Handy

Thanks to my dad, I’m a little bit handy.

I remember going along after him on a deck or roof — he’d put in one nail, and I’d do another one next to it. Or there were the plumbing and electrical jobs, where I’d be the one dangling the coat hanger through the wall or holding the light.

I had fun with those home repair mission trips, too, where the high school or college youth group spends a week with Habitat for Humanity or some similar organization. I learned to cut baseboard with a coping saw for when the wall corners are not perfectly square. Helped carry landscaping timbers, make a stone retaining wall, patch and sand drywall, paint, use a miter box, use a circular saw, and so on.

Today, the husband and I are replacing the left jamb of our exterior door. It had a crack in it, and so did the interior molding, and when we replaced the ancient weather-stripping the increased pressure widened the cracks, and the door wouldn’t stay shut unless the deadbolt was engaged.

We had to special-order the jamb, because it’s wider than the standard kind. So far we’ve removed the left interior and exterior moldings, put the new jamb in place, and shimmed it plumb. The hole for the deadbolt is a little too high, so I made a plug that we’ll glue in, then we’ll drill a new hole.

I’m quite proud of my little plug. I had a piece of wood lying around from when we built our raised-bed gardens. I nailed it to another bigger board so I’d have something to hold on to. And I used a handsaw to cut it to length. Pulled out the nails, turned it, nailed that side down, cut that side to length. Then cut it across to thickness, then sanded it to make round corners, and sanded it some more to get it to fit the hole. Not bad for hand tools.

Oh, and yesterday I replaced the vacuum cleaner belt. I was cleaning the hair (ahem) off the roller, something that’s been needed for a LONG time. I think there was actually burned, melted hair in there at the ends — I don’t know what else it could have been — black stuff with bits of hair sticking out. Yikes. No wonder the belt had a tear in it, about halfway across.

I have no idea how long it would take for that tear to break the rest of the way, but I didn’t want it to happen while I was vacuuming. So online to find out if they even still make the kind of belt we need. Found out that supposedly you should replace these things at least once a year. We’ve had ours for almost nine years. Yikes. Anyway, yes they still make them, and out I went to get one, and back home and managed to put it on, and how nice it was to vacuum the house without that old burning smell!

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