September 17, 2008

A man's work is never done ... correctly

In any marriage, spouses are bound to say things from time to time that discourage, sadden or outrage their partner. In my particular case, for instance, there are five words I blurt out every now and then that send my wife into a state of depression that can take days to escape. Those five words are: "Oh, I can fix that."

I've had my successes, over the years, of which I'm justifiably proud.

Every time I pass by the upstairs hall light, I look up admiringly and say to myself, "I changed that bulb."

I've crammed new washers into drippy faucets, delighted the family when there was some assembly required and even made a bookcase or two that didn't tip over, if you didn't set anything heavy on them.

On the other hand, I once gave myself a brush cut when I tried putting a new plug on a lamp. When I plugged it in, my hair stood on end and stayed that way for about a week.

My gloat level has dropped over the years, as my wife has pointed out little defects in my projects. Whereas I used to gloat over a roof I put on by myself or the hot-water pipe I installed, now I'm reduced to gloating when I dig a clump of leaves out of the downspout and restore the flow.

When I undertake a significant repair now, I'm doing what I call the preliminary work. In other words, I merely pave the way for the professional. I'll get the faucet off so he can install the new one without having to get his hands dirty.

But, while my winning percentage is only so-so and getting worse as my career winds down, I'm a Hall of Famer compared with my friend Casey Flynn. After 25 years of marriage, he's still looking for his first victory.

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