Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reason #983749387 I am not qualified to do home repair

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???


Anonymous said...


That is hilarious! My husband and I independently built a rental house last year and I too was determined to be involved in every step! From using the laser beam lights at night for squaring the foundation, to choosing the color and painting the finished product. But, I too fell very short in my levels of contribution. I did master making glasses of ice water and bringing them outside to him occasionally. (Unfortunately it was usually after he called for it) :(
Anyway, I too had a great time figuring out the caulking gun. He was thrilled with me the day I came back with the economy pack of 6 tubes of the wrong stuff even though he sent me to the store with a sample bottle in hand! I just thought I was smarter and more economical than him, but I clearly should not assume anything!

How should you refer to being a woman of this decade? I am a woman of the primary numbers? The 2000's? That sounds weird!

Anyway, good luck finishing the work on your rental!


Becky, in N. TX said...


ROFLMAO!!! OMG, that was funny. Thanks for the laugh.


How about saying you're a woman of the new millennium!?!


Becky, in N. TX said...


ROFLMAO!!! OMG, that was funny. Thanks for the laugh.


How about saying you're a woman of the new millennium!?!


Jen said...

ROFLMAO!! Believe it or not, I'm actually having flashbacks to last week... my friend and I were scrapbooking at Archivers. Well, I was scrapbooking... she was working on a wall map. She bought a tube of liquid nails to stick a laminated map to foam so she could hang it in her office and put pins in it.

At any rate, she was also supposed to have a caulking gun, but had never used liquid nails before, so she didn't know. I only know because my FIL is a handyman type, and I've sat through my share of home improvement shows in his living room.

We both ended up leaning on that thing with all our weight to get the darn adhesive out... I never even considered it might pop! That would have been a nightmare!

Hope you were able to get all the gunk off of your counter top.

M&Co. said...

Wow! I need the name of your handi-man; someone who shows up when they say they will, does the work and charges what they say they will. You know. Or I could hire you. I'm sure you'll have a caulking gun by then.

Renee' said...

Suggestion -- stick with what you know and do best --- forget the handy woman thing. Keith's sister makes me feel that same way sometimes but we have other "talents." You're funny.

Abbie said...

That was HILARIOUS!!! Especially her at the hunting lodge that night. OMG. Hysterical.

Jeri from Hawaii said...

Once again you have made my day...and not because I am laughing at you. Like many others I can SO relate to that experience. Yep, usually when I try to prove myself to someone I fail miserably and the harder I try the more pathetic I appear. I agree with Renee, we have other talents - you are the world's best blogger and mother of the year material. Me? Well, let's say I'm still looking for my special talent!

Cathy in MI said...

Your are such a great story teller, I can totally visualize the whole scene, hILaRioUS. Thanks for the laugh.

P.S. as always not laughing at you but with you!

Monica H said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! Thanks for the good laugh this afternoon. Also, I'm glad to read that yo uare addicted to Tivo :-)

lizinsumner said...

I had a crappy morning. First, the schools were 2 hours late in Sumner, even though there is no snow in Sumner, because Bonney Lake (on the hill above) had some snow last night, and they are part of the Sumner school district and well, now, I had to be 2 hours late into work so that I could get Jake to school and that means I have to work 2 hours late tonight! Then, I got behind every driver in the free world who is incapable of driving even the speed limit on my way to work (and before my Starbucks stop!). When I got to work, my desk was PILED with work. I really, really needed a good laugh. All of that to say, simply - thanks for the good laugh!

lizinsumner said...

PS - as inept as you may feel, you're waaaay ahead of me. The engineers I work with are laughing at me because I'm afraid to pull my radio out of my dash to install a thingie that will let me connect my ipod to it and play music (digitally, of course!) through the cars speakers. If you've mastered that one, will you post directions - pleeeeezzzzzee?????

Nate's Mom said...

OMG! I think that might one of the funniest things I've ever read (even here). I don't think I have ever commented before. But, this one struck a cord because we just bought our first house in Dec and have begun the task of making it "ours." Being poor and cheap, we are taking on most of the projects ourselves. If you don't have enough blogs to read you are welsome to peek at mine. There is a pic of me using the "adhesive gun" on our wood floor ;-) Couldn't resist that one.

Thanks for sharing your life with so many.

Sheri in CA

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is so off topic, but it totally made me laugh and think of you.

Tonight we had Justin's conference. (Allie's is tomorrow night - what the hell were we thinking splitting them in to seperate classes this year? What a pain in the ass! Parents of singletons go through this all of the time, but as parents of twins, we got really lazy only have to go to one class...)

But, anyway.

The 2nd grade has been working on writing, illustrating, and PUBLISHING books this year. This is what Justin's 'About the author' page of his PUBLISHED FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE book says:

'Justin is 9 years old. He used to have 3 other pets, but they died. He had 2 other pets that his parents gave away. Now he has Jack. Jack is his favorite pet, because he still has him. Justin likes to drink grape juice.'

First, grape juice? WTF? That came out of left field.

Second, that makes us sound like the WORST pet owners ever!! He failed to include that the pets that died were GUPPIES and the two that were given away were cats that we found nice homes for, because when we brought the twins home from the hospital, the cats hated them from day one. When it got to the point that the cats were trying to attack the babies, we found child-free homes for them. Instead, we seriously sound like the most callous, worst parents ever!

Oh, and the dedication at the beginning? He dedicated the damn book to JACK. (Jack is our DOG.) Seriously? You'd think that after all my years of sweat and sacrifice and love and seeing to his every need (yeah right!), that I would be mentioned in there somewhere other than as the callous b**** who gives away pets!

I can't wait for tomorrow night when we get to see Allie's book...

Chris M.

Anonymous said...

LMAO!!! That was the funniest things I have heard in a long time. I so loved it, not laughing at your expense, but loved it none the less.

Wendy in Winder, GA