Jeff’s penchant for home improvement shows came in handy, sort of.
If you watch enough of them, you’ll absorb some basic knowledge. Most of that will need to be supplemented by online videos, step-by-step instructions or just jumping into the deep end to see how it goes.
Basic knowledge was enough to get me through numerous post Hurricane Katrina rebuilding missions with a construction based Michigan team, and various issues at home alone, later.
If Jeff was still here, he’d be telling humorous stories about some of our least successful attempts at home repair and renovation. We’d always start out thinking, “That looks easy enough.” We’d always end up bickering, and then, laughing at our bickering.
In mid-September, we finished an attempt to ‘easily’ replace the gate at the top of the back deck stairs. We needed one that our dog, Sadie, wouldn’t be able to plow through, wiggle through or accidentally (or maybe not so accidentally) open. She’d managed to escape a few times, in all those ways.
The installation, actually, went pretty well. We had it done in a little under an hour, and tested our work. That’s when we realized we’d installed it to open the wrong way, by setting it in place upside-down.
“I thought that seemed a little harder than normal,” Jeff commented. Also, more difficult than ‘normal,’ the hardware wasn’t easily removed. Parts of screws broke off or were stripped, nuts fell between the cracks and tumbled down our long flight of stairs.
A lot of banging, two trips to the hardware store and four hours later, we were finished. To celebrate, Jeff suggested we fire up our newly repaired grill and cook-out.
The grill had been another frustrating fiasco. A 15-minute fix turned into two-hours of gentle Jeff cussing while installing a new lighter thingy.
I was inside cutting tomatoes and onions and gathering impromptu picnic supplies, when I heard Jeff shout.
“Come here, YOU!”
As I ran to the slider, his voice volume was over-excitedly escalating.
Stupefied, I watched him pull and throw chucks of sizzling beef over the 5-foot drop at the back of our deck.
“Jeff!” Alarmingly concerned about his mental state, I slammed the screen door open. Suspecting he was having some sort of serious negative medication reaction, I blurted out, “I’m right here! What are you doing?”
Startled, he turned quickly, giving me a incredulous look, like I was the weirdo in this situation.
His stop-arm reaction time was a bit slower than his body turning time. Set in motion for an airborne release, he lobbed a glob of barely cooked ground in my direction.
I watched it wobble in a somewhat graceful arc, my mental slow-mo calculating: no – that’s not gonna happen.
It happened. Direct hit to my face.
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