I get by (barely) as a handy person


“There’s nothing to match curling up with a good book when there’s a repair job to be done around the house.” —Joe Ryan

 

I jammed my finger, trimmed two extra layers of plastic shims to force fit the strike plate, dropped and found the handle spring three times, had to remove and re-cut the length of the black plastic thing twice because pathetic as it is, I cannot for the life of me visualize how long 3/8 of an inch is on the first (or second) try, and I nearly lost the entire door in a big gust of wind.

Not unlike the birth of a child, all of this pain was worth it. Because in the end, I replaced an old storm door handle that wouldn’t catch with a brand new one that does.

Let’s get the minor details out of the way. The holes were pre-drilled, I got lucky picking out the new handle kit, in that it fit into the pre-drilled holes.

Nearly as important as starting and completing this job in a single string of time, my child­ren were there to witness this feat of power and success. They may not appreciate my stellar skills now, but one day they will and they will gush with pride. Because I know this much is true, I have forgiven their eye rolls.

I get by, but I am not a handy person. My actual skills run a distant second to my belief in my skills. Earlier in the weekend, I proved that by buying a long curtain panel and no-sew hem tape, which I convinced myself could be transformed into a custom curtain for a skinny oblong window in my kitchen.

I measured the window. I measured and marked the panel, then cut. It should have worked. I don’t know how I ended up cutting it two inches too short. If it made any sense, I would have seen that as an omen to pay extra attention when measuring and cutting a black plastic thing 3/8-inch out from a storm door.

Throughout my house, I have painting projects that are 90 percent completed, a half-sewn cloth lizard toy that will probably never see its way out of that sewing basket, a ceiling tile clock with a broken motor hanging in my kitchen (it’s just for “effect” my daughter sarcastically noted), an unvarnished door frame that was installed two years ago, and a flower garden that’s been weed friendly and flower free for going on two springs now.

I had good intentions. I believed these things would be finished immediately after they were started. There’s nothing more frustrating than having no one to blame but yourself.

But there’s a bright side. If I get tired of looking at 11:00 all day and night, I can ignore the “clock” and walk out the back door. And if I get tired of looking at a rocky weed garden, I can walk in the back door.

And I will smile, because no matter which direction I go through that door, the freaking thing will latch.


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