Monthly Archives: September, 2016


Considering the fact that I recently moved into a 77 year old house, I guess it should be no surprise that it requires constant maintenance and repair. Just yesterday I gave a sharp yank on a door that seemed a bit stuck, only to have the doorknob come off in my bemused hand. And while I had the large, urgent items looked at before I moved in, if I were actually keeping a running list of things that need to be done, the list, she would be long!
In my previous life, I would have had a variety of options to address these things. First, I would call Kerry. The bestie is pretty handy (plus smart and pretty and all those good things). She could probably knock out the first (easiest) level of chores, ably assisted by me in the background as comic relief. Too complicated for Kerry? Time to call Dad. He could take care of almost any problem, whether it be rewiring a light switch or installing a new faucet. Feeling guilty about cajoling an 82 year old man to do my dirty work? Not quite comfortable making him climb a ladder or do anything too intense? I was lucky enough to have a good friend in the neighborhood who also worked as a handyman and could basically cover any remaining project not requiring complex plumbing or electrical work. I even had a plumber on retainer, who came so often he felt bad about charging me full rate. What a sweetheart.
So here I am, without my team, and as I said, the list of things to be fixed grows daily. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to change out all the light switch plates, which were old and yellow and looked even dingier against my newly painted walls. I don’t have the skills to change the actual switches themselves, but my current “house fund” (the one set aside to take care of household repairs) is currently hovering around $26, so I decided to do what I could. It’s not a complicated task, but given that I had 15 plates needing to be replaced, it wasn’t a quick one either. It took a few hours, and included two trips to the hardware store, one bandage (don’t ask), a short temper tantrum (see previous item), and a few hot tears (see previous item(s)). But I got most of them done, except for the one behind the hutch that is too heavy for me to move, and I have to admit, I did feel a sense of pride at my, albeit minor, accomplishment.
Part of my problem is that I genuinely have a hard time reading instructions and applying them. I’m not sure what the issue is, I know I’m not a stupid person but I certainly feel like one every time I try to interpret assembly instructions. People (names might rhyme with Larry and Lad) get very frustrated with me about this, but it’s a real thing. It’s like instruction dyslexia, they may as well be written in a foreign language. Last week I tried to install a simple solar light outside. Seriously, folks, what does this mean?
Fix the wall plug into the wall, insert the screw into the wall plug but leave a gap for hanging the lamp
What wall plug? What screw? Why a gap? Why??? I ended up just taking a hammer and banging the hell out of a nail and wedging the solar light on top of the nail. Done. No screw, no plug, no gap. Will it stay up? Who knows?
And speaking of hanging things, and hammers, if you come to visit, please refrain from commenting that all my pictures are hung too high or too low. I know! But the walls in this house are super thick and hard to hammer. So once I get that nail in the wall, it’s not moving! Because, well, once I tried to remove the nail, but we aren’t going to talk about the big hole on the freshly painted wall, are we? I thought not.
Of course I can hire a handyman to help me, and eventually I will. But even though I am not skilled, or talented, or able to read instructions, there is a certain satisfaction in being able to do things myself. I never thought I would be able to replace a toilet seat, but after watching the online tutorial, and getting a little advice from a kind coworker, both the bathrooms in this big, crumbly old house have nice shiny clean new seats. And whenever I, ahem, sit upon them, I think to myself, well, I guess you’re not as unhandy as you think. Hmmmm, maybe I should try to replace that doorknob!
The end, for now