Thursday, January 13, 2005

If It’s Broke, Don’t Fix It...

Or fix it in a really half-assed way. There’s an antique lamp in our house that I like very much. To turn it on here’s what I have to do. Turn the switch, which has an F embossed on it, so that the F is standing on its head. Then jiggle the switch a few times. If that doesn’t work, then I have to grasp the cord near the plug and move it slowly in a counter-clockwise direction. This is how I've been turning on the lamp for at least 10 years. I do actually know how to rewire a lamp, but until the day when I cannot get it to turn on at all, I will continue to use this method.

As I was performing this delicate operation this evening, it occurred to me that there are quite a few things in our house that would not pass muster if there were any sort of handyman or handywoman living here. For example:
  • When the U-shaped pipe under the bathroom sink sprang a leak, I called up my dad, the Master of Half-Assed Repairs, to get some input. He suggested wrapping it with electrical tape and then, for good measure, slapping some duct tape over the electrical tape. Problem solved.*
  • When the strike plate came loose from our bedroom door, B determined that a product known as Liquid Wood (I think) would fill in the spots where the wood had crumbled away. After waiting an eternity for the Liquid Wood to petrify (or whatever it is supposed to do), he was able to screw the strike plate back on. It’s fallen off once, but he patched it back up with Liquid Wood, and we're now back in business.
  • When the wooden stick that opens our louvered blinds snapped off in my hand, B made a beeline for the crazy glue, which along with an ancient screwdriver are really the only two tools he ever employs when making a repair.
To give B his due, I should say that he is one of these computer wizard types and has pulled my computer from the flames more than once. In fact, I don’t know if I could run my business without his geeky know-how. So, given the choice of a guy with a fully stocked toolbelt or a guy who can resurrect a hard drive after it’s gone kerflooey, I’ll take the latter--if I can’t have both.

*Sure we could have called a plumber, but that’s the kind of repair that, as a responsible homeowner, you are supposed to innately know how to do. It’s embarrassing to call a plumber for that, not to mention spendy. We’re waiting until some other plumbing thing goes wrong and then we’ll call a plumber and say (the gooky tape will have been removed), “Oh, by the way, could you fix this thing under the sink? It just now all of a sudden started leaking.” I think it’s a good plan.


Blogger Cagey said...

One of the biggest adjustments in my marriage has been the differing attitudes towards home repairs. I come from a DIY family whereas, my husband is from India - the Land of Cheap Labor. His philosophy is to hire out EVERYTHING (even some of the house cleaning and he's pushing for the yardwork next!). I am getting used to it - the lazy part of me loves it, the cheap part of me hates forking over the greens.

BTW, I am sure you know this, but it sounds like you may have some UL Compliance issues going in your household! :-)

7:28 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I identify completely. The lamp next to my desk has stopped working altogether, months ago, and we *still* haven't done anything about it, even though we both know how to fix it.

But for heaven's sake, don't leave that lamp on when you're out of the house or asleep!!!!

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In our case it is our cars. Husband is brilliant about fixing the engine but is time poor and needs a 'round tuit' sometimes. So I drive with the passenger side blowing cold air when the heat is cranked up, and the rear hatch not opening and closing by remote like it is supposed to. You know, the little things you kinda get used to.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...


I feel the same way about hiring stuff out. If I had a ton of money, I wouldn't do a tap of housework or yardwork. We do call people in for serious problems. I mean, we don't want the house to collapse around our ears or blow up or anything.


Maybe we both need to put "rewire lamp" on our to-do lists. At least you haven't been putting it off for a decade.


We humans are remarkably adaptable, aren't we? I know I would never get around to having the problem with the hatchback fixed. I'm sure that's the sort of repair that would cost several hundred dollars--not worth it as long as you can open it manually.

BTW: Do you have a blog? If so, please leave the address the next time you comment. I, for one, would like to check it out!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Jilly said...

You made me laugh so much in my comments by calling Jon a wally. God I love that word!

I don't replace anything in my place unless its completely dead and useless, you should be proud of your 'bodge jobs', they take alot of talent!

5:51 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...


Yeah. Wally is a great word. I wish we used it over here.

We really don't try to fix anything if there is anyway we can still use it without taking a stab at fixing it.

6:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home