Keep it Simple


After work Monday afternoon, my cousin Tom came over to see if he could help me with anything around the house.  I knew there were a dozen things that I’ve not hired anyone to fix but could not think of what they were when he asked me earlier.  Every time I walk through the short hall from the front of the house to the back I pass the laundry chute on which the little spring on the door popped off years ago and so it doesn’t close at all, of course it is annoying every time I go past it, but it never occurred to me to hire someone to fix things like that, even though it may be a simple problem.

My father, who fixed everything himself often said, consider the simple answer first, then move to the more complicated method if the simple one didn’t fix it.  There is a little foot extending from the middle brace on the frame of my bed, which has over the last sixteen years of bearing my weight, become crooked and looks like it might be making a round mark on the wood floor under it, or like the foot might give way.  From somewhere in a drawer or cache of “stuff” I found a little plastic disk, the kind that we used to place under furniture that had wheels on it, or under chair legs that might damage a floor or rug.  The very thing to put under that foot on the bed frame.  The box spring and mattress are excessively heavy without anyone on top of them which I found in my first attempt to lift to see if I could slide the little disk under the foot.

When Tom bent down to do the job I warned him about the weight of the box spring and mattress and said maybe he should have his son to help him.  A grimace on his face, he squeaked out, “No.” and proceeded to do the simple solution by turning the little foot which was apparently screwed in place until it was up and he slid the disk under it and then tightened the foot back in place.  It is still crooked, but at least I feel better about it being on the disk.  Oh my.

I had bought a frame to put a drawing into that my daughter had done and given to me.  It was the right size but I could not get the back to stay in place in order to pull the latches over the back and keep all in place.  Tom examined all parts and puttered a bit before taking the backing out to his truck to sand one side down since it was higher than the opposite end.  Once he did that he came back, cleaned off the glass, assembled the whole thing and hung it on the hook which had been waiting for it.  Ah, how nice it looks.

When I had the kitchen plumbing re-done a few years ago, I had the plumber install a filter unit on the kitchen faucet and when that needed a replacement filter and I bought a new one, I found I could not even open the unit to change the filter.  With a simple twist and shrug he got the thing off the faucet and open and fortunately the filter was the right one, so that is working again. He also showed me how to do it so next time it should not be a major project.

After months of pouring assorted drain cleaners and countless pots of hot vinegar down sink drains, the main bathroom sink stopped draining altogether and the guest half bath sink was gurgling at a very slow pace.  It is not the kind of job I wanted to call the reliable plumber that did the kitchen sink plumbing for because his business is close to Akron, a long way for a small job.  In very short order Tom had them both cleaned out and draining rapidly.

Last on my list were two doors which would not stay closed if the outdoor temperature fell much below freezing – not a problem if they were inside the house, but one led from the garage to the outside and often blew open just from the wind.  Luckily none of the stray night time critters wandered into the garage and I just propped the door closed with a cinder block and wood.  Tom moved the lock on the door and bent some of the metal and said it should be fine now.  He manipulated the metal on the second door as well.

In this day and age, it is difficult to find someone to help with all of the little odds and ends that can be an inconvenience living in a house, so I am really grateful that my cousin was willing and able to do all these things for me.  His next stop was to wrestle with his younger daughter’s furnace.


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