I married into a handy family. My father-in-law was handy, my brothers-in-law are generally handy, and even my wife is handy. Up until I joined this handy family, I never quite realized how inept I really am at most anything requiring a power tool, hand tool, ladder, or the ability to follow detailed instructions. We all have our talents, I am told, however, I am sure my handy family is still wondering when any handy talents will surface. The empty nest years allow for quite a bit of time for the handy to occupy their days. I am having no such trouble since my handy activities are usually complete by the time I put my cereal bowl into the dishwasher after breakfast. With my lack of handiness, I have become a little more curious about the activities of a “real” handyman. I have found a number of lists chock full of all kinds of activities,none of which I can do. A sample list reads like this:
Back up a travel trailer into that ever so tight camping spot.
- I have had some experience backing up a trailer, Notice I did not say anything about backing up a trailer straight. In fact, I believe they are still laughing in site 28 as they had a front row seat watching me try to land that popup somewhere between the fire pit and that large oak tree. When all else failed, I chose the fire pit. Made leveling a little tough, but at least the side show was over for the evening.
Frame, tape, mud and texture that man-cave you have been longing to occupy.
- Again a wee bit of experience in the framing area, but fortunately reinforcements came to handle the make it look nice part of the construction. What’s nice about framing is that nails can be removed and removed and removed.
Paint the peak of your 2 story house while standing on the top rung of your 20 foot extension ladder.
- I have never tried this one nor would I ever go higher than the third rung on a 6 foot step ladder. I feel extension and ladder are two of those words that don’t really go together. Why anyone would want to extend something you do not want to be on in the first place is beyond me.
Cut down that 100 foot honey locust with a chain saw and a lot of rope. Oh, by the way, it needs to land neatly in the 30 foot space between your house and your neighbor’s garage.
- Another no can do. This one requires power tools, a ladder, and way too much impromptu planning. Beside, I believe my neighbor really likes his garage.
Launch a 20 foot power boat and, better yet, get it off the lake in time to beat the incoming thunderstorm.
- I have actually tried to assist with this one. The funny thing with trucks is that even though the light is lit under the 4WD indicator on the dash, you still need to be in something other than N to get the truck moving forward. Word to the wise, a truck moving backwards into the lake, with a boat still attached, containing a screaming brother-in-law and confused son, is not a good situation.
Most of the time not being handy does not pose a real problem. On those church workdays, get there early and just make sure you are one of the painting crew that stays on the ground or move outside to pull some weeds. Those ladder and scaffolding jobs can be left for the real handymen. If a power tool needs starting, volunteer to run and get some donuts. No one will ever know you hate starting anything with a gas engine since it more than likely will not start and then you need to know how to choke this or prime that. If a powered tool is needed, stick to the ones with cords or batteries.