Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2000

A quick fix: There is no such thing

August 17, 2000

I alluded a few weeks back to the notion that I am missing the fix-it gene prevalent in most men. I'm not sure if it's an X or an Y chromosome in actuality.

Methinks in my case, it's a G chromosome, which stands for Gone someplace else.

Whereever it is, I am living proof that the fix-it gene either skips a generation or is not passed on hereditarily because my father can fix just about anything.

When I was a kid, he had the most elaborate set of tools in the neighborhood. His collection of wrenches, screwdrivers and hammers made him the envy of the testosterone-drenched males in the neighborhood.

They were always borrowing something.

And, with those tools, my father could work magic.

Of course, that's what he does for a living. He is a vacuum cleaner repairman. He can take apart any model in the Hoover catalog and put it back together. If I tried to do that, I could almost guarantee that it wouldn't suck, if you know what I mean. There would likely be a few leftover parts and the thing would spend an eternity of inactivity in the back of the closet.

But my father loves me unconditionally.

He probably feels guilt pangs at times a sense that he failed me in many ways. Instead of raising a boy who could fix it all, he's stuck with someone whose only skill is his ability to write about his inability to fix things.

And we all know you can't make an honest living with a mere ability to write about it.

Maybe it's better that I live 1,834 miles to the east.

Out of the eye of judgment.

Of course, there's one thing I've learned in nearly two years of owning a home: Even if you don't have the fix-it gene, you still have to dabble in trying to fix things.

At least I know my limitations.

I can hammer nails, drive screws and probably saw a piece of wood.

And I learned in the last few weeks that putting together a swing set is best left for those with the time and wherewithal to get the job done right.

Our little girl's seventh birthday surprise was a large box that presented a logistical nightmare in getting to the house, considering we are a truckless family. Little did I realize that my troubles would only be beginning once the large box arrived.

Usually, I am pretty good at reading directions. The only problem was that the swing set, featuring two swings, a slide, a teeter-totter, strength rings and some contraption that resembles the inside of a stage coach, had more nuts, bolts, screws and brackets than I knew existed.

They were all shapes and sizes and the directions didn't differentiate between them.

In other words, I was in trouble.

To make matters worse, this was truly a two-man job. Sliding those six-foot posts into the socket and lining up the holes before sliding in the whatchamajigit, which screwed right into the doohickey required four arms.

Instead, I tried to do it by myself because I was too proud to ask the wife for help (at least I received that male gene). Ever see those Scottish Games they show on ESPN at 2 a.m. when the guy in the skirt has that long pole and he tries to toss it end over end as far as he can?

Take out the throwing par (and the skirt) and that's what I looked like.

Eventually, I got the poles in place. It too me all day, but the foundation was finally set. A week later I set up the swings and the slide and this weekend my goal is to get the teeter-totter in place.

Amazingly, the thing has withstood a couple of major storms already, but it has yet to come across its greatest challenge: the wrath of a 7-year-old in full-play mode.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.