Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Unmanly Confession

My poor wife. She did not marry a handy man. She married a Guy Who Can Do Some Things, Just Don't Give Him a Nail Gun or Miter Saw for Christmas kind of guy.

Projects where manual labor is required (ex: rebuilding the back on our fence or rerouting the spouts for the gutters) or a job where a particular skill set needs to be involved (ex: replacing a light fixture in our guest bedroom) or where patience is required (ex: hanging new closet doors) around my house usually go undone for months. And in some cases years. Is it laziness? Lack of skill? Lack of time? Lack of tools?

While it's true that I don't have the skills or the tools to do these projects, I have to say this: I'm not interested in trying to tackle them in the first place. Really, I'm not interested. At all. In fact, I have about as much interest in talking about projects and how to do them as I do in listening to Stephen Hawking give a lecture in quantum physics. Or listening "How to Macrame" on NPR.

Part of the lack of interest stems from losing my Dad when I was 17. Man, he could build stuff. He built my sister's doll house. He also built my wickedly cool train set that folded out from the wall like a Murphy bed. We also completed our walkway and retaining wall shortly before he died. However, he never showed me how to lay down bricks or how to measure posts and so on. Not his fault entirely as I don't recall asking to learn how to do them. But I also remember not being interested in the first place.

This causes me some embarrassing and uncomfortable moments when socializing with my fellow dudes. When they get talking about doing X, Y and Z to their houses, I just nod politely and try to maintain interest. This is problematic as it can cement my feet in to a conversation for untold minutes. (Good thing beer is usually on hand to get me through such conversations.) For example, I know a guy who's worked on his house going on 2+ years now. He's remodeled the kitchen and all of the rooms, plus done all the wiring on the house. It looks great! But to hear him talk about it all I keep thinking is, "You've spent 2+ years of your life doing this? Holy hell, you missed a lot of sunny golf days." And then I try to finish my beer so I can slink off for a new one.

Part of my lack of interest lies in patience, mostly because I lack it—particularly when things don't go as planned as projects have a way of doing.

To me, spending an entire Sunday installing a door like my friend Andy did over at Dipso Chronicles just doesn't sound like a hootenanny. Yet that's what he did. By about the second or third hour I would've turned to my wife and said, "Honey, I hope you're okay without a front door for the next couple of nights because, fuck it, I'm fucking done with this shit right fucking now." Then I would have kicked the pile of shit door for not cooperating then stormed off to find the nearest beer.

And I'm not kidding about that level of frustration either.

Hell, you should have seen me try to put a new spool of cord on to my Weedwacker recently. The wacker is still spool-less. A door? You gotta be kidding me. Why bother.

Yet there's always been this little Tim The Toolman inside me who wants to get out and at least try.

My friend, Sean, made himself a poker table once—padded rails, velvet top, and he even put his own funky logo in the middle of the table. Fantastic piece of manly man that he built. I wanted one too. So I asked him how he did it. He said it was easy, all he did was blah, blah, blah, did blah, blah, blah, then did blah, blah, blah afterhe did blah, blah, blah, but he had trouble with blah, blah, blah when blah, blah, blah didn't attach to blah, blah, blah so he blah, blah, blah and was done.

He was the teacher in Peanuts to me. I couldn't relate. I asked him how much it cost. He said about $350 for all the materials.

I wanted to double it to $700 to cover his cost in labor for building me one as well.

Also, when we first bought our house, I had interest and verve in doing various projects. I gladly engaged in painting, installing a lock on the front door, patching holes. putting up the mailbox and so on.I even bought a Home Depot book on how to do every imaginable house project. Then I remembered who brought the toolkit into our family unit: my wife.

I even did one major house project that required a great deal of help: Building our fence. I'm glad we hired Matt otherwise our fence would have been as useful as the Maginot Line in keeping the then-alive dog in the yard and unwanted critters and people out.

I feel sorry for my son in all this, too. Daddy's never going to teach him how to build a deck, or lay a walk way, or tile the bathroom, or fix a pipe, and so on. If he's interested in learning, well, that's why there are technical courses at the local junior colleges. And I'll be happy to pay for them too.

These days, my wife now knows that if she wants to get something done that we'll need to hire some one. New doors? New can lights in living room? New tile on the fireplace? If you can do those things, buddy, you're hired.

Look, in the end, I get the whole pride in doing it yourself idea, or that feeling accomplishment. Or that doing projects is a way of relaxing and so on. I get all that. Those are all well and good, and bully for you!

Me? It's "No, Lowe's, let's not build something together. You do it. I've got better things to do." Like play golf. Or take a nap. Anything but measuring or pounding and remeasuring and repounding.

1 comment:

  1. LMFAO! I thought of Andy Rooney when reading.