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A not-so-handyman’s Saturday to forget

A not-so-handyman’s Saturday to forget


By Mike Wilcox


Last Saturday was one of those days where I should have stayed in bed. You’ve heard of two left hands? Well for a southpaw, this was my right-handed day.

I typically devote much of Saturday to doing odd jobs around the house. My first task was to change an ordinary light bulb that had gone dark on our front porch. I’m thinking a quick unscrew and change should take a couple of minutes.

Not this time. I screwed, I wrenched, I worked that bulb for what seemed like an hour until it finally burst in my hands. Now what? Well, I had heard if you take a potato and jam it into the socket, that it will unscrew the busted bulb. I gave it a try and, lo and behold, the socket came out, but so did a dozen or so hornets.

Yup, I’d disturbed a nest that had been constructed in the light fixture. Two hornets took a moment to sting my hand. What a start to my Saturday. One hour to change a light bulb and a swollen hand to go with the chore.

Not enough to stop this high-energy dude from completing his list of projects. Next I decided to sweep the garage. I grabbed a push broom I had recently purchased and began pushing debris to one corner of the garage. One or two minutes in and the base snapped in half. Crap. I had used the broom maybe once or twice previously and the cheap Chinese-made sweeper was already ready for the scrap heap.

I gave up on the sweeping and went to the back of the house, where a few deck boards needed reinforcement. I grabbed a handful of nails and my favorite tool, the good ol’ hammer, and begin pounding away. Well, at my age, even with reading glasses, it is not a good idea to swing a hammer with too much force. About five minutes into the task my hammer missed the nail and landed squarely on my thumb.

Oh my God, did that hurt, but it made me more determined than ever to continue. That is until I landed another direct hit on the same thumb. Now the appendage had swollen to twice its size and I’d had enough. Another project that would have to be finished later.

Could anything else go wrong that day? I decided to tackle my next project: pull weeds in the front lawn flower bed. This is a task that seems never ending. All spring and summer I am continually pulling weeds. I’ve tried all the weed preventative products on the market but none seem to do the job for me.

As I was pulling my 10,000th weed, my hand started stinging. This is, remember, a hand that had been beaten by a hammer and stung by wasps. Upon further review, again I had left my reading glasses in the garage. When I picked them up they were covered with red ants: those nasty little critters that bite and bite until you cry out in pain.

I brushed them away as quickly as I could and ran to the house, where I had a stash of calamine lotion. As I applied it to my hand that had now endured a wasp sting, two direct hammer hits and dozens of red ant bites, my dog, in his anxiousness to help, stepped squarely on my big toe.

You gotta be kidding me, I thought. The last time this happened I lost my toenail and it took nearly a year for it to grow back. Now I could add a black and blue toe to my hand that was swollen to twice its normal size. And all this had happened within the first two hours of my day.

I gave up, found my rocking chair and settled in for the rest of the day. Days like Saturday are meant for lounging and relaxing. Lesson learned.