Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Handyman Can

A handyman I’m not. Though men generally have that gene that allows them to repair and troubleshoot inanimate objects around the house, I’m missing that gene. Cars run away when I approach with a wrench. God plugs his ears when I tackle a plumbing job.

This past week I swapped out an over-the-range microwave oven. Though I noted to my wife Wendy that the 25-year-old antique brown-colored microwave still worked, she said it only had one cooking temperature: incinerate.

First, I dismantled the old microwave. For an experienced handyman, that would have been unnecessary. But loosening the two bolts that I thought kept the microwave from crashing to the range below didn’t free the beast from its perch. So I took it all apart, screw by screw, bolt by bolt. This drew a guffaw from my older son Greg. I wonder if he knows that he likely has the same genes I do when it comes to fixing things. But this time, number two son Scott was my assistant because of his football lineman strength.

I anchored the microwave frame to the wall. Then came the quandary. I needed to screw two bolts through the upper cabinet into two eency weency screw holes in the top of the microwave to keep it level and upright over the range. I had to drill the holes in the upper cabinet in just the right spots for the bolts to line up with the holes in the microwave.

There was a paper template provided with the instructions. That got me nowhere. In true Red Green fashion--Red Green being the mechanic extraordinaire on Canadian television—I came up with a plan. I screwed the bolts into the microwave, then lined the appliance up with the underside of the cabinet. Then I put a little Elmer’s glue on the tops of the bolts, so that when they touched the underside of the cabinet, they would leave a bit of glue where the holes should be drilled. Scott was impressed with my creativity, I could tell.

That worked pretty well for one bolt anyway. I drilled the hole, put the bolt through the cabinet and it attached nicely with the microwave on the other side. But the second bolt was more problematic. One hole drilled was about an inch off. So I decided to drill a pilot hole with a smaller bit before I turn my cabinet underside into swiss cheese.

After I drilled a pilot hole in what I thought was the correct spot, we checked the alignment by putting a nail down the hole to see if it could find the screw hole in the top of the microwave. The nail was too short and disappeared down the hole. We didn’t know if it also dropped down the screw hole. After failing to extract the nail, I decided to drill a bigger hole to get it out. Bingo! Success. And it appeared that the hole was in the right spot.

We started screwing in the bolt when I heard the gentle tap of some part falling deep into the bowels of the microwave. It was the cap that held the bolt secure. Trying to retrieve the tiny cap would be futile. We could reverse course, take the microwave down and return it to the store. Or, we could just fasten the second bolt the best we could and make do with that.

"I think it’s good enough with just one bolt," commented Scott. Just what I would have said. Like father, like son? It’s all in the genes.


Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I wish I had a son to guide me straight/wrong like that.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous kristy said...

This is sad. This is very, very sad. I have to go have a good cry.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I used to try everything things myself. The Missus would gather up the kiddies and go somewhere so they didn't acquire the latest expletive.

Unfortunately, I'd then have to pay someone to undo my damage, then pay them to do it the right way.

Now, I skip the middleman (me) and just go with the last step. It's much easier.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Me said...

My husband has this gene, and he doesn't realize it. I don't have the heart to ask him not to try and fix things so I just sit back and watch the fiasco. Sometimes it gets rather humorous. He says he's going to put up new interior doors next weekend. I'm getting pictures this time!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

You have to realize that those instructions are written by appliance companies that are aware that most appliance stores (their buyers) make more money by charging the customers extra to install it. (Conspiracy Theory #38)

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I'm still laughing....this was too funny and written so well, I felt like I was right there in the kitchen with you. Doubled over with laughter.
Just curious....where was Wendy as all of this was taking place? The Smart Lady was probably away from the

5:09 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Luckily it's not in a position where it would be easy to stand under, thus risking the micro wave landing on ones head, sorry Dave that's about the only positive thought I have on this post.

8:57 PM  
Blogger bornfool said...

I loved Scott's comment. lol. The second bolt is for suckers!

6:25 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Perfect example of the apple not falling too far from the TREE! It could be worse!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Trucker Bob said...

Someone told me that I could get a kick-ass shrimp burrito here. heh heh

5:17 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Socceroos win 3 - 1, Yea!!!!

8:16 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I hope that in your infinite wisdom, that you and your son are correct about the 1-bold theory.

Have a great day.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I am so not skilled in anything like that; even the instructions look like Greek to me.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Is hanging on by one bolt better than having a screw loose?

9:58 AM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

Wow...I just loved this story!! I don't have that fix-it gene! Luckily, Paul does! That's one of the reasons I keep him around!

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:06 AM  

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