816 North Opinion

June 10, 2014

Sherry Kuehl: Few things inspire as much fear as my husband doing home repairs

It’s a phrase I dread hearing.

It’s a phrase I dread hearing.

When it happens I get all shaky and I feel like I can’t breathe. Who would have thought eight words could throw me into such a panic? But when one of my children informs me that “Dad’s watching a home improvement video on YouTube,” I think my heart stops.

The repercussions of this simple act are so far reaching and potentially life threatening that I’ve conducted drills with my children so they know exactly what to do when seeing their father receive repair tips via the Internet.

Last Saturday, my son delivered the unsettling news that my husband was glued to his computer screen watching a dishwasher “fix it” video. I was running errands and away from home when I got the call. I quickly responded by shouting into my cell, “C’mon, this is what we’ve trained for. You know what to do. It’s go time. Remember the three D’s: distract, delay, divert.”

“Okay, okay, I distract him by asking about the University of Texas Rose Bowl game, right?”

“Yes, it’s the 2006 Rose Bowl. Just say Rose Bowl and Vince Young and then let him start yammering. If it sounds like he’s wrapping up the play-by-play ask him about total yardage.”

“Got it. Rose Bowl, Vince Young, yardage. When are you going to be home? I don’t know how long I can do this.”

“Stall him for 15 minutes max. I’m heading your way right now and for the love of God do not let him go to Home Depot. Hide his keys if you have too.”

My husband is talented at a great many things. Home repairs just isn’t one of them. I’m all good with that but for some reason he feels compelled to attempt to fix things before calling in what usually requires a team of professionals. Yes, I know it’s a guy thing. I’m pretty sure at those Low T (Testosterone) centers you hear advertised all the time on the radio, one of the first tests they give a man is something to repair. If they’re not interested in, say, snaking a clogged drain, then it’s proof their testosterone is about a quart low.

I have nothing against my husband trying to do repairs around the house. What I’m concerned with is the added cost of paying someone to fix his repairs and, of course, even though he’s heavily insured, I don’t want to see him meet his demise from electrocution or falling off a roof. In fact, the roof or any kind of gutter work has become off limits. The day I say, “Oh sure, go ahead and climb up on that rickety ladder and clean out the gutters” is the day he’ll know I no longer love him and have big plans for that life insurance payout.

When I got home my son had totally let me down. I walked into my kitchen and found both of them watching the YouTube video. My husband had already tried his favorite home repair go to — Drano (followed closely by duct tape and Gorilla Glue) and was now moving on to some sort of dismantling of the dishwasher’s innards. I gently suggest that they both back away from the dishwasher and hand over the screwdriver.

All that got me was a whole lot of male blustering about how they’ve “got this.” I had no choice but to leave the kitchen and hope for the best. And by that I mean going upstairs to my computer and looking at new dishwashers online. I was thinking the stainless steel KitchenAid with the “ProWash Whisper Cycle” would be really nice.

As luck would have it, just as I’m getting excited about my new dishwasher, I’m summoned back to the kitchen to behold their work. Apparently, the father-son duo had “fixed” the dishwasher. They were both beaming. I birthed two children and I don’t think I was that proud of creating life. I had to listen to them explain the intricate problem solving and repair work that they had undertaken and then was given what amounted to a theatrical production of the dishwasher’s rinse cycle operating at maximum “clog free” capacity. Seriously, it would have made decent dinner theater.

I cooed the appropriate comments and lavished praise on their handyman abilities. Then I went back upstairs and bookmarked the KitchenAid dishwasher. I’ll probably be ordering it sooner than later.

Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, twitter @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at snarkyinthesuburbs.com. She’s also written a book, “Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.”

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