Amazingly . . . we are still here. We are still here despite the fact that I was the one who hooked up our new gas dryer up to the gas line today. There have been no funny smells in the house . . . no explosions . . . nothing! The house is still standing. Once again, I have risen to the challenge of being a handyman . . . and, I have lived another day to tell the tale.
What a tale it has been.
It begins with our adventures . . . no, misadventures . . . with a major retailer (whose name I will not name, but it rhymes with “ears”). We have had our bouts with this major retailer, but mostly we have had the run-a-round. First, when needing their assistance to repair a broken appliance, they put us off for a month . . . then, when deciding to replace the defective appliance, they give the wife the big spiel for an appliance that we cannot even install in our house—which we end up waiting a month to get and discover that we can’t use it . . . so, again, the call to get the defective appliance repaired—again, a month wait. But the repair guy did show up, spent an hour trying to fix the appliance, threw his hands up in disgust, and wished us “good luck.”
So, for about six months we have been making the appliance make do . . . but, the time came . . . it had to be replaced. This time I went to the major retailer—whose name rhymes with “ears”, to order a new appliance, a gas dryer. I explained to the salesperson that I wanted a gas drier. No problem, he said. I picked out the dryer I wanted, and again, emphasized that it was a gas drier. No problem, he said. We went through all the paperwork to buy it . . . even brought in the manager . . . and, I reminded both of them that it was a gas drier. No problem, they said. They assured me that they could install it with no problems. “Even a gas dryer?” I asked. No problem . . . they promised. Then they gave me the delivery and installation date . . . one week, between 2:00 and 4:00PM.
Imagine my surprise when they actually showed up at the house on the delivery date . . . two hours early! Usually they are four weeks late, but for the first time ever they show up two hours early! Then they proceed to tell son number two that they cannot install the dryer . . . because it is a gas drier! They can bring it down and plug it in, but they cannot hook it up to the gas line . . . nor can they remove the gas line from the old dryer . . . so, basically they are willing to unload the dryer and come back to pick up the old one once the new one is hooked up. Of course, this flusters number two son . . . who calls mom . . . then calls dad . . . both of whom are at work.
I rush home . . . the two guys are waiting to unload the new dryer . . . and, they reiterate that they cannot hook up the dryer because it is a . . . gas drier! I tell them what the people at the major retail store told me, yeah, the one that rhymes with “ears”. They tell me that they must have been new . . . or idiots . . . they do not hook up gas dryers. They tell me that they can come back when I have someone who can hook it up . . . in another week. They tell me that they can unload it, let me find someone to hook it up, and come and get the old drier . . . in another week. The hook-up was not their problem . . . take it or leave it.
By then I had had enough . . . those were fighting words. I stormed to the basement, pulled the old dryer away from the wall, examined the set-up, determined that it couldn’t be too tough, and decided, the heck with them and the major retailer who rhymes with “ears”—I’d do it myself. Something sparked the handyman in me . . . something scary and reckless. Up the stairs I stomped, into the garage I stormed, to grab the necessary tools . . . let’s see, a hammer, screw driver, and various wrench-like things. Actually, I just grabbed a bunch of wrenches.
I turned off the gas . . . I heard somewhere that that would be a safety precaution. I wrenched off the gas line from the old dryer . . . pushed it out . . . stomped upstairs and told the two guys hired to unload, but not hook up, to come on down with the new dryer. And, so they did . . . with a lot of caution when they learned that I was the one who unhooked the gas line. Fifteen minutes later they were long gone . . . I imagined they wanted to get far, far away from the impending explosion . . . and everything was hooked up and ready to go.
With trepidation . . . and lots of nervousness . . . I was ready to give the dryer its first run. I could smell no gas . . . I wasn’t dizzy . . . the dog was still alive . . . the time had come, I turned the knob . . . and, waited. Within a few seconds . . . swoosh! The igniter did its job and lit the gas . . . swoosh . . . and, no explosion! It worked! It worked! It worked! The handyman had struck again! Actually, it wasn’t too bad. After I looked it over I determined it was no more difficult than hooking up a new propane tank to the gas grill . . . as long as one remembers to turn off the gas!
We are still here. We are still here despite the presence of my dark shadow . . . the handyman. I am not a handyman by any stretch of the imagination . . . not even close. The family will vouch for that, especially the wife. But, I do find some pride in succeeding from time to time with my handyman skills . . . call it dumb luck, but we are still here.
I have learned a lot in my attempts at being a handyman . . . wisdom I want to share with others. You can take it, or leave it. So, here goes:
1. When unable to find a screwdriver, use a knife—the wife will understand. If the tip breaks off, you have just made it a better and improved screwdriver.
2. Work alone . . . audiences rarely help . . . unless you enjoy unsolicited advice, laughter, and ridicule.
3. Remember, above all, if what you have done is stupid, but it works, then it isn’t stupid.
4. If it is electronic, get a new one . . . or go ask the twelve-year old next door.
5. Stay simple: get a battery—replace the bulb or fuse—see if the tank is empty—try turning the switch “on”—or, just paint over it.
6. Always take credit for miracles . . . the world needs more miracles and family members will be impressed. If you dropped the alarm clock while taking it apart and it suddenly starts working, you have healed it.
7. Regardless of what people say—especially the wife—kicking, pounding, throwing, and swearing profusely DOES help.
8. If something looks level, it is level.
9. If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success . . . grab another beer and try again.
Well, that is my story, and I am going to stick to it. We are still here . . . the handyman has retired for the day . . . another miracle performed. The wife is relieved . . . maybe I should apply to be a handyman for the major retailer whose name rhymes with “ears” . . . nah! They wouldn’t let me work on gas dryers!