and she was still looking for a job. But if you hadn’t known better, you would have thought that there had been gangland gunfire in our living room.

Wanting to reduce the amount of spackling we will have to do again at some point in the future, I agreed to be a part of picture hanging process. We had borrowed a buddy’s drill and measuring level, so we quickly (and successfully) hung up all of our pictures in each room. All that remained was one massive framed painting that was reserved for our bedroom.

I think this is a good time to mention that I get a little overwhelmed whenever putting up a picture requires anything more than one simple nail. This bad boy needs to be anchored to the wall and feels like it weighs a metric ton.

Even though I knew there was a better chance of the Raiders winning the Super Bowl, I had to try one last shot at negotiating the placement.

Me: So where do you want to hang this behemoth again?

(you have to emphasis the weight and size to plant seeds of an unnecessary impending struggle)

My Wife: Directly over our bed.

(not picking up on the emphasis at all)

Me: Are you sure? Because it looks pretty nice right there on the floor lying up against the wall.

(you HAVE to provide a viable, alternate solution)

My Wife: Ok, but let’s go ahead and hang the painting now.

(I didn't get the impression that she embraced the full spirit of the negotiations)

Again, this was not some flimsy frame that you can just slap up. There were a couple of cumbersome steps that had to be carefully followed.

First we attempted the very scientific procedure of trying to place it in the center of our bed. This entailed me standing on the bed, holding the picture while my Wife stood on the floor and told me where to move.

My Wife: Lower, just a little lower, now a little higher, and a little bit higher.


My Wife: I’m sorry but it needs to be a little bit higher. And to the right. A little more, just a little more. Perfect! Now just a little lower.

After she was able to keep me from grabbing my car keys and driving straight to Mexico, we marked where the nails needed to go. After mining our way through the wall, we set in the anchors, hammered in the nails, hung the painting, verified the level, and did the always important eye-ball test from the floor.

Everything checked out.

Of course, I couldn’t live with that. I had never done anything “handy” on the first try so I knew something had to be wrong. I rechecked the nails and the anchors and even put a little pressure on the top of the frame to make sure it wouldn’t come crashing down on us in the middle of the night.

Once I felt completely comfortable, I began dialing the mayor to start planning the next celebratory parade only to have my wife interrupt the festivities. She said that since I did such a great job on the painting hanging project that I could now work on installing a shelf in the laundry room that has 10 times as many nails and anchors.

Where are my keys?

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