Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ace is the Place with the Helpful Hardware Man (Who Runs and Hides When I Walk in the Door)

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not very good at the whole 'home maintenance' thing. Most of my girlfriends can get by. Some are even amazing at this kind of stuff. My friend, Ginny nearly singlehandedly refinished her basement. If she didn't know how to do something, she searched Youtube until she found a video and taught herself. Electrical wiring, drywall, plumbing? No problem. She figured it out. 

My method is a little different. My method doesn't include searching Youtube. My method generally includes whining and complaining. It sometimes involves throwing things around and swearing. Usually, it ends with me giving up although sometimes it ends with me batting my eyelashes and trying to get some big, strong man to do it for me. What? I didn't say my method was perfect, or even effective. But it's the way I do things anyway.

When my sink was leaking, I placed a bucket underneath it. Voila! Fixed. When the bucket started filling too quickly, I got some tape and had Savannah tape the pipe. Ta-da! Good as new!

When my vacuum cleaner broke, I stopped cleaning my floors. No problem.

When the side mirror fell off my car, I duct-taped it back on. Piece of cake!

When my weed whacker/edger stopped working correctly and the string broke after I'd edged only a foot of my driveway, I stopped, took the spool out, rewound the string, inserted it, and picked up where I'd left off. After doing this 10 or 11 times, I went all McEnroe on it and whipped it into the street along with the refill spool of string. The spool rolled down the road and disappeared into the sewer drain with a plunk. I sat down and cried, tears streaking a line through the sweat and dirt already covering my face, and waited for a car to come run over the freaking thing.

Again, I know it's probably not the most effective method of fixing something, but I tend to act first and think later. Sometimes, much, much later.

For a couple weeks, I said, "Who cares about edging and weed whacking? It's a stupid waste of time. But my delightful Homeowner's Association has a different opinion about edging and they're happy to share that opinion with you in the form of a threatening letter. So, I snatched the empty spool from the weed whacker and headed off to Ace. I hate hardware stores because they smell yucky, they don't sell make-up, and they confuse me. But I do like the fact that when I walk in and just stand there all confused-like, half a dozen guys will come up and ask if I need help. They're probably more concerned that I'm having some sort of seizure in their store as I stand there staring across the aisles of guy stuff, than they're actually wanting to help me figure out what I need. But still, I can always count on someone coming to my rescue at Ace.

"Um, yeah, I need more string stuff for my weed whacker and if someone could show me how to wind it up the right way so I don't have to throw the thing in the street again, that would be really great."

The guy just kinda blinked at me. I guess normal people don't throw things around when they get mad.

He looked through the rolls of string on the wall, searching for the correct size for my tool. After a beat, he turned to me and asked, "You really threw it out in the street?" a smirk playing at the corners of his mouth.

Defensive, I blurted, "Well, the string kept breaking every foot or so! I don't know what I'm doing. I'm from Chicago. We don't have to edge our lawns every week because they don't grow a foot a day like down here!" I left out the part about how I'd once shoved my snow blower over when it kept dying. I probably would've thrown it in the street too, but snow blowers are heavy! He didn't really need to know that detail though.

He grabbed a refill pack of string from the wall, handed it to me, and quickly ushered me through the employee area, and out the back door. "Tell you what, go next door to the Stihl shop. I'll call over and let them know you're on your way. He can show you how to wind this correctly."

I'm pretty sure he was just trying to get me out of his store since he'd pegged me for some kind of loose cannon with anger issues. Yep, sending me into a store filled with chainsaws was definitely the way to go. He probably didn't care though. I was no longer his problem. The minute I stepped outside, I'm sure he got on the phone, called his buddy and said, "Sorry man, but I'm sending you a real psycho. See if you can help her. I owe ya, dude!"

So I walked next door and explained my ineptitude to the guy behind the counter. He kindly showed me how to wind the string the right way so it won't break every couple minutes. Turns out I was making it way too complicated. Go figure - a woman making something more complicated than it needs to be. When he was done, I thanked him profusely and walked back over to Ace so I could pay for the string. I looked around for the guy who had first helped me, but didn't see him anywhere. He was probably hiding until I left.

I think I'll bake some brownies for the guys. Then maybe when I come in the next time because my shower is broken and I'm tired of bathing in the sink, they'll offer to actually come over and fix it. Hey, a girl can dream.


Anonymous said...

I sympathize. I am useless about this sort of things too.

Luckily I am married to a man who can fix just about anything - you name it, he can fix it.

So when I turn the tap and it comes away and water spurts 2 foot in the air, I scream and he fixes it.

When the tortoises need a map to navigate our back garden, I moan and he fixes it.

He undoes tops on bottles & jars to prevent me taking a hammer to them.

When the lights go off, the internet goes off, the hot water stops being hot, the car rattles, whines, or the dashboard lights up, he knows what to do.

He drives me mad with his untidiness, never being ready to go out on time, the routine things that can be left for another day....BUT in a crisis he is Ace!

Elisabet said...

I've gone through no less than 4 weed whackers. I hate them! I once had one that was gas powered and it had to be started by yanking on a cord, like a chainsaw. One weekend, when my husband was sick in bed, I told my kids that we were going to do the yard work for him. The boys couldn't get the weed whacker to start up, so they asked me to help. I checked the gas/oil mixture, set the choke and pulled on that stupid cord at least 20 times...until the cord broke and whipped out of the casing like a bullwhip and hit me in the face. Good thing I wear glasses. The boys were horrified that I'd broken "dad's weed whacker!" I put it in the back of the garage, closed the door and swore the boys to silence. Which lasted for as many seconds as it took to wake their dad up and tell him what I'd done!

mommeeof10 said...

I can usually figure out thing and fix them. I do not want to, but I can. However, I can not cut straight with a hand saw to save my life, unless I use the miter box. I leave the woodwork requiring the table saw, band saw, planer, joiner and router to hubby.
I also would rather not fix plumbing, but can do minor repairs.
Hubby can do easy carpentry stuff, hard stuff we hire an expert.

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