Friday, April 29, 2005

It's a Man's World

...But we need women to tell us what to do.

How is everyone enjoying poet's day? Nope I'm not talking about some arty holiday you've never heard of. More precisely it's P.O.E.T.S day, or in other words, Piss Off Early Tommorrow's Saturday. That great tradition of the working man.

Speaking of the working man, I tackled a very simple job today, well at least I thought it would be simple, I repaired the broken front window I told you about a few posts ago.

There's the easy way to do things and the hard way. The difference between the two being that the hard way works. Most of us, however, will still choose the easy way, knowing deep down in our souls that the easy way will suddenly become the tear your hair out and scream method.

The biggest problem is once you get married or move in with your girlfriend, becoming a handyman comes with the territory. Despite the fact you've never so much as held a screwdriver before, you suddenly suddenly see yourself as a master electrician, plumber, mechanic and all round Fix-It God. The saddest thing is, guys, we actually believe our own hype.

For all the women out there, this can be confusing. Why in the blue hell is your man attempting to fix the washing machine himself, when you know by the time you've paid for the parts, tools, inevitable medical bills and called an expert to fix the now ten times worse washing machine, you could have saved a lot of time, money and aggrivation by calling an expert to begin with.

In order for the ladies to understand how our minds work, I'm going to talk you through my thought processes in fixing the window. This is also "The Man's Guide to Home Repair"

1) Through my own stupidity, I break the window.

2) I call around the hardware stores to get a price on plexiglass. Listen to the sales clerk talk about the differences between brands, including reflective index, tensile strength etc. Of course I have no clue what he's talking about, but obviously I don't want to admit that, so I 'hmm' and say things like 'Of course', deftly giving the impression I know what the hell he's blathering on about.

The Sales clerk knows I have no clue of course, but pretends he doesn't. He tells me I need lots of stuff I don't need, and laughs about it with the other sales clerks when I hang up

3) I arrive at the hardware store, despite the fact I have no clue what most of this stuff is or what it does, I feel happy and have a sense of homecoming. The same feeling you used to get in Toys 'R' Us when you were twelve. I ask the sales clerk where the plexiglass is and he shows me, I pull out two sheets (I need two, my window is sectional, I broke two). The salesman points out that I also need a cutter for it, I was planning on using a craft knife, but don't want to seem stupid so I put everything the salesman recommends in my cart and say "I was just going to ask you where to get that."

I needed two sheets of plexiglass and some silicone. I leave with Plexiglass, silicone, caulk gun, deluxe steel rule (no idea what's so deluxe about it, maybe it's because it has both inches AND metric), special plastic cutter (which is essentially a craft knife with a non-replaceable blade, something less effective than my craft knife, but I have to use it to justify the expense to the wife)

4) Arrive home. Re-measure the window before I cut the plexiglass. I've heard the old saying "Measure twice, cut once" hundreds of times. I don't know how it's supposed to work when you measure 5 times, and get 5 different measurements. I shrug and take an average, after all it doesn't have to be exact, does it? I figure if it's wrong I can blame it one being English, everything here is in yards and inches, I'm used to millimeters and centimeters

5) Main Man-Rule #1 Never Read Instructions. I did, however, because I had no clue what I was doing (not that that usually stops me)...but I was screwed if I was going to let the wife see me do it.

I lay out my plexiglass, lay my ruler across it, and according to the instructions, score it 5 times. Dissapointed to see I have not managed a textbook perfectly straight deep score. Instead I find 5 different, and very shallow score lines.

6) Swear Loudly.

7) Finally manage to get the glass scored nearly right. Now comes the part where I snap it off. Expecting whole sheet to shatter in my hands, I'm surprised to get a satisfying 'snick' sound and a nice straight edge.

8) Smugly test fit the window. With a sinking feeling see that it's about 2/8ths of an inch too big. Realise that now there is not enough 'waste' to score and snap like I did first time round, it's just not possible to get enough leverage with a 2/8ths section.

