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Posted 8/25/15 (Tue)


I’m not real handy. I mean I am really bad. I sometimes read these ads by people who are looking for work around the house. You know. They can do the kind of thing that wives often assume husbands can do. Fix the screen. Hang a picture. Lay a rug.
Over the years, Shirley has pretty much learned that if you need something done right, I am not really the person to call.
It all started about 35 years ago when we had a new carpet put in the ranch house. Nice carpet. Thick. It looked beautiful. But after the carpet guys left, you couldn’t shut the living room door. Shirley said the bottom of that door needed trimmed off.
Being young and in love, I knew that my carpentry skills would impress her. In high school f15 years prior, I had built a creep feeder and feed bunks for our ranch. My Grandpa said they were the first feed bunks he had ever purchased that would not hold grain or hay when they were brand new. The creep feeder fell apart when Dad filled it with oats. But that kind of slipped my mind.
I got a hammer to take the hinges apart. I found the skill saw in the shop. I didn’t need a sawhorse since we had a kitchen island that would suffice.
I measured that door and drew a pretty straight line where the cut should be. All the time telling Shirley to “back off.” This was a simple fix. She was more than a bit nervous. She was glad I was using the skill saw and not the chain saw.
Nothing to it. I followed that line like a professional carpenter. I zipped that door bottom off and was pretty proud. Even Shirley was impressed. For a couple of minutes. When we lifted the door off the kitchen island, she was quick to notice. I hadn’t slid the door quite far enough off the island. It had a nice quarter-inch cut the entire width of the island about two inches from the end!
I’ve a friend who is at least as bad as I.
Same deal. New carpet. Solid oak door that wouldn’t close. He loaded the door in his pickup and took it to the lumberyard. Closed. It was Saturday. Went to the next yard. Same thing. Closed.    
By now, he was getting a little testy. He went to a friend’s gas station and asked if they had a skill saw he could borrow. And one of those things for drawing a straight, parallel line on this oak door. They did.
He slid that door part-way out of his pickup and proceeded to cut off a half-inch. As he was cutting a tourist stopped to admire his work.
Mike explained that carpentry was easy. All you had to do was use common sense. The tourist gave him a nice smile and said, “I think you made a mistake.” Mike was proud of his work and said again, “Common sense. That’s all it takes.”
The tourist smiled bigger and said, “I think you cut the top off the door.”
You would think wives would learn. But no. Not Shirley. This morning she asked me to put a new toilet in our house! A new toilet!
This may be my last article because I am going to try it!