by Julia Buckley
This was a big spring-cleaning weekend. For some reason this year I've become particularly manic, getting rid of old furniture, papers and clutter and painting walls. Saturday was devoted entirely to painting my dining room, which I did alone, because way back when my husband and I divvied up chores he made it clear that, while he was willing to do many things, he hated painting and would prefer not to have to do it. This is okay with me, because I love painting, and I'm rather obsessive-compulsive about it, anyway.
But it is time-consuming. And in between trips up and down the ladder, I have to be a mom. So I put down the brush at noon, dart into the kitchen and make grilled cheese. There I remember that we have a burner on our stove that doesn't work. Neither my husband nor I have any idea how to fix a burner on a gas stove. HANDY-PERSON need number one.
Back up the ladder. A driplet of paint falls on the floor, and I notice, upon closer inspection, that there are plenty of drips down there, old and new, marring the wood. It could really use buffing. I think I can do this myself, but would need to get some advice from a HANDY-PERSON about where to get a buffer and if in fact it would get old paint out of wood. That's number two.
I take a break; while washing the brushes I contemplate the pointless fireplace in our living room--no longer functional for actual fires and rather an eyesore, since someone long ago just painted it white, bricks and all. The white has become dingy, and the non-fireplace takes up room. I'd like to rip it out of the wall and re-finish. Can this be done? Only my fantasy HANDY-PERSON could tell me for sure (or better yet, he or she would just do it for me, for the price of a spaghetti and meatball dinner). :) Number three.
Eventually I take my paint-speckled self out to the car to pick up my husband at work. I gaze sadly at our little anniversary tree, which is looking pretty dead. (My husband, I fear, accidentally killed it by dumping charcoal near it last summer). But I could be wrong. My fantasy HANDY-PERSON would also be good in the garden, and could give me all sorts of tips about my peonies that bloom less each year, my vines that murder other plants, my forsythia that seems depressed. Not to mention--which of the things in my tangled side garden are actually weeds? And of course they'd be able to share the prognosis for the stick we called a tree. Number Four.
Back in the house with hubby, I hunt for something on my dark stairway. There is no light here and we could really use one, as we could in our hall and on our porch outside. HANDY-PERSON? How much of a job is that? Five, Six, Seven.
If I had thousands of expendable dollars I would find one of those guys that advertises himself as "handy, does all jobs" in the local paper and just hand him a list. I'd revel in watching him do all those things that I was never trained to do. I'd even throw in the spaghetti dinner as an extra bonus.
The fact is, those of you who are handy will always be in demand.
And if you, HANDY PERSON, are reading this, I wonder . . . do you like spaghetti?