A Report From the Trenches of Home Repair

drillI don’t care what is said about the trustworthiness of FOX News or MSNBC, I say the only channel unworthy of trust is HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and my wife is hooked on it.

“Look,” she says, as an actor slips a new window into place, “See how easy that is?”

Yeah, right….

I fought in all theaters of home repair, from old farm houses to new condos and nothing, I repeat, nothing is easy or ever just slips into place. HGTV is shot in a studio, far from the cry of battle. They can afford five takes and they never show the casualties.

Why am I telling you this?

Someone has to speak truth to power and I guess it has to be me.  For example last Saturday, egged on by HGTV, my wife launched yet another war.

“Honey,” she asked innocently, “could you hang a curtain rod over the sink?”

I protested.

She rolled her eyes and repeated the HGTV slogan, “it’s easy.”

Maybe for her but she wasn’t doing the work.

First, let’s talk about terrain. She claimed the curtain is “over the sink”. That is only half the truth.  In actuality, the objective is located deep within An Alcove Too Far.  A place where there is no room to maneuver.

Second, while armed with a reliable and battle tested power drill, I dread marching into battle with screws provided by low-bid suppliers.

Follow this scenario with me:

Scene: In a nondescript office located deep within the lush corporate campus of the Home Repair/Industrial Complex, an accountant pours over production reports.  He stops to squint at a detail.  Bolting to the phone, he furiously clacks keys before barking into the receiver. This is what we hear from his side of the conversation.

“Have you any idea how many curtain rods we project to sell next quarter?”

“What do you mean, ‘a hell of lot’?  The number is north of six million.”

“Uh-huh, now multiply six million by the number of screws included in each kit.”

“Good Grief!!  You are a math-wiz. Twenty-four million is correct. So how are you going to cut the cost of each kit?”

“You can’t think of a way, huh? I will tell you how to do it. Take a half-inch off each screw and make them out of the softest, cheapest metal imaginable.”

“What? Who cares if men all over America suffer? HGTV will convince their wives that they are whiners.”

So there I am, hunkered down in a tiny alcove, the whine of a power-drill screaming over my head as screw after screw pings past my nose and ricochets into the sink. The heads are stripped, the shafts bent – and my flesh is ripped to shreds by the drill-bit.  I howl in protest, I curse the powers that be, and for what?

My wife is safe on the home front, watching yet another episode of HGTV, nodding in agreement, dreaming up the next project and silently mouthing their mantra…

It’s easy!

It’s oh so easy!



Author: Almost Iowa


27 thoughts on “A Report From the Trenches of Home Repair”

  1. As most funny things in life, this is hilarious because it’s so true. I feel like a whole sketch comedy could be made based around home improvement fiascos. Someone please get on that. And toss the “Words I Made Up In a Rage” into the mix. Good stuff

    1. “Words I Made Up In a Rage”

      Uh-huh, I have had my children try to wash my mouth out with soap… and this was when they were little.

  2. I watched a you tube video on how to change a belt on my vacuum cleaner. Almost broke a thumb and a finger, and I invented curse words never previously known to man. And as soon as I got it on, it stayed on for two vacuums, then it was back off. So don’t tell me easy peasy. Ain’t so.

      1. Problem is that I cannot remember what they are. Have you ever wondered what Jesus said when he hit the finger instead of the nail. Maybe Dad Darn It.

  3. My brother worked on one of those HGTV shows. The tv cabinet they’d built “easy AND cheap!” collapsed the second they finished filming. They couldn’t *quite* save the new flatscreen.

  4. Ummmm, can I borrow you, Greg? I would cook up a nice dinner for you if I could cook. We need a back porch built. I’ll provide the hardware.

    1. I hear you, brother.

      I have given up on Lowe’s and Home Depot for almost everything. Instead I shop at the little family run hardware stores where they not only know their inventory but they understand, from long and patient experience, what their customers are capable of..

  5. Look, someone has to do it…would you rather pay another guy to do it? Why not keep a jar of assorted decent screws for these projects? Tell your wife that you would like a big chunk of honeydew for your trouble.
    Very cute story!

    1. I would never pay someone else to do minor home repair tasks. I failed in mention in the post that I charge my wife steep rates for the work.

        1. Funny you should mention that. My next task is to mount brackets so the adjustable shower rod she has mounted in the laundry room (to hang her clothes on) doesn’t keep falling down.

            1. Use Super Glue. I saw a show like your HGTV yesterday. They lifted over 300 pounds with one drop. Then they lifted a car with (I think) seven drops.

              1. Perhaps I am just a crusty old man who’s skeptical of almost everything but that sounds too ‘easy’. I have had horrible experiences with ‘easy’.

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