"OK. Where's a screwdriver? I'm going to fix this damn thing once and for all."
She stood before me with half the doorknob to the bathroom door in her hand.
" I thought you fixed it," she said.
" Well, I just screwed it back together," I said. " I guess I forgot."
" You need to fix this," she said as she headed back to the bathroom. " I can't help it if I am stronger than I look."
We all bring different gifts to the party. I am not completely useless around the house, the preceding lecture notwithstanding. But I concede that my skill level is somewhere between "not completely useless" and "can hang pictures by myself." Which is unfortunate as I live in an old house. And there is something always going wrong with an old house.
Here's a true story. The Previous Administration wanted a dremel tool for Christmas one year.
"Ok," I said. " What's a dremel tool?"
" You're kidding," she said. "You don't know what a dremel tool is?"
" Ummmmm, noooooo."
" You poor sweet man," she said as she patted my forearm as she regarded me with pity. " You poor sweet man." She then walked away shaking her head, undoubtedly wondering how she had wound up with the only straight guy in the county who didn't know what a dremel tool was.
So, thus knowing when I am whipped, I recently retained my neighbor Jimmy to do a series of small repairs here at the Hillcrest Sports Bar. Jimmy runs a handyman service. People are taking better care of their property and/or merely staying there longer. And so Jimmy is a very busy man.
I mainly needed my front gate fixed and the door to the laundry room replaced. But while he was here he was going to do a series of other small jobs.
" I think you need to replace that latch," I helpfully observed as he was poking around on the gate. " The wind has caused it to bend over time. Maybe a latch made with stronger metal. "
He put the earpiece of his glasses in his ear and ran his tape measure from the house to the latch. He looked at me with a " do I tell you how to practice law?" expression on his face.
" Actually, you are looking at this backwards," he said. " Whoever built this fence didn't put the post in deep enough over yonder. My guess is he hit the slab about 2 foot shy of where he needed to be to stabilize this gate. By the time he got here he was probably too far ahead and just decided not to tell you that this gate would be trouble eventually. The post by the house has been moving over time. That's what is causing the stress on the latch."
" How are you going to fix it?"
Jimmy is hunkered down and scratching his chin.
"That I do not know just yet."
The door in the laundry room folds like a screen. It recently got all hung up. I was afraid to try to force it.
" I hate these doors," Jimmy said as he shined his light up the top hinge. " This is the 'flat roof' of doors. They always have problems and they can't be fixed for good. You can't fix it. I can't fix it. But it's cheaper to just get it to halfway work than to put a new one in. Because eventually you will have trouble with it too. You will have trouble with this kind of door until the Lord comes."
I did not know that. But his explanations concerning the door and the gate made me feel less idiotic than I did before hand. Why beat myself up? The gate was screwed up by the moron that built it. The only permanent solution to the door in the laundry room requires Gabriel to blow his trumpet first.
Such things are out of my control.
Jimmy must have figured something out with the gate. It works fine now although he comes by from time to time and eyes it with professional skepticism. So far so good with the laundry room door. It is either working or I have not been called to Glory yet. At least I have my doubts on that latter score as I don't believe that I would have gotten a text from Don about how GM "fucked the Saturn brand up" if the Rapture had taken me this morning.
I know this. While we bring different gifts to the party, one woman's "poor sweet man" is a man whose head another woman is about to put a knot upon.
So I better fix the doorknob.
After all, she can't help it if she's stronger than she looks.