Sunday, October 01, 2006

Handy Andy

Until now, Dr. B and I have both been so busy getting our working life in order, we haven't had a lot of time for around the house kind of fix-it things. Friday I spent mostly sitting on the couch fervently trying to get healthy again after the first cold of the season threatened, and I found that after some OJ, extra sleep, DayQuil, Theraflu, vitamins and lots of yucky-tasting Zinc lozenges, I actually felt quite a bit better.

Finally, a weekend dawned with no plans, no pressing assignments, and several "to do" items on our list. After some intense errand running, we returned home on Saturday afternoon with several new shelving units to assemble (thanks to a 50% off sale at Shopko) and a few pairs of inexpensive Venetian blinds to cover the three windows upstairs that didn't already have them. After a delicious homemade brunch on Sunday morning (Dr. B's own creation of chèvre, shallot, green pepper and ham omlettes, with toast and jam and yogurt and coffee), we decided to tackle some of the things on the list. I followed Dr. B upstairs, returned down to fetch the tape measure, then another trip for the screwdriver, then yet another trip for a chair to stand on, and as he began to drill holes for the blinds, I went into the other room, searching through boxes to find something I just knew was there.

"Would you get back in here?!?!?!" he shouted. "I need you!"

I went back into the room.

"Hand me the drill."

"Oh, you need me for that? Get it yourself," I said, the wheels turning in my head of just where said very important item could be.

"You're supposed to be helping me. This is helping. Now stay here!" he said, grumpy and irritated.

I myself was equally grumpy and irritated at the thought of being forced to sit at his side and hand him a pencil or a screw or a level when he could just as well get it himself. I flopped down on the bed and sighed audibly.

He worked away at putting up the blinds, every few minutes punctuated with some rather colorful language. As he dropped a handful of screws, he let out a howl that would have woken the dead, followed by some other words that would have made most of them blush.

"Boy, you can tell that your brother (the professional carpenter) got the majority of the fixit skills," I said with a grin, as I handed him the screwdriver.

He glowered down at me, and began muttering under his breath. He worked feverishly, determined that he alone could hang the blinds, and that I, ingrateful person that I am, had no right whatsoever to complain.

At last, the brackets were ready. I handed him the blinds, and turned back to my side project of assembling a shelving unit, jumping up every time he barked to hand him the clip, screw, pencil, or whathaveyou that he couldn't bear to bend to retrieve.

"Finally!" he trumpeted. "At last. Now, take a look at this," he said, as he loaded the blinds, slid in the covers, and pulled on the cord.


The blinds came flying out of the brackets, scaring the dog out of the room and launching me into a fit of giggles as Dr. B let out another string of words that would've made my Grandma smack him and threaten to wash his mouth out with Lava.

"Handy Andy, you're not," I said, as I bent to retrieve the blinds and hand him the center bracket, which obviously would need to be attached.

"DON'T CALL ME THAT!!!" he shreiked, angry at my reference to my Mom's nickname for my Dad, used most often when something had blown up in his face and singed his eyebrows and eyelashes. "Knock it off! I don't call you 'Grace' when you do something klutzy," he pouted.

"Yes, you do. And then when I get mad, you tell me to 'Simmer down, White Fang.' So 'Handy Andy' you are," I said, and giggled again. "Do you want a beer?"

"Yes. But we don't have any," he said as he drilled the holes for the center bracket, and screwed it in place.

"Oh, how about a glass of wine? I'd go around the corner and get some, but I can't buy any beer. It's Sunday; it's illegal in Wisconsin to sell beer on Sunday."


"Calm down, it's always been that way. How about a glass of wine?"

"No wine glass. A tumbler. I don't want to break that, too!"

Another string of nasty syllables came rushing out, as he realized he had put the bracket up upside down. Another followed a few minutes later, when he realized the bracket, fully screwed in and ready, was a full inch too far to the right.

I made my way downstairs, and opened the cupboard, searching for a cup he couldn't break. The only wine open was a Côtes du Rhône, and I was a little worried that though it would be in a definitely unbreakable cup, he would still manage to spill it everywhere, staining everything a purply red.

I handed the 'glass' to him, with a warning to be careful anyway.

"This isn't funny! NOT FUNNY!!!" he yelled as he took the Rubbermaid kids cup I handed him.

"Yes, it is. It's very funny. Now drink your wine. We've got two more windows and three more bookshelves to go."

**Note: after one little sippy-cup of wine, Dr. B put up the other two sets of blinds and assembled the three shelving units, with my help of course, with nary a complaint. He even smiled. From now on, wine first, power tools second. This may not work for everyone, but for us? A necessity.



At 10:59 PM, October 01, 2006, Blogger The Bold Soul said...

Cold tip: next time, avoid the yucky zinc lozenges and try Zicam Nasal Swabs. They're single-use Q-tips with some zinc-filled gel. You break open the swap and hold it for 5 seconds in each nostril and then toss it. Repeat every 4 hours. It really seems to help beat back a cold if you use them when you first notice the symptoms.

I also use Airborne which helps boost the immune system (I bought some for my flight to France since being trapped in a plane for 7-1/2 hours is a recipe for disease).

At 8:33 AM, October 02, 2006, Anonymous mj said...

I continue to enjoy looking into a little window on your world. Sorry that you had to leave Paris, a great city, I'm still interested in reading about your experiences.

Just a note of caution: alcohol and any kind of tools--hand, power or machine--don't mix. There are too many chances for a misstep or slipped tool usually to your detriment. The wise thing is to take a break when things get frustrating.

Keep up the excellent blogging. I look forward to your adventures.

At 8:41 AM, October 02, 2006, Blogger MagE said...

So perfect went out the window, when he the blinds were hung, eh?

Congrats on the new blinds and shelves.

At 3:42 PM, October 02, 2006, Anonymous Mandy said...

I'm in Milwaukee, and illegal to sell beer on a Sunday? WHAT??? Is this a Madison thing???


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