When Nita gets an idea, she goes all out. Last year, when I sat stuck in the recliner recovering from wisdom tooth surgery, she completely redid the landscaping in front of the house. On Father’s Day, when I was out hiking the Little Miami Trail (unlike a certain philandering governor who said the same thing that weekend), she painted the living room. This year, she redid the floor in the kitchen. Did I help?
Generally, unless it’s painting, I stay the hell out of the way.
So, you ask, what are you doing while your wife suffers and toils?
Glad you asked. I have a to-do list as well. Each weekend, I have a different task setup to work on for the house. Last weekend, I decided I was going to replace the old towel racks in the bathroom, rehang a door, and clean fourteen years of corner crud off the bathroom floor.
I succeeded on the bathroom floor.
What I discovered was that bathroom fixtures don’t normally come with flat backs. You have to drill holes in the wall and screw them in. Yes, I went on the Internet and learned that Mighty Putty does work as Billy Mays screamed it would. However, when the towel rack holders are hollow, it doesn’t matter that Billy dragged a semi with the stuff. If there’s nothing back there to put the stuff on, it ain’t going on the wall.
“So just drill a hole, Jim.”
Er… That doesn’t normally work on ceramic tile.
And I forgot to get new bolts for the door hinge. Meanwhile, Nita painted the old wall tiles in the kitchen and redid the cabinets. I seldom have felt emasculated around my wife. I can honestly say Lowes, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart combined to do the job instead.
This past weekend, I did a little better. I replaced a shower curtain with the right length this time and recaulked the bathtub again. Next week, we try the door again.
So why is my wife running circles around me in home improvement? Her starter spouse was not handy. (Just sayin’) So Nita had to pick up the slack. When she found herself single, she just took over what she wasn’t already doing.
During that era of her life and mine, I lived in apartments. Home improvement was someone else’s problem. At least until my starter spouse and I first chucked a parasitic roommate, then moved to an honest-to-God house of our own. I did pick up a few skills after moving to my first house. I learned how to paint really fast. I strung coax cable through an upstairs hallway between bedrooms.
This summer, I plan to rip out some sod, build some bookshelves in the office, and repaint the garage. So I’m not completely useless.