I knew when I married my husband that he was a real DIY guy. As opposed to a PAP (Pay A Professional) guy. I came to understand that being a DIY guy meant I would have to wait for him to be off work and available for home repairs. I knew that it meant always trying to fix things first before determining if we needed to buy new. It often means being patient with lag times between partial-fix and full repair. I’m fine with all of that.
What I didn’t know was that for him DIY means DIYWYW (Do It Yourself With Your Wife). It wasn’t just that I would need to hang dry our laundry for days until the dryer was fixed, or hand wish dishes for a couple of weeks while he figured out what was wrong with the dishwasher, or be without a microwave while he took it to a friend’s shop to be tinkered with, or even the requirement to share his bathroom (those who know me well know that I believe one of the secrets to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms). I am fine with all of that also (well maybe except for the bathroom).
However, DIYWYW means that my time is turned into helper-on-call when things are broken. Usually with little or no notice. I can’t delve into a picture project or concentrate on blog drafts or get involved in re-potting plants because I will be needed to fetch tools, hold a light, help lay down tarps, assist with replacement of parts or get out the tablet to find a helpful video on YouTube. None of which I mind doing, except when I’ve got project plans of my own and I almost always do. There are only so many hours in a non-work day.
I have had repair experiences I never dreamed I would be a part of. I’ve held dryer drums in place while he threaded the belt. I’ve used my smaller fingers to reach tiny crevices at the back of the dishwasher to insert a micro disc. I’ve helped with lifting the microwave in and out of its shelf – after removing all the drawers beneath to get to the plug. I’ve watched helplessly as a ceiling fan flung oil across my beautiful bedspread. I’ve held on to heavy rope from the upstairs back porch to lower and raise power tools. I have helped to seat a toilet. I’ve snaked behind the dryer to fit a vent hose. I’ve hauled sopping wet blue jeans out of a broken washer (it would have to break during a cycle of very dirty ranch clothes). I learned basic wiring and installation techniques of chandelier lights. I’m a pro with a nail gun and stack of fence planks. I know how to measure for shelving, use a level and properly attach brackets and bracing. I am good with a power sprayer and air compressor. Now that I think of it, I need to update my resume.
But this latest round of plumbing issues has me more than annoyed. There are multiple blog drafts just waiting to be finished and posted, but before I can do that another leak or returning leak happens. It all started last November when the toilet in the hall bath leaked, something I discovered by walking barefoot over the hall carpet. Five months, 3 toilet removal / reinstalls, ripped out sheetrock with exposed walls for months, and two major leaks in the downstairs entry way later and I’m starting to want to PAP. DIY has gotten old.
Just this morning, as we surveyed the flooded floor and chunk of ceiling floating on top of it, I asked if we were to the point of PAP. “No!” came his expected reply. “Now that we know this is the upstairs toilet leaking again we can fix that. Just replace that seal we thought was good and re-seat the toilet. We fixed it last time!” My eyes narrowed as I stated coldly, “Obviously not.”
I know, I know, I need to be grateful for the means to have these modern conveniences. For a man with the ability to make repairs. For being healthy in body and brain to do the work. For a wonderful husband to take the lead and make decisions on repairs about which I know nothing. For the non-urgent nature of these things – it isn’t cancer, or a fire, or tornado damage. I get it, and I truly am grateful that in the grand scheme of life this is nothing.
But. If my DIY guy doesn’t get the leaking toilet and downstairs ceiling fully fixed – for reals, final, it’s really done, no more ‘fixes’ needed – this time, I’m not sure I’ll be able to restrain my wandering fingers from reaching into his wallet and punching in the number on my cell phone to PAP.
Kim Robinson is an author living in Austin, TX. She and her husband have six children and fourteen grandchildren and enjoy spending time with family. Passionate about parenting, she writes and speaks about a variety of issues facing parents and professionals dealing with teenagers in crisis. She enjoys speaking at retreats and to various organizations.
Kim's debut novel, Chased by Grace - A Story of Survival, is available now.