Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Simple Home Repairs

Men get a bad rap. Think of the endless jokes that abound about duct tape repairs undertaken by the dense, male handyman. Just a few weeks ago I saved over $150 simply by employing duct tape as a replacement seal for my front loading washer. A call to a trusty plumber confirmed my fear that the seal alone would cost well over $100, not to mention his own hourly fee, probably not much less. Now, I do have to replace this “seal” after every other load, and duct tape isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but I am sure that even with the three rolls I’ve gone through this month, I’m saving a fortune. Oh, and then there are the bricks. The ones that I need to prop up the front of the washer so that any remaining “drippage” will flow back into the washer itself. And then I did needed to by some heavy duty plastic and a large tray to place under the machine… just to catch the few remaining drips. If you ask me, it’s an ingenious solution. Maybe not that attractive, though…

Back to my point… It’s not only men who are masters of substitution when it comes to household repairs. My wife, and I am sure she is typical of countless women, has her own tool box of solutions. Her favorite? Fabri-Tac. In her mind it can hem a pair of pants, serve as a substitute for tedious sewing in curtain and throw pillow making and repair just about anything that it loose or broken. Need to glue a tea cup together? Fabri-Tac! Hang a sink skirt on an enamel sink? Fabri-Tac! Fix a heavy falling finial on a wrought iron curtain rod? You guessed it, Fabri-Tac!

Now, the actual success of this remedy is another matter entirely. Although I am repeatedly reminded of my own shortcuts (painting around heavy furniture, mirrors and picture - you can just paint when you tire of their current location, placing a sofa in front of uneven, homemade draperies, the list goes on) I dare not mention the fact that that iron finial has been hanging by an ever lengthening string of Fabri-Tac. And the need to reglue that sink skirt every few days, and also replace the pins and nails that hold the edge to the crumbling plaster wall, is really just a minor nuisance. The curtains are not so bad either. If you balance the fabric very carefully on the rod, you really can see where the glue didn’t quite take.

For me, Fabri-Tac and duct tape are really minor league stuff, mere child’s play. If you want to get really serious, it’s all about Super Glue… Gel. That’s right… Super Glue Gel. Here, at last, is a product of such permanence and strength that it can handle a real man’s projects - curtain rods, cupboard handles, cupboard doors, even! There is no end to the usefulness and durability of Super Glue Gel. So strong is this product that I have three separate sets of curtain rod hardware on one set of windows. At the mere change of rod style, I can have formal rods, cafĂ© rods, even double-tiered valance and drape rods. Those babies are never coming off.

I know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. But that’s so dull. It takes a true artist to decorate an entire room with only duct tape, Fabri-Tac and… Super Glue.

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