Need a Break From Politics? Read This!

This column is one of those times.

May I preface my remarks by admitting that I am a Neanderthal. At least when it comes to home maintenance. My father was, too. But he had 3 Ph.D.’s summa cum laude. I have no such excuse.

My Mom was the handyman of the family. My father and I used to stand around in awe and watch her. She could do anything. Once when the gutter gentleman could not accommodate her schedule to unclog the gutters, she climbed up on the roof, in her regular fall gardening attire, and did it herself. Her customary fall gardening attire consisted of a heather-toned plaid wool skirt, a beige silk blouse, a silk kerchief to keep her hair out of her face, wool knee socks, and leather Italian loafers.

Yes, my Mom was glamorous.

She would rewire lamps. “Wow, Mom. You’re so clever. How do you know what to do?” I admired. (Mom was one of those people who never needed to read directions. I am one of those people who never understands them.) “Simple,” she replied breezily. “As a child I watched my father do it.”

Her father was an Electrical Engineer. So was my late husband but it didn’t do me any good. I could have watched him until the cows came home.

One day — precursing my garage lighting fixture installations by 3 years — I assisted my hubby in taking down a dining room light fixture. I got a small shock. I cursed. And because I did, I felt that I had been anointed into the blue collar workers of America. I was very pleased with myself.

Then came the garage project where I wanted to replace the 6 light fixtures with chandeliers. Why would a garage need chandeliers? It wouldn’t. I needed them. I just happen to like shiny objects. If it sparkles, I’m all over it.

I asked my hubby how to do it. He explained. Not only did it take a Ph.D. in some sort of engineering from M.I.T. or Carnegie Mellon to understand him, I couldn’t even remember any of it. So I took charge and got out a notepad and asked him to repeat himself on a subterranean level. Then I drew multi-colored diagrams of wiring, with all the appropriate colors and placements.

Two chandelier installations were completed when twilight came, so I had to knock off until morning. The next morning I set about installing the rest of the chandeliers. Had it not been for my notes, I wouldn’t have remembered one iota of the instructions even though I remember things that happened when I was one year and two months old and I can quote things people said to me when I was a toddler. Oh, well.

Today I faced the challenge of an ice-encrusted icemaker in my refrigerator.

Something I had been procrastinating about for too long. Believe me when I tell you the sheets of ice rivaled the icebergs that sank the Titanic.

Intimidated to the core, I nonetheless checked out a very clear, methodical instruction video on YouTube. It said to remove the icemaking bin. I did so. I emptied the ice in and around the bin. But then the gentleman in the video said to remove the apparatus behind the ice bin. The one that has all kinds of electrical stuff on it.

Oh, no, no, no. Not me. I was not about to become an electrocution statistic. I’m even afraid to turn on my gas fireplace. I’ve never turned it on. And I never will. I do not want to blow up the neighborhood or die of some sort of noxious vapors which I am certain I would somehow, unknowingly, release. So I took my hairdryer and blew hot air on the apparatus.

It worked. I am very proud of myself. Prouder than if I had won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony. Maybe add to that a Nobel Prize. Praise me.

*Editor’s Note: Clearly, this is far better than any Joe Biden story out there. Too bad there’s not a YouTube tutorial on how to defrost his block!

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