Mary's Library

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Today I had the choice of beginning work on an incredibly minor household repair project (that has been awaiting my attention for about a year) or doing today's post for Mary's Library. Since you are reading this, you already know what my decision was.

When I do projects around the house, the results are either comic or tragic (although it is not always possible to tell which). I'm usually at a loss regarding minor projects. I won't even consider tackling a major project, which, by definition, includes anything involving pipes or wires.

I operate at a level of sophistication in these matters that is about on par with that of the lady who once called on her neighbors who were avid do-it-yourselfers. As the lady and Mrs D-I-Y sat down to a cup of coffee, Mrs D-I-Y announced that her husband could not join them because he had gone off to the bathroom "to spackle and grout." The lady was sympathetic. "That's awful! My whole family had it last week."

Because I am posting this in lieu of performing home repairs, I suppose that I should mention the only home repair book that I've ever read all the way through. That is an early classic of the works of Dave Barry The Taming of the Screw (1983), with illustrations by Jerry O'Brien. The book starts out by describing tools and why they want to hurt us, and goes on from there. The most useful information in the book is the explanation that no matter how badly wrong things go, you must always tell your wife "It's supposed to do that."

Well, I can't put off my project forever. I can be thankful that it will involve no pipes, no wires (at least not intentionally), and no power tools. With any luck (but there never is) I should be done with this by next weekend. Shortly after that, real professionals will start doing some serious projects around our house. Projects that involve pipes, wires, and power tools. My role will be confined to my specialty of check-writing.


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