Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thank Heaven for a Handy Man

Joe's hobby is his Jeep.  His 1979 Jeep CJ7 with its latest one-ton axle 'upgrade.'  He built it from the ground up when he lived in D.C. and Wisconsin and still has grand plans of welding a roll cage for it.  Yep, a roll cage.  So it can be safer when he takes our boys on four wheeling trips.  Four wheeling trips.  I, personally, just want to go camping, let my toes in the water, and sit my ass in the sand.  But those boys.  Well they can four wheel all they want.  Provided my children are belted in, clothed in full armor, and protected by a roll cage.  A homemade welded roll cage.  I go out with friends to 'get away.'  Joe escapes to his garage to putz, clean, organize, sand blast, build, rebuild, saw, weld, and whatever else takes place with all of those tools to which I don't know the proper names, except to say 'thingamajig' or 'clampy doo-dad.'  Who else puts an air compressor on their wedding registry AND receives it.  This guy.  Joe roams the aisles of Home Depot like I meander aimlessly through Target.  But hey, whatever works.

He gets giddy at Christmastime to pull out the chain saw to trim the tree's trunk.

He set out to replace a few boards on our deck and ended up rebuilding the whole thing.

He gutted our entire kitchen and worked the plumbing and electrical to save a few bucks.  All this was done while he was finishing a masters degree and I was cooking babies in the hospital on bed rest.  Just had a few things going on.

He re-wired our basement (did I mention we live in a 1950s house?) so all the basement lights now come on at once with the flick of one switch.  I hate basements.  And I hate laundry.  But that switch makes it all better.  Smart man.

He replaced the view screen on our digital camera with a cheap find from eBay that was shipped from China.  $20 fix vs. $??? new camera.  OK!

He power washes messages into the sidewalk to be funny.  He also sometimes finds it necessary to keep a clean walkway with the power washer, even if it means using it right outside the boys' window at nap time.

He hires retired master welders to learn a few tricks of the trade on a Sunday afternoon.

He doesn't buy a new computer, he completely rebuilds our old machine.

He keeps spare tires (big tires) in our backyard, which have become fabulous climbing toys for the boys.

He fixed my hair dryer by finding the split wire, cutting the cord, and using a soddering iron to put it all back together.  It worked beautifully and I had my first good hair day in a long time.

During my first overnight stay away from the boys he managed to paint our entire new kitchen.  Seriously.  I can't even manage to fold a load of laundry in a day.

And right now he's washing my car and making me feel quite lazy.  I won't be surprised if by this afternoon the wiper blades are changed and all necessary fluids have been flushed and replaced.

While I might stress over the $30 I spent on a shirt, Joe doesn't blink twice at dropping $300 on a tool.  But he's learned to use his hobby to fund itself.  He'll 'flip' a Jeep for profit and use the extra cash to cover his next project.  He'll buy a clunker, strip it for parts, and sell them one by one.  He scours the internet and Jeep forums for the perfect part/tool.  And while I totally don't the how and why of pouring his heart and soul into his beloved Jeep that rarely leaves the garage, it's a hobby that keeps him close to home.  It doesn't take away from our family finances.  And it's a part of who he is under the rat-race-cubicle-office-polo-shirt that must be donned Monday thru Friday from 9:00 to 5:00pm, so if that's what it takes to keep a man happy, so be it.

I might never understand the need to have lifted his diesel Excursion.  But I don't have to; I just thank heaven for havin' a handy man.

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