Snapshots by Gloria Freeland -- Jan. 8, 2004


Mr. Fix-It Man

I believe my thoughts must parallel those of most women when I get up in the morning to be greeted by newspapers strewn across the living room floor and dishes with dried-on snacks from the evening before sitting beside the sink. It's at times like those that I think, "And why do I need a man around the house?"

Even Art has remarked that he's not sure why women marry. "Maybe it's because we make them laugh," he's suggested.

Perhaps, but at times that seems like a steep price to pay. I recently came up with another possible reason.

I was busy typing away on a column when I noticed that my laptop warned me it was time to connect the charger. "This thing doesn't seem to run very long any more," I commented to Art. He remarked that I'd used it daily for quite a while and it was probably time to replace the battery. A new one was about $120, but he could replace the cells in mine for $45.

He then asked me to pop the battery out, but try as I might, I couldn't figure out how. He gave me one of those, "What am I going to do with you" looks, turned the computer over and extracted the battery. He opened it up, checked the cell size, ordered new ones and two days later when they arrived, soldered them in place. All is now well again.

A few days before, there was water all over Mom's basement. Mom figured it was time to call a plumber and put in a new water heater since that was where the water appeared to be coming from.

"I think it's just a faulty pressure-relief valve," Art said when he inspected it. He replaced it after the basement dried and there was no more leaking.

Then there was the day the rain turned to sleet. I pulled on the van door and it wouldn't open, frozen in place. So I pulled harder. The door didn't open, but the handle suddenly swung free on its hinges. "Oh, oh, I'm in trouble now," I thought to myself. I was able to get in from the passenger side, but even after the ice melted around the driver's door, the handle flopped about with no effect. I called Art and he said he'd look at it that night. But wanting to help, I tried my hand at it, having absolutely no idea what I was doing. Soon I couldn't get the door to shut either, presenting the possibility of running the battery down.

I called Art again. This time, he walked me through the process of getting the latch to release so the door could be shut. After he got home, Art took the door apart and showed me the piece I had snapped off. He took it to work the next day. That night, he proclaimed he had spent the vast amount of 47 cents on parts. He re-installed the handle and it, too, now works great.

So why a woman needs a man around is clear as a bell -- as clear as the bell on the telephone which just rang. It was Mom telling me her washing machine won't fill with water.

"Oh, Art, honey . . ."

Mr. Fix-It and his go-fer (me) repair the porch floor at our cottage
in Wisconsin. The girls bought the T-shirt hes wearing.

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