I thought, when I married an engineer, that fixing the house would be a breeze. We could build anything and save on repair costs. It’s true that he can rig all sorts of interesting solutions to leaks and cracks, and quickly assemble furniture, though usually with parts left over. To which he replies, “I didn’t need them. My design is more efficient.” Which of course means we have a box full of random parts that don’t go to anything, but we keep in case they might go to something. Also we have a great many allen wrenches, because fifty of those little suckers will come in handy some day.
However, the other day, the rubber strip on the bottom of the shower came up. He stared at it critically and said, “Hmm. I’ll Shoe Goo it.” Eventually I argued that maybe just replacing it would be a better idea, so off we went to the hardware store. We wandered around aimlessly, trying to figure out what part best matched this thing, since we didn’t know what it was called. While we searched, we noted a great many other people, wandering about with a glazed expression and holding the remains of some part in their hands, holding it up periodically to see if it looked like anything nearby.
I’m sure the people who owned the house were like these people, too. We discovered, when we moved in, that the house was cobbled together with do-it-yourself projects done by people who shouldn’t have. We’d set a washcloth on the towel bar, and then leap backward as the bar invariably crashed to the floor. Silly us, trying to hang towels on the towel bars!
We did eventually find the shower stripping, though of course none of them were the correct size or shape, which meant we had to stuff the thing into the door with a screwdriver while cursing loudly, as I’m sure professional contractors do.
Most recently, a strange smell began permeating the upstairs hallway. It smelled like a leaking Sharpie marker. I investigated everywhere; unplugged all the lamps, felt all the outlets, looked for leaking oil, pulled up the heat registers. Nothing. Finally, my husband told me to take a break, so we went downstairs to watch The Walking Dead. As the opening credits rolled, there was a hissing sound, followed by a bang. We ran over to see the chandelier over the stairs had exploded into flames. It burned itself out by the time I got the extinguisher, revealing the source to be one of the electric “candles.” We turned off the fuse, and spent the next day back at the hardware store, and today hunting for an electrician.
We did have this discussion, after the fact:
A: You looked so silly, running around looking for the extinguisher.
Me: Well, you just stood there. You’re lucky that light didn’t fall on your head.
A: I was trying to figure out how to put it out.
Me: That’s why I was getting the extinguisher.
A: But if you couldn’t find it, I’d have to put it out some other way.
Me: You were going to throw flour at the fire? Ten feet in the air?
Me: I’m pretty sure that’s grease fires, not electrical. (You have to admit, the image of someone flinging a ten pound bag of flour at a flaming chandelier is amusing)
A: It’s probably a good thing that it just burned itself out.
I kept waiting for him to suggest Shoe-gooing it, but I assume he didn’t only because he can’t get up that high.