Although it sounds odd to me, I have a handyman. A handyman that I really like because he calls when he says he will, and shows up when he says he will, and does exactly the job he says he will do, for exactly the price he says it will cost. Compared to some of the home-improvement-handyman-nightmare-stories I’ve heard from others, I realize that this is perhaps not normal, and I am indeed grateful.
I had hoped to do the vast majority of work to our rental property myself, and I **did** do a lot of it. But a lot more of it was stuff that I simply didn’t know how to do --- replacing sinks and cabinets, capping gas lines, running electrical and refinishing hardwood floors. Then, because I got spoiled with my handyman, and also because I got lazy and had to admit that the novelty of doing the work myself was wearing off, I hired him to do some other jobs that I probably *could* have done myself, but quite frankly, didn’t want to do, because I had other very very important things to do ... like .... um, .... sit around and watch my tivo'd episodes of the The Biggest Loser and Dance War. The tasks of painting the baseboard trim, adding quarter-round to the trim around the whole house, and hanging 17 sets of new mini-blinds fall into THAT category. Like Blaine says, time is money, and sometimes it’s more logical to pay someone else who can do it quicker and (in all honesty) better than I can.
Now, my handyman is actually a man who owns his own business doing home repair and remodeling, and he has several employees working for him. Yesterday, when he said he was sending someone over to do the trim work and the blinds, I (naively and stereotypically, I confess) expected it to be a man. I did NOT expect it to be a woman. A woman who was pleasant and friendly, to be sure, but who no doubt could kick my ass in an arm wrestling match if it came to that. This chick is Home Depot-denim, through and through. In fact, she could probably kick *Blaine’s* ass in an arm wrestling match, also, and change the oil in her truck with the other hand at the same time.
So yesterday morning, she had her power saw set up in my kitchen, and her drill hanging off her belt, and her smoker’s laugh, and watching her, I realized what a freaking weenie I am. I outweigh her by at least thirty pounds, and I’m probably ten years younger; you’d think I’d be tough enough to hang my own damn mini-blinds. So in a pathetic attempt to impress upon her that I am a woman of the 90’s,** capable and confident, I decided to do a few of the smaller projects that I’ve been putting off (again, read: lazy) at the same time that she was working --- you know, if we worked side by side, maybe we would have a sort of female bonding episode, like we were both Tim the Tool-man Taylor, if you will.
First I grabbed a straight edge razor and took several layers of old paint off the windowsills and trim in one of the bedrooms. That went ok, but quite frankly, I was sitting on the (new) hardwood floor and it was really cold on my butt. Then I was going to change the light bulb in one of the hallway light fixtures, so I dragged a ladder over there, but couldn’t get the screws undone to remove the fixture because they were screwed in really tight (I’m not kidding – really, really tight and it hurt my fingers!) and so I quit that project … whimper….
Still determined to impress her with my handi-man-ness, I found a project I could handle --- re-gluing the tiles that had popped off the wall in the bathroom. A few had come off completely and a few were loose, so I had purchased a tube of adhesive and decided to get to work on that. After all, if Ms. Bob Villa in my kitchen could work a power saw, surely I could handle gluing a few tiles, right?
So I cut the tip off the end of the adhesive and tried to squeeze some out onto a tile. But that stuff was STUCK in that tube! I squeezed, and squeezed again harder, and I couldn’t get ANY of it to come out. I mean, I realize I’m not a body builder or anything, but I wouldn’t have thought I was *that* weak! I briefly considered asking Ms. This Old House for help, but by golly, I wanted to prove my mettle in the home improvement arena, so I decided that if I didn’t have the muscles to make it work, then I would just put my weight behind it --- and I certainly have enough of that!
So I laid the tube on the counter and mashed down with all of my strength --- and the damn end of the tube popped off and shot adhesive all over the counter! I gave a dainty exclamation (I think my exact words were “Oh, shit!) and cleaned up the mess, then took the tube to show the handy-girl. I thought perhaps we could bond over the defectiveness of the product, and not that I’m desperate for friends here in this city or anything, but maybe after she would invite me out for shots of straight whiskey, or a knife throwing contest or something.
“Look!” I said, holding out the tube for her to see, “Look at this defective tube of adhesive! I mashed on it real hard, and the end just shot off and got sticky stuff all over the bathroom counter!”
She looked at me, just looked at me with this really funny look on her face. She sort of hesitated, and then said, “You *do* know that’s supposed to go in a caulking gun, don’t you?”
Hmmm. Something tells me I was the butt of a few jokes at her hunting lodge last night.
**Do you think my problem could be that the 90's are over? And I perhaps peaked about ten years ago???