OPINION COLUMNS

My unhandy hands; Fumbling through home repair projects

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, November 21, 2015
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Like Liam Neeson in the “Taken” series, I possess a certain set of skills. Unfortunately, those skills do not include home repair.

When taking on the simplest tasks, I’ve come to realize that I’m far more Tim “the Toolman” Taylor than Al from “Home Improvement.”

In being a second-time homeowner, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to hone my skills. Many have been successfully completed, but not without colorful language or help from family and friends.

There’s also the multiple trips to the hardware store where a Bob Villa clone gives me a pep talk about how easy this project will be. Leaving the store, I believe him. Then a couple of hours later, on my return to pick up an additional accessory or tool, my goal is to avoid Mr. Villa and hold on to a shred of dignity.

I figured eventually I would stumble upon some area of home repair at which I’m a natural. But so far no luck.

I’ve tried plumbing, tackling the leaking downstairs toilet. First, I replaced the guts on the inside and bolts connecting the tank only to find it still leaked. That led to eventually just scrapping it and putting in a new toilet, a process in which I only assisted. Even at that it took some ingenuity because I bought the wrong size toilet for the space.

Next came replacing the garbage disposal. The box said by following simple instructions, it would be a 30-minute project. That 30 minutes just covered the second trip to the hardware store. Instead, America’s 238th birthday was spent with four-plus people under a sink and plenty of colorful English.

My ineptitude isn’t limited to inside the house. When wind knocked over part of the fence, I thought, ‘how hard could this be to repair?’ I was pouring sweat just digging out the old concrete and immediately understood why the fence quotes were so high.

Fortunately, my oldest brother, who has the patience of Job, came to the rescue and helped replace the runners on the panels and put in the new post. We thought we were doing good until we placed the panels and realized we had missed on some on measurements with the runners. We put them up anyway, and they haven’t fallen yet.

The most recent project should have been the simplest. Trying to fix a sticking door, I took apart the lock, only to have the inside crumble in my hand. Then came another rushed trip to the hardware store.

Because of work, that repair became a two-night project with the resourceful wife completing half the job.

Despite the frustration, cursing and bodily injury that accompanied these fledgling home repair attempts, there was still some satisfaction in completing the tasks.

I just hope these unhandy hands aren’t needed anytime soon.

Richard Greene is the Messenger’s sports editor.

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