Smirking From Home

Turning ideas into words.

DIY: The Manly Way Part 1

When it comes to making life easier for yourself, product promoters will try to tell you that having a gadget for a particular task should fit the bill. Our house has it’s fair share of technological and electrical gizmos, the majority of which are gathering dust somewhere. From onion shredders to power washers, the list is unfathomably long. From my point of view this lust for gadgetry derives from having a dislike of anything which requires manual dexterity or hard labour. Why give yourself wrist strain when you can use a cordless screwdriver instead? It’s a known fact that screwing something onto a wall will invariably involve twisting your body into bizarre contortions in order to achieve success. 
We’ve all had our fair share of DIY disasters. The clue’s in the name itself. If we wanted to expertly assemble cupboards or mount curtain poles we’d all have left school at 16 and became carpentry apprentices. Actually I’m being a little facetious here. A lot of people I know are extremely capable of a spot of DIY and look upon these tasks as a challenge to be overcome, usually with resulting success. It’s just me and my two left thumbs. Oh, and an inherent dislike of assembling stuff. Despite this, I have, as part of my responsibility as a houseowner and parent, have undertaken some “projects” about the house, with mixed outcomes. 
 Last Summer, the curtain pole in the bedroom decided to leap dramatically from the wall, spewing dust and various bits of masonry everywhere. The feckin’ thing took an age to put up in the first place and even then it always felt inevitable that there was going to be a disaster. So it was no great surprise that it did. Hateful a job as it was, I consoled myself with the knowledge that a case of rinse and repeat would correct the problem and the neighbours would no longer have to bear the sight of my bare arse as I changed my keks in the morning. I bet their Cheerios tasted funny during that time. To cut a long and painfully stressful story short, 4 weeks later we had a new curtain pole. Drilling holes in obstinate walls was never my forte but even I managed to create half a dozen of the bloody things, the unused ones now stuffed with parrotfood. B&Q did a roaring trade in screws, drill bits and masonry glue and the neighbour’s children now possess a vocabulary in various shades of blue. Remarkably it hasn’t fallen down yet although I’m not getting too comfortable just yet.
Despite being a drilling novice I once managed to attach a retractable washing line to the back of the house. Naturally it has since fallen down, but the blame for that rests squarely with the wee lass who had decided to train for the London 2012 Asymmetric bars. Honestly speaking, I’m not dreading re-attaching the line. For some bizarre reason I found that drilling into the outside wall was a lot easier than the one inside the house. One of life’s little paradoxes I presume, the dime bar of DIY. I wouldn’t recommend undertaking a similar project if you’re the owner of dentures. You could always use the masonry glue I suppose.
Every Summer when we, well I say we but really I mean she, as in the good lady herself, attempt to clear out the shed, it never ceases to amaze the alarming number of tools and gadgets we possess. The bright blue plastic cupboard on wheels, originally intended for the bathroom, is awash with screwdrivers, hammers, cheap Stanley knives and who knows what else. Yet when it comes down to finding the relevant item for a job in hand, the obligatory phone call to a neighbour is required. Either that or another trip to the father-in-law’s garage. A man dearly missed by us all, my father-in-law was Mr DIY and possessed every known tool available to mankind. IF World War Three had ever broken out suddenly we knew we could have relied on him to knock up a fallout shelter out of old furniture, some paving slabs and a few rolls of string. MacGuyver had nothing on him. No job was too innocuous nor too daunting and he had the equipment always at hand. There’s none like him and unlikely to be in the future as us males become more DIY deficient as the years go by. We’re losing many skills which were virtually essential amongst the older generations. I doubt if the latest iPhone has an application for assembling computer desks.
As the harshest Winter we’ve had for decades shows signs of disappearing and the trees, normally ablaze with blooming blossoms by now, showing new signs of life, the impending doom of cleaning up the garden approaches. Manual effort again, you see. The paths are manky and the grey muck of winter has splattered the outside walls. Time to produce the power washer. It’s in the shed somewhere.

March 24, 2010 - Posted by | I Am What I Am | ,

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