Guest Post: Errol: House Maintenance for the Unskilled

Dear readers, meet Errol! I met Errol in November, during NaNoWriMo. He wrote his novel in – you won’t believe it – 24 hours! He did this because he was super busy with the NaNoMusical, NaNoToons, and keeping up with his daily webcomic, Debs and Errol. Errol is also one half of a geek band and he has a knitting blog!

I have no idea how he found time to write a guest post for me. But he did! And it’s wonderful! 


Allo! My name is Errol!

Jeanette posted to twitter about a guest blog and I got so excited about the concept of doing one that I begged to have a chance to participate. She, being a kind and generous person, acquiesced and once my elation calmed down, I was suddenly struck with the notion I know nothing about renovating houses.

This is me. Note the lack of any skills within reality.

Now, I imagine most of you are useful in the real world. If there’s a leak in the faucet, you fix it. If the closet door is jammed, you unjam it. You occupy a world of magic and wonder that befuddles me.

Same goes with farming and decorating.

I have a friend that loves to fix everything. I asked him for advice on a good place to change the oil of my vehicle. He scoffed and offered to do it at his house. What?! I lumped oil changes with all those dangerous endeavours they warned not do at home! For that matter, television had taught me such fruitless tasks ended up with a faceful of oil when an unexpected, but hilarious, interruption occurred, and then Mr. Wilson gave you advice on why you should respect your wife.

Why didn’t Tim just use Google?
(File from http://homeimprovement.wikia.com/wiki/File:Wilson_fence.jpg)

Thus, I figured I would blog something similar to a morality play: the folly of those that choose poorly when settling on a mate.

My wife, sadly, is the protagonist of this sordid tale.

She is amazing. She is successful, beautiful, and ensures our home is not only habitable, but even safe for young children and clumsy spouses.

When we were first married, I decided to live up to the expectation of the title ‘husband’. I would be supportive, I would be useful, I would sit on the couch and drink beer. And on one particular day, we needed shelving.

These shelves in fact. Look how simple they are! This should have been easy!

This was exciting! I had never put up shelving before, and it could be a task to prove that I could live in this new world of marital responsibility. We went to Ikea, we picked out some shelves, I put them up after finding out that the metal ruler thing with the little glass cylinder with water was used for ‘levelling’, and voila! Shelves were shelved! I put some books on them (heavy university books on computer science that my wife doesn’t understand why I keep), went about my day, and hoped for a raise by the end of the week. Or at least a bonus. Nudge wink.

Two hours later came the crash.

We both rushed up to assess the damage. The shelves ripped out the drywall. Books lay scattered all over the room. She asked me if I put the shelves in the studs of the wall.

What manner of witchery was she talking about? I remembered a device in the basement called a ‘stud finder’, but its purpose escaped me like that of floral decoration.

These floral decorated albums came with my wife. They hold pics of her old boyfriends.

Dejected, I went downstairs and would have collapsed on the couch with a beer, but I don’t even like beer. That day was not a day for victories.

But this story is not all tragedy; there is a splinter of hope. Five years later, we moved to a new home. No, it’s not because I destroyed the old one. We needed to upgrade because of our second child. As friends were helping us move in, my wife gave me one task: put up a metal rack of serving utensils.

And I did.


One of our friends was impressed by my accomplishment. They don’t have much faith in me.

Rack successfully installed. Achievement unlocked.

However, it is now eight years later, and that rack is still standing! And guess what? I even installed a TOILET! Do you know how much trepidation there was with THAT project? I watched every Home Depot Toilet Installing YouTube video I could find, and even then I was petrified for a couple months that something would go wrong. But it still works, and I am grateful every day for functioning toilets.
(I will not mention why we had to change the toilet, nor will I mention who’s fault it was that two floors were flooded by sewage.)

Is this a happily ever after ending? No, there are a lot of minor household repairs that totally escape me. Will I be handy? No. Tools still scare me. Will I ever be handsome? No. But at least that was evident when she first married me.

But her plight is also not irreversibly tragic: I can learn, albeit slowly and with much damage to the environment.

Still, if you were to garner any moral: celebrate your spouse and do not take him or her for granted. You could have been stuck with someone like me. At least your significant other didn’t overflow the bathroom with grey water such that it permanently stained the ceiling when it gushed to the main floor.

Not that I did that.

Totally… did not… do that.

That crack was totally there when we bought the house. I’m sure of it.

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