Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm a disgraceful DIYer -- and I don't care!

My five favorite things to do, in no particular order are: giggle, have sex, drink, read and play golf.

In fact, those are sort of my priorities. I wake up every morning and think, “Now, how can I manage this day so it includes at least a little giggling, a little sex, a little drinking, a little reading and a little golf?”

The giggling’s usually a cinch. I have delightful children and we never spend our time together discussing things like Snowden, Obamacare or why the bees are dying.

We just laugh and love.

I can find a little time usually every day to have a drink, something I do because I enjoy it and to make up for all those cruel teen years when my fake IDs failed to convince the guys ringing the registers at Pennsylvania beer distributors.

Financial and time considerations usually restrict me from golfing more than once a week and that’s a pity. I love an afternoon playing golf.

Sex? My wife’s both busy and quick and now that school’s out our giggling kids are always within a few feet of her, once again reminding me that the ultimate result of having sex is the creation of the very things that make it seem like you’ll never get to enjoy it again.

And like most cerebral humans, reading for me will always be part of the daily routine for at least the time it takes to use the toilet.

More from the top 50: I like to walk, fly kites, grill and eat seafood, chop firewood, watch Drew Carey on “The Price is Right,” play tavern darts, write my blog, juggle, sit on the porch, see matinees with Val, play catch, chase fireflies and watch a baseball game.

As I don’t enjoy making lists we’ll never know exactly where “Retile the bathroom floor and install a new sink and commode” falls on the list, but I’ll bet it’s in the 5,000s. 

Yet, that No. 5000-ish is what I’m right now in the middle of.

I think it’s because “Try to be a good husband” is in the top 100.

I mean it’s, er, No. 6!

Of all my failings, that I’m not a competent Do-It-Yourselfer I believe most disappoints my wife.

I think she must have seen some Lifetime movie years ago where the young newlyweds don white painting duds and spend alternating weekends repainting the nursery pink then blue depending on the shape of her butt believing that’s a more deft indicator of a fetus’s sex than the common ultrasound.

There’s a playful splash of paint, a reciprocal oops and then a slow-motion frolic involving flying paint and a tickle fight that segues into playful lovemaking atop the freshly speckled tarps.

And it’s all done and tidied up in time for lunch picnics with the chicken salad croissants.

It’s difficult for me to convey without swearing how much I loathe that insidious sort of make believe.

It takes me most of the day to properly tape the corners up so the edges don’t look sloppy.

We live in a Do-It-Yourself age where entire cable networks backed by deep pocket advertisers are devoted to convincing homeowners that DIY is virtuous.

In fact, it is Satanic.

During the two weeks or so -- cross your fingers -- it takes me to complete this secondary bathroom project I will experience a severe reduction in all the many splendid things that make my life soulful.

Just the opposite, I’ll snap at my wife more, be short with the kids and be more prone to things like road rage and abdominal distemper.

But being a DIYer is now expected of a man, especially a husband.

It wasn’t like that with my father.

I have no recollection of him ever even painting a room. I remember him and Mom looking at houses until they found one they liked. I remember the house had white walls.

And those walls remained that color through the duration of our occupancy.

I don’t remember Dad ever re-tiling a bathroom floor, installing a basement drop ceiling or tearing up the shag carpet so he could lay down hardwood floors.

No, I remember Dad sitting in a room with white walls, sipping beer and listening to famed Pittsburgh sportscaster Myron Cope. I remember him smiling.

Today, the man is like a god to me.

I removed and donated (Habitat for Humanity) the old commode, the old sink, busted up the tile and yanked the baseboards off. 

Soon we’ll go to select new tile and me and a buddy are going to try and puzzle out the chore. If all goes well, it ought to be done in about another week or so.

Until then I’ll feel like this part of my summer’s in the crapper, shut tight in a box.

That’s a particularly apt analogy right now, too, because until I do it myself, the crapper is sitting in a box in the basement.

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