Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hardware Made Easy

It seems to me that most Southern Men (yes, Bubba, with the requisite capital letters) must be handymen from birth. But the more I live here in the South, the more I'm inclined to believe it's something in the water or in the air.  When I lived in places like Colorado or even Southern California, repairing something seemed like Rocket Science.  I'd see something which didn't work right, or need repair, but I'd first need to think on it a while.  Maybe I'd expect to have to find a book (at the library), do some studying, examine some diagrams and then, maybe - maybe, I could replace that light bulb.

Something happened when I got to The South.  (Stop it, Bubba, I'll capitalize what I want.) Oh, it didn't happen right away.  It sort of crept up on me. I'd start by replacing the battery in the car, or even doing an oil change.  Yes, I know, people in the nawth do these things, it's true.  But the thing is, I had never WANTED to do any of these repairing things before lived in the South! There is something about living here that creeps into your bloodstream and makes you stumble toward a tool store the way a zombie goes for brains. 

Soon I found myself making trips to the hardware store collecting tools and looking for special nuts and bolts (and learning not to giggle when I said "nuts.") - but more than just owning the tools, I also found ways to use them in repairing things I had never thought to do (or that I COULD do.) Later, I found I could replace just about anything on an automobile engine and even replaced the brakes on my car more than once.  I've replaced the heating elements on our household water heater and even replaced the water heater itself (twice.)  I found myself wandering around the hardware store just looking or stopping by on a weekend just because I had nothing else to do.  

Then, a couple of years ago, as my interest (or is that 'need'?) in repairing things grew, my wife gave me a really nice tool belt.  There is nothing that says 'there's-things-to-fix-and-I'm-ready-to-rumble' like a big professional tool belt (with suspenders!) There is something almost cosmic about the feeling one gets when you put on one of those belts. I began in earnest and nothing stood in my way.  In no time I was replacing roofing, putting in flooring, and even replacing an entire bathroom (toilet, fan, electrical and shower!) 

This last year I had to tear out a 12 x 12 section of my living room. This included the flooring, the floor itself, floor joists, and the bands and sills (that's the parts that the joists sit on - you see how much I know about this?) as well as the walls and even some of the studs.  I even removed the fireplace (with the help of a neighbor) and will, in the coming months, replace it all and then some. 

It's got to be the The South that changed me.  No, I mean it CHANGED. ME.   I think if I looked at my blood under a microscope it would look like 10W40 motor oil.  If you held my DNA up to a strong light it would resemble electrical wiring.  There are times when I want to put all my tools in a big coffin under my house and sleep with them under a full moon....

(crickets) ...

Ok, so maybe I went a bit overboard there.  I am not some creepy hardware vampire. I mean, I like tools and finding uses for them, that's all.  But whatever it is, it's somehow tied to living in the South. 

Wait, is that a loose floorboard over there?  Where's my hammer....Ah yes, it's in my TOOL BELT!

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