Delicate Hands

I was folding laundry or doing something else mature and/or productive this weekend when I heard a tentative male voice in the doorway to my kitchen.

“Uh, Kay? Can you give me a hand? The handle broke off in my shower and I can’t turn the water off.”

My tenant was standing on the landing at the back door, looking sheepish. I normally close the door between the porch (and stairwell) and my part of the house, but I had just come back upstairs with a full laundry basket and neglected that step. My first thought when I heard what was going on was that I was suddenly dealing with an I Love Lucy kind of situation, and I half expected my tenant to be standing on the landing with shampoo still bubbling in his hair and a towel snug around his waist. I added a yellow rubber ducky for effect. He’s going to school here on a football scholarship, so it’s not like seeing him with his shirt off would be painful, but it’s hard to solve problems with a half-dressed person. Thankfully, the guy was dressed, in a t-shirt, shorts, and a heavy layer of sheepish.

“I’m so glad you’re home. I don’t know what to do.”

I hurried downstairs, where the shower was indeed blasting away, completely oblivious that it was getting the floor wet and not cleansing anyone at that moment. The handle had come right off the post that sticks out from the wall and was resting on the bathroom counter.

“I’ll show you where to turn the main water off,” I offered, “and then we can figure out what to do.”

“You can do that?” he asked. Thank goodness this happened before I leave for two weeks. I’d hate to have seen the water bill if I hadn’t have been home. I showed him where to turn the handle above the washing machine, and the sound of rushing water immediately stopped  in the apartment. I popped upstairs to ask The Electrician for a hand.

Upon inspecting the scene, my sweetie immediately determined that he’d need an allen key to put the tap–which had worked itself loose and wasn’t technically broken– back together. He also noted that the tap was corroded and worn inside, and that our best plan of action would be to replace the tap rather than putting it back together and hoping it held. I promised my tenant I would buy a new tap and have the basement suite shower operational again: hopefully sometime on Saturday.

The Electrician deftly turned the stub the tap is supposed to attach to with his fingers, ensured the shower valve was closed, and turned the main water dealie in the laundry room back on. He then offered the tenant a pair of pliers so he could use the shower while waiting for new taps. My poor tenant looked all kinds of awkward holding the pliers. I don’t think he had much confidence in his ability to operate the shower without a tap.

“Thanks, man,” he said to The Electrician. “I’ve got these delicate hands, and they’re no good for this kind of thing.” Yes, he really did refer to his hands as delicate. To be fair, the guy’s a wide-receiver, and I’m sure babying his paws is part of the job. It’s not his fault he doesn’t know how to fix stuff, either. I’m just not used to being around guys who aren’t handy.

After purchasing new taps at Home Depot, we returned to the dollhouse, where The Electrician needed less than three minutes to fix the shower. The tenant and I were (appropriately) impressed.

I grew up with a dad and a brother who spent more time in the shop than in the house, so the whole concept of a mechanically declined male is a little foreign to me. Of the long list of things I love about The Electrician, his fix-it-ness is pretty near the top of the pile. I’m awfully grateful to be in love with a man who can repair things that break and build stuff that needs constructing.

He just called me with a question about stain removal. It seems we balance one another very well.
copyright 2012:

One Comment Add yours

  1. Great phrase – “mechanically declined”!

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