Who you gonna call - handyman or auctioneer?

March 22, 2020

Plenty of homeowners are emptying out their garage, pulling out last year’s tools to shape up their lawns, and doing general cleanup around the house and yard in anticipation of spring. Well, maybe that happens around your house and yard, but my husband and I are so inept at anything remotely connected to a habitat, we probably shouldn’t even own a house, and technically the bank would probably agree. And we don’t have a garage either.

But it is that time of the year when the weather is warm enough to take a walk around the property and see what needs to be repaired, replaced, discarded or in desperation, moved to your neighbor’s side of the property line, naturally under cover of darkness. For some of us, after careful observation, many measurements and scientific consultation, it comes down to just sticking a For Sale sign out front; the winter is never kind to homes.

After a season of temperatures that emulate the recent stock market, Mother Nature’s wrath can only mean one thing – calling a repairman. You can forget about all those helpful hints listed in magazines and on the internet. These articles are written by people who don’t own a home that is being held up by scotch tape, a couple of rotting beams and an entire family of ants that can trace its heritage back to the Mayflower. If you take a shovel and go two feet down, you more than likely will hit a lot of relics such as mobsters with nicknames like Four Toes or Crazy Eyes. Plus, most of the articles involve pouring cement, which I really wouldn’t recommend for those of us who don’t know our multiplication tables.

Now, the average home repair is going to be costly. Don’t kid yourself; you are eventually going to have to call a repairman, one who goes by just one name if possible. I remember my brother had a friend who could repair anything. I never actually saw his face because he was always under a car fixing something that sounded like a part that fell off a UFO. I used to visit him in the burn unit a lot, but I still couldn’t see what he looked like with all those bandages. He actually had a restraining order to keep him away from all the chemistry labs in high schools within our ZIP code. Wherever he went, things just happened to blow up.

A highly sought-after repairman arrives in a truck with tires that look like they are on performance-enhancing drugs. He wears a T-shirt in winter and will look at you with complete disdain. The only things that bring a smile to his face are broken pipes, wires hanging down and insulation strewn all over the yard. He’s the one you want to hire.

I grew up in a house where my father fixed everything anyway. It’s not that he had any expertise in this field, since his regular job had nothing to do with home repairs. He just fixed stuff. We never had a cabinet door hanging off the hinges or a window that refused to shut. We never called a repairman, either. If he couldn’t do it, it was always my uncle or another neighbor who would jump at the chance to come over and help. 

Sure, it is very difficult to find yourself at the nearest home improvement center, wandering around pretending you know what you are looking for. It’s especially painful for people like us, since the only thing we’ve ever done there is have a key made for the front door.

I tell you, the garage spells nothing but trouble. Things are always inside there festering, growing, hiding, mating, piling up and Lord knows what else. Garageless is the way to go today. And let the bidding begin on a guy they call Excessive Force.

  • 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.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter