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Give Me a Husky Wrench, Please

Lynda StarWriter shares a humorous experience with household repair.

Last summer, I was called to task with minor, plumbing repairs before I moved out of the house. I have a fabulous, standing tool box , one tackle box and a basic tool case, each filled with various wrenches, power tools, drill bits, washers, bolts and DESIGNER DUCT TAPE! In those rare moments when I decide I’m going to REPAIR something, it’s because the appliance, the sprinkler, the timer or the ceiling fan has died.  I’m all for resuscitation!

In this instance, I needed to replace the shower head in the master bathroom, which came on the heels of replacing the fill-valve in all three toilet tanks, which followed replacing all of the water islet pipes, the packing nuts and the corollary valve stems (like I really know plumbing lingo, but it sounds impressive). In piecemeal fashion, I finished the job in three days. Much to my surprise, the chore wasn’t difficult, but my learning curve and my patience were combatant.

I gained a tad bit of confidence after showing my friends and neighbors the wonderful results of MY repairs. I’d done everything as demonstrated by the do-it-yourself (DIY) repair instructor on YouTube. He (and she) explained the task, step-by-step, with a SIMPLE, video demonstration. I could readily PAUSE the lesson while I confirmed that we were each looking at the same thing (foreign object).

The very next week, I changed the windshield wiper blades (easy), I replaced the right-side brake light (easy) and the air filter (not so easy) on my Surf-Mobile, also completed in piecemeal fashion (I broke a fingernail, too).

This summer, my side-by-side refrigerator posed a mechanical conundrum, because the lower half of the freezer worked, while everything else intermittently remained warm. Sooooo, I got to thinking and exploring on the Internet. I learned quite a bit about condenser and evaporator fans.  By a process of assessment and elimination (CRITICAL thinking, like an RN), I determined that the condenser motor wasn't working.

The component is housed inside of the freezer behind a thick, plastic sheet which has to be removed in order to see the inner workings (yes, I unplugged the fridge). The condenser fan circulates cold air in the freezer, blowing a small amount through a vent into the fridge section. Repair and replacement was upward of $500. I neither wanted to purchase a new fridge nor spend money on an exorbitantly priced repair. I'd already tossed the perishable groceries I’d just purchased into the garbage.

According to the instructional video, I needed a hex-screwdriver (what the hex?) to remove the covering and the housing in which the fan is placed. I hate going to the hardware store, so I went to a social gathering instead (right?). By sheer coincidence, my friend, Geno, (a notable contractor), sat down right next to me. 

GUESS what Geno had stashed in his truck’s toolbox? GUESS what I ordered on-line for fifteen bucks? An ENTIRE kit. A couple of days later, the part arrived in the mail. GUESS how I spent the evening, taking my sweet, repair time?  It turned out that the original fan motor was ajar in the housing because the plastic fan blades were a fraction too long. So, I trimmed them with scissors and viola! That accounts for the loud, propeller-like sound I’d hear emanating from the fridge, every so often. When I was done, I plugged in the refrigerator, leaving it to its own devices.

In the meantime, I brewed some lemon-ginger tea, I cranked up some classical music (it’s supposed to rev up the genius part of my brain) while pondering the hex-screwdriver. I  dismantled the new fan motor (oooohhh). Then I put it back together again (aaaahhhh). I really didn't NEED to do that, but after about an hour, I put it back into the box, whole. I felt as though I'd demystified something I thought was top secret. I haven’t returned the new motor, rather, I’m thinking about framing it and hanging it in the garage next to the poster of Ty Pennington.

That NIGHT, the freezer actually made ice; I was ecstatic. The next day, the appliance was holding its own, frigid temperature. I wept tears of joy (not really; it sounds more dramatic). I also devised an invention of sorts, allowing easier accessibility to the main components underneath the refrigerator (which I vacuumed, per the instructions).

The refrigerator’s original motor is now quietly humming instead of preparing for take-off.  Still, I’m reluctant to hold on to UBER-confidence because I have one, orphaned, hex screw laying around.

Last week, I took my Surf-Mobile to the mechanic for some rejuvenation, notwithstanding wiper blades and light bulbs. I had an INKLING to change the fuel filter and the spark plugs MYSELF. I’d like to thank my good friend, Joseph, who graciously referred me to the shop instead. He also offered me his sleek, BMW 740i to drive around town while my SUV recovers.

MINOR household repairs aren’t only vexingly infinite, it seems I ALWAYS need the ONE tool I don’t have in my cache of hardware. Today, I’m slated to replace a multitude of electrical socket plates and a drip, drip, dripping bathroom faucet. Right now, I think a butter knife will suffice (SURE….).

In the interim, those piecemeal reprieves and trips to the hardware store stirred up a little poetic verse. My all-time, favorite tools remain steadfast: my notepad, my camera and my pen.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a piece I jotted down, entitled: “Husky Wrench.” May your repairs always be easy, breezy.

I fixed the shower head casing, Such a dangling mess! But only for a minute, with duct tape, I confess.

                 It matched the chrome.

I didn’t want to fix it right; No! My loud defiance! So I hissed and moaned for days. Absolutely, rocket science!

                There must be a solution.  

The gooseneck is a faucet, twist the female to the left.The parts broke into pieces, (except for one, small adaptor). I felt totally inept.  

So, I cried. I  kicked. I cussed. I didn’t even have an audience.

The smooth piece was on so tightly, tools were slipping off. Armed with vinegar and Pam spray, still difficult, it scoffed.  

I swear, I heard it laughing at me. Time for a trip to the hardware store.  

Max advised to disconnect the gooseneck behind the wall. It might take some demolition, but solve my problems, all!  

Hmmm. Why didn’t I think of that? More work. More mess. That’s the ticket, Max!

I ventured into the tool section; Holy ground, indeedy. I said, “I want a good, strong grip, please,” appearing rather needy.  

Yes, I tried the pipe wrench and the channel locks. Pliers? Yep. Butter knife? Always, first-line.  

When there appeared my dream, fleeting in an instance. A husky, strong and silent type, nearing in the distance.  

Bright yellow jacket. How could I have missed it? Beckoning, ‘Come tither, darling.’  

Our encounter, whirlwind, from the bin, to the cluttered shower. Our impassioned task was finished right, I’m no longer disempowered! 

Looking back today, the job was simply done. I was just afraid, it wouldn’t be any fun. It wasn’t.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lisa Barreras November 27, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Absolutely hilarious. Good for you. Been there, done that. Made me smile this early morning while at work.

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