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The Handy Husband

Take a guy who has absolutely no aptitude for home improvement, stick him in Home Depot, and he becomes convinced that all he needs is a wrench and some lug nuts and he can repair just about anything in the house.

Now here’s something I don’t understand. There are some guys who seem to have a natural ability for fixing things, and then there are some who don’t. Yet, you take a guy who has absolutely no aptitude for home improvement, stick him in Home Depot, and he becomes convinced that all he needs is a wrench and some lug nuts and he can repair just about anything in the house.

I don’t get this. I certainly have no misconceptions that dressing me in designer clothing will make me a model, watching HGTV will make me an interior designer, or singing in the shower will qualify me to be on American Idol. Well, O.K., that last one might be true.

But take my husband, for example. Now to be fair, he is not without some sense of how to make minor repairs. Yet, he would rather try to fix something that he can’t, get frustrated and then give up after there’s a hole in the wall the size of North Dakota, and then call in a handyman, rather than just bite the bullet and call the guy before doing the damage, which almost always far exceeds the original problem. And if this is just about saving money, usually the hardware store bill far exceeds the bill from the handyman anyway. The funny thing is, when he can’t accomplish what he set out to do, he always blames it on the tools. “I can’t do this,” he says. “I don’t have the right molly.” Well, I don’t know who Molly is, but if he knew what he was doing, then why didn’t he get the right molly when he bought the other fifty dollars worth of tools he needed for this job? I mean, the handyman never has the wrong molly, right? Then there’s the always popular, “This is a much bigger job than I thought it was.” Something tells me, the handyman might have known that there was a beam behind the wall before he started drilling, as well.

Of course, now we not only have a hole in the wall that we didn’t have before, in addition to the original problem, but we have to live with it for another month because the guy we could have called in to fix it right away is now on another job and won’t be available for several weeks.

But honestly, I don’t blame my husband. He means well. I blame the hardware store. There’s something about a hardware store, especially a really big one, that makes a guy a bit delusional with imagined home repair super powers. He walks in and right away he sees all these big shiny tools and some smiling guy in a nice red apron approaches and offers help. No matter what the job, they say, “Oh sure, all you need is this, this and that. No problem.” Of course, they say that: They want to sell stuff. I mean, this never happens when I go shopping in the department store, say, for make-up. And I almost never walk out with foundation, mascara, eye shadow and an entire facial cleansing system that I don’t need because the cheap stuff I bought at the drug store works just fine.

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And I certainly never undertake a home improvement project myself that I can’t complete just to save money. Not like the time that I decided to lay down a new kitchen floor while my husband was out of town. Who knew that you’re NEVER supposed to clean out the bucket of subfloor solution in the kitchen sink because it will harden in your garbage disposal? Or that you shouldn’t spray paint a kitchen table in the garage below 72° farhenheit because the paint will bubble and set that way? Or that Liquid Plumber should never be used in a dishwasher?

OK, so maybe I’m guilty of doing the same thing. But where do you think I got the idea that I could do-it myself?

Actually, the idea that I got was that I could do it better.

So now we have two holes in the wall.

Anyone know a good handyman?

©2006, Beckerman. All rights reserved. For more LOST IN SURBURBIA columns, go to


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