Bring on the hammer, nails and spring repairs

March 24, 2011

The real temptation right about now, with the sun shining brightly, is to shed those sweaters and jackets, race outside the house and start fixing things up around the yard. After a particular brutal winter, where snowfall amounts reached a whopping eighth of an inch, homeowners’ personal properties in particular bear the scars of a battered season.

Usually the damage is nothing too major, but you know we all have those random shingles splayed across the front yard, which turn out to belong to the neighbors anyway, porches held on by duct tape, large sink holes where you used to park your car and the occasional relative who has been missing for the last three months, which may explain the sudden appearance of the sink hole.

When tackling these home projects though, you should consider one thing, your body hasn’t been used in any capacity that would involve physical activity, to the point where it could be considered as a tax write off with alien DNA matter composing most of the gnarly mass you walk around in.

Muscles have turned to mush and there is a permanent indentation from your rear end in the couch so deep that you could put crime scene tape around it. You need a can of STP or canola oil just to swing your legs out of the bed in the morning. Basically you now are just a head with a spine attached. You may as well take an ambulance to the local hardware repair center because that is how you are going to go home and I’m just talking about the results from pushing a cart around the aisles.

I always take a list with me to these stores; it makes you look like you know what you are doing, when in fact, I know that in a few days I will be calling a professional to finish the job or at the very least to help me in and out of the car with the crane I’ve rented to push the back of the house into alignment with the front. I’ll write this person a check the size of the national debt. My list consists of a large item like a piece of wood and then one of those things you see advertised at night in packets of 100, like a wrench. Shoulders back and your order barked in a loud voice so you drown out the overhead music, and you really appear to know what you are doing. The fact you’ve caught your fingernails, which are painted a Palm Beach Pink, in your zipper is the only giveaway.

I’m one of the hundreds of women who will have to do any spring repair projects around the house by myself. Unfortunately we’ve married men who cannot put a nail to a hammer. They’ve escaped this by purposely going to medical and law schools just to avoid this very situation.

But women are comfortable around home repair centers; I personally love all the stuff in jars, like those little thingamabobs, I don’t know what they are used for, but they look comforting and sympathetic.

I stroll up and down the aisles examining sump pumps, light bulbs, cans of paint and something that I think belongs in a sadistic dentist’s office. All of which, I throw into my cart.

Yes, I bring these items home, but you always should leave them outside for a period of time. This allows the neighbors to feel badly about your upcoming work, especially if you use a cane to come and go into the house. I think a fake hump on your back is a little overkill.

Superficial? It can’t be helped. I also bet you have some nice retired men in the neighborhood who are experts with that hammer and nail gun.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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