Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mr. (I Think I Can) Fix-It

My best recollections of my youth do not include my father fixing much around the house.  He cut the grass, washed the cars, cleaned out the sump pump occasionally and was a great painter (of walls, not portraits of gambling canines on velvet), but that was the extent of it.  I do, however, have memories of watching over my father's shoulder as he watched over the plumber's shoulder as he fixed something.

Thus, when I became a home owner, I naturally assumed that any repairs to be made would require an outside specialist.  This was in accordance with my father's (and mother's) advice.  When you had a professional come in to do the work, they were on the hook if they made it worse.  On the other hand, if you did it yourself and made it worse, you were screwed.

After the first few minor problems sprang up around my house, I quickly discovered that these professionals cost a good deal of money.  I decided that since I was already pretty skilled at not listening to my parents' advice (I made my greatest strides in this field during high school), I would attempt to save money and try to learn a little more about how the various systems around my house work.  I was confident that, being a relatively intelligent guy, I could do at least a few minor home repairs.

A repaired toilet, two fixed sinks, a few patched up cracks in my basement and an arm-tingling electrical shock later, I have reduced the number of professionals I call into my home to make repairs down to one: the electrician.  I may be cheap, but I'm not stupid.

Learning to fix things has served me well over the past few years.  My confidence has not led me down the road to performing more than just minor maintenance on my sons' toys.  When something of theirs malfunctions, I have at the tiny little screws you see hidden on most toys and try to figure out just what's going on inside.  I hear a gear grinding in a toy car and I open that sucker up on my desk and see if it can be replaced.  When a delicate model is broken into a thousand parts, I meticulously piece together the remains using crazy glue and clamps and set it right again.

Most recently, we have had trouble with the Perplexus puzzles that Plasmart was so kind to send me to review.  Tsake note, while I still stand by the enjoyment and superior craftsmanship of the Perplexus, my sons have managed to be a bit rougher on them than most kids would be.

This resulted in me sitting at my desk and painstakingly separating the seam on the spherical marble mazes.  I used tweezers and a small amount of tape to get the particular section of damaged track back on line and fit another back into its slot.  In one instance, I repaired a dent on the outer housing of the Perplexus.  With the necessary repairs made, it was time to put the toys back together.

I carefully aligned all the mooring pegs.  I consulted the detailed diagram I had scribbled in order to guide myself while replacing all the pieces.  Soon, after much deliberation, sweating and tongue-sticking-out, I had replaced the outer ring and put the puzzle back in place.  You could barely notice a few minor scratches to the exterior where I dug my screwdriver into the crack to split the ball in two.  I was quite proud of myself.

That is until I noticed that the metal ball which one is supposed to navigate through the maze was still sitting on my desk with a smug, judgmental look on it's face.

So, don't call me Mr. Fix-It just yet.

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