A humorous look at travel, family, relationships… And all kinds of other shit.

When the only tool in the house you recognize is yourself

As I write this, it’s 5 in the morning, and I’m once again questioning my masculinity.

I was sound asleep in my bed about two hours ago, when I awoke to a horrible screeching noise. It was the wind, screaming through the door upstairs, which leads to our deck.

For some reason, something was loose on either the screen door or the regular door, and it was creating this horrible, high-pitched whine every time another gust hit.

As I stood there, in my pajama bottoms, fat, looking helplessly at the door, Cindy rolled over in the bed and said something that sounded like, “What the fuck?” Then rolled back the other way.

If I didn’t fix the damn door, neither of us was going to get any sleep. I had to fix this damn door, and I had to fix it right away.

But I can’t fix anything. I don’t have that gene. I was born without it. Once, while trying to hang some blinds, I stabbed myself in the forearm with a steak knife, and had to go to the hospital for stitches.

Wondering what I was doing with a steak knife? I didn’t even know where we kept the screwdrivers, so I was improvising. I still have the scar.

If you’re a guy, you’re supposed to be able to fix things. I can cook . . . boy, can I cook. And I can pick out a good bottle of wine from a wine list. But I can’t fix a damn thing.

Once, I was on my boat with a friend, and we got pulled over by the Coast Guard for a routine check. “Can you open up the engine compartment?” the officer asked me, so he could check something.

I looked at my friend. He looked back at me. I didn’t say anything. As realization set in, a look of total and utter disgust came across his face.

“You don’t know where the fucking engine is, do you?” he said.

I’d only had the boat for about four years . . . how the hell was I supposed to know where the engine was? I assumed it was in the front, like a car. Turns out it was in the back.

Every year at my son’s grade school, we used to give him $20 to buy gifts for people on Kris Kringle day. When he was seven (seven!) he gave me a canvas tool belt. After I immediately tried it on, he said:

“Maybe you could put your kitchen spoons in there.”

Again, he was seven.

I long ago learned to accept this . . . but every once in a while, I sicken myself. Like when I’m standing in front of a loose door that absolutely must be fixed, and I can’t fix it.

After examining the door for a while (yes, I actually felt the hinges—as if, were they loose, I would be able to do anything about it).

I saw where there was some kind of gap that seemed to be causing the problem, so I got a couple of pieces of newspaper, crumpled them up, and jammed them in there real hard. And the noise stopped.

I was thrilled, and headed to the kitchen to celebrate.

That’s where I was, standing at the sink eating a cold turkey burger for breakfast, when I heard the loud, piercing shriek again, followed by:


It was Cindy. She was up. My Mr. Fix It job had not lasted the night. It had not lasted ten minutes.

I heard Cindy come stomping down the hallway. She walked into the kitchen, ignored me completely, opened up the “tool cabinet,” (a mysterious place I’ve never been to) and took out what looked like a cordless screwdriver. Or maybe it was a drill. Hell, it could have been a souped-up vibrator for all I could tell.

She then stomped back to the bedroom where, within minutes, I heard some whirring noises, and some banging noises. I finished my breakfast burger and turned on the computer to check e-mail.

Five minutes later, the door was permanently fixed. Cindy came back out to the kitchen, slammed the tool back into the drawer, and went to bed. To her credit, she never said a word to me. Though I can imagine what she was thinking:

“Keep stuffing your face, panty-waist. I’ll fix the damn door.” Or,

“Maybe when you’re done eating, you can go to Home Depot and buy yourself a set of testicles.” Or,

“Hey Nancy, why don’t you whip us up an omelet with fresh chives, like you do, while I break out the tools and fix our house.”

She managed to fix the door. At 5:00 in the morning, during a wicked rainstorm, with just one tool, she got ‘er done. You could give me perfect weather, a complete tool set, the personal coaching of Bob Villa, and a solid week. I still couldn’t fix it.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be a guy. Especially a metrosexualized one.

3 Responses to “When the only tool in the house you recognize is yourself”

  1. Brad Whitworth

    I think a Napa Valley Merlot would pair beautifully with a leaking door, don’t you?

  2. Kristen

    Also, you can write – BOY , can you write. And funny?! That Steve Crescenzo – he CRACKS ME UP!!! 😉

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