9) Swear loudly. Notice the cat has taken an interest in the proceedings, she perches on the front step with an interested look on her face. I'm swearing, usually something interesting is about to happen.

10) Take rotary tool (God bless Dremmel) and attempt to sand down edge. End up with something that looks like it's been chewed by rats rather than sanded.

11) Test fit again...repeat step 10...five times.

12) Repeat steps 5 -11 for other pane. Yes, managing to make all same mistakes, including having to sand down the edge 5 times.

13) Hard part over, just need to remove broken glass, spread silicone around frame, press in plexiglass, done. Oh how naive I was.

14) Attempt to remove broken glass.

15) Go back inside for band aids and some work gloves. Swear so loudly, cat runs and hides...however, I get the sneaking suspicion I hear her laugh at me.

16) Glass removed, Snip end of silicone tube, put into caulk gun. Press trigger, nothing happens. Don't bother to read instructions, this is a gun, and therefore I know all about it. Rather than take apart to see problem, pull trigger as hard as I can. Trip over cat on the way back into the house. Definately hear her laugh at me this time.

17) Realise I forgot to pierce the foil inside the tube. Have managed to press trigger so hard, the arm will not move forward, and cannot move backwards. Completely stuck. Wrack brains for solution, while being quietly proud of my own strength in managing to jam caulk gun.

18) Marvel at my own brilliance, If I cut the end of the nozzle back even more, I can fit a screwdriver inside and pierce the foil! Genius, sheer bloody genius!

19) Realise with sinking feeling in my stomach that I now have to try and accurately place silicone around the frame with a nozzle that now has a half inch hole where a 1/16th inch hole should be. reminds me of trying to put toothpaste on a GI Joe sized brush with a tube of toothpaste the size of my arm. End up with silicone looking like it would have been tidier to simply take handful of silicone and fling it in the general direction of the window. Cat sits on car hood and watches. Swear loudly. Hear cat snigger.

20) Press plexiglass into frame, attempt to remove excess with my fingers, find 5 minutes later I'm glued to the caulk gun. tell wife I covered my hands with silicone on purpose so I didn't have to go outside to check to see if it's cured.

21) Stand back and admire handywork. Looks like it's been done by a group of hung over monkeys with Attention Deficit disorder. Feel proud. Cat claws leg. Consider using left over silicone to glue cat to the wall.

22) Spend rest of day picking silicone off fingers. By some amazing stroke of luck new panes have not fallen out and appear waterproof and secure. Notice cat trying to remove blob of silicone from fur. Laugh at cat. Find out an hour later cat has pooped in my shoe. Cat, however, nowhere to be seen.

See what I mean ladies? That's how we work. Of course to another guy I'd say "Yeah, spent an hour on friday throwing some new glass into the front window, easy."

So why do we do it? If I had to draw a comparison, I'd put it this way. If you suggest to your husband that he should hire an expert, it's a grave blow to his manhood. For an idea of how it feels, imagine your husband or boyfriend saying "Your clothes and makeup look crappy, let's get one of those pretty girl in here to do it for you and buy some clothes for you. Obviously you can't manage it on your own." Then imagine the cat sniggering at you.

Of course, this phenomenon of lying to yourself works for females too. Ie women who insist they can cook when they can't, claim to have an eye for decorating (they do, but that eye is colourblind), or my personal favourite, the women who say women in magazines on TV are too skinny, are anorexic sluts, but would sell their own grandmother to look like them.

Anyway, the next time your man takes on a project, let him do it, but have a profesional on standby and alert the emergency room.

Sorry ladies but it's an instinctual, in-the-bone thing that you will never train out of your man. Don't even try to.

Anyway, I have to go now and finish removing the window sealant from my hands.

1 comment:

serendipity said...

I'm so amused. I was laughing out loud reading that - it reminded me of a time (years ago) when my dad bought me a new desk - flatpacked of course, and proceeded to try and put it together by himself. It was the foulest languag I ever heard as a child!!
I got your email BTW, many thanks, I will reply :)