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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Plunging into home repairs

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I have never been accused of being a handy, fix-it type of person. I know the difference between a Phillips and straight-edged screw driver but only if I use CliffsNotes.

But living by yourself requires some do-it-yourself ability. After all, you can't call a repairman every time a screw's loose or a nail needs to be hammered. So I decided that I was going to not ask for help and learn to fix things myself.

I found out right off the bat that while I am not good at fixing things, I'm great at breaking them. Like my garbage disposal for example. Did you know that if you put an entire tupperware dish full of cocktail weenies down the disposal you will clog said disposal up? I didn't.

The sound the disposal made was like a semi-truck going 70 miles an hour trying to stop on a dime. The worst of it though was the chunks of weenies that flew all over the kitchen followed by a chunky paste that filled the sink.

Fortunately my dad had just given me a pair of gloves that I put on as I began scooping the weenie remains from the pasty sink, trying not to get sick in the process. After digging for what seemed to be an hour the disposal still wouldn't work. So now it was time to find out how to fix the stupid disposal or move.

If there was one thing I learned from my ex-wife it was how to use the Internet to find how to fix anything. So online I went. I read how to take apart the disposal but that looked complicated. Granted, once it started talking about unscrewing this and that it was over my head.

Then I saw where somebody just used a plunger and what do you know? I had one of them. So I grabbed the plunger and began working that disposal, praying it would work so I wouldn't have to call a plumber with a "my weenies clogged up my disposal" plea.

Sure enough, the disposal trick worked and disaster was averted. But after I cleaned everything my afternoon was ruined. I knew I was going to have to make some better decisions now that I was living alone.

Of course, fresh off of my disposal fix, I was feeling pretty good. So I decided to change the locks to my house, a job which I knew required a screwdriver.

Against my normal judgement, I decided to actually read the directions and sure enough, I put fresh locks on both my doors in less than 30 minutes. I was so impressed with myself I was strutting like I was in "Saturday Night Fever" as I took my dogs out for a walk. All was good until I went to open the door. Well, at least I knew the lock worked.

Fortunately my garage door was open so the dogs and I strutted around to open that door. That lock appeared to work as well. I had never heard dogs laugh before then but I am sure the cackling noises were coming from the little rascals.

I would have called for help, but my cell phone was being held hostage by the freshly installed locks. While I didn't have a phone, for some reason I did have a paper clip in my pocket and I got the bright idea I could open that lock with a paper clip. After all, I had seen it on television a hundred times.

You can't believe everything you see on television though as I quickly found out as the paper clip bent and broke. Again the dogs cackled and police all over Southeast Missouri erased my name as a suspect in any burglary attempts.

Still stuck, I was forced to look at other options. Getting in through a window wasn't an option and frankly I didn't want to take out a wall. My option was one of the doors. And I choose the door inside the garage.

Again, I used what I learned from television and thought I would just kick the door in. With my best ninja-like prowess, I sent a flying kick at the door and it didn't budge. Again the dogs cackled.

Determined, I summoned my inner Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan and combined them into one giant kick and the door opened. I turned to boast to my dogs only they were cackling again. That's when I realized I had kicked open the door and my door frame went with it.

Besides being impressed with my own strength I knew that fixing a door frame was beyond my skills. So I did what anyone would do. I called my dad.

Later that night I was helping him fix the door. And by helping, I mean I held the tools and stood out of his way while he fixed the frame and everything else I destroyed. So much for doing it myself.

I have since taught myself how to fix plumbing, lawnmowers, weed eaters, toilets and even helped put in a new sink but I will never forget the lessons I learned early on in my life as a single man. I can kick in a door! How cool is that?

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David Jenkins
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