Friday, April 08, 2011

Fix It Yourself. Um, No Thanks.

I’ve never been very handy. When it comes to home repairs or assembling gadgets and electronics, I’m not your go-to guy. Some men truly enjoy getting their hands dirty, digging in and accomplishing a task. They get a thrill from the challenge and a sense of accomplishment when the task is completed. Not me. I’d much rather pay someone else to do it for me.
For some reason, I never acquired the desire to learn how to replace a shower head, repair a broken light switch, hang shelves, set up an entertainment system or even replace a light bulb. To this day, I still have to remind myself “lefty loosey, righty tighty” whenever changing a bulb.

My best friend, who will tackle any home repair, task, or challenge and who has completed plenty for me in the past, can’t seem understand why I have absolutely zero desire to learn a new skill or challenge myself. It’s just not part of my DNA, what can I say? But feeling guilty, I recently decided to challenge myself and attempted a few home repairs myself. I settled on two tasks, re-caulk my bathtub and replace the nozzle on my bathroom faucet.

First task, the tub. After asking three people for advice, I finally settled on a razor blade and a screwdriver to peel and pry away the old caulk, then scrubbed the tile down with Tilex and a sponge, let it dry for a few hours and then squeezed the new caulk into the cracks. I used my index finger to even it out, and after about an hour – the task was completed. (I know, the use of an index finger is probably not the professional way of doing things, but it’s fully sealed, clean and looks great.)

Next, the bathroom sink. Getting the nozzle off was the most difficult part, but once I purchased a pair of pliers at the 99 Cent Store, viola. Then it was off to my local hardware store for the replacement part. Thank God I brought the old nozzle with me; there were more options offered than at Baskin Robbins. I quickly tracked down a salesman and had him locate the proper nozzle for me. (I know, you think that’s cheating, but I see it as being resourceful.) Two dollars and thirty-five cents later, I was back home screwing in the new nozzle. Done.

Now, I must admit - both tasks were easier than I originally anticipated, and not very time consuming, if you don’t count the three trips to the store for caulk, pliers and a nozzle. But did I experience an overwhelming sense of accomplishment upon completing these tasks? Certainly not. Did I have a sense of pride in my work? Maybe just a little. Did I enjoy the process? No, not really. Will I conduct future home improvements? Hell no!

So what does get me excited or make me feel like I’ve accomplished something? Knowing I put a smile on someone’s face, making their day brighter, or making someone laugh, cry or think twice about a story I told or an essay I wrote. That’s what makes me feel proud, not a freshly caulked bathtub. Lesson learned - paying someone else to accomplish a task for me - priceless.

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