December 2000 - Sincerely Sire Newsletter
Top Screw Gun
We closed escrow on the sale of our house last month and have moved into another home we own in Huntington Beach. We’ve been fixing it up. Something for two empty-nesters to do together. Something “fun” like Roe (my wife) likes to do.
The big stuff like laying concrete, hanging doors, scraping the ceilings, putting in a new kitchen and bathrooms, etc. we are having professionals do. But for that personal touch we are doing a few things ourselves, like I hung a mini-blind yesterday—all by myself.
My brother, who is in the construction business and did a lot of the work on our house, laughs as he watches me fumble and bumble along. I am such a perfectionists it’s amazing I ever get anything done. I mean why risk driving in a screw when it may not be in exactly the right place at exactly the right angle and just think of the gargantuan hole you would leave if you had to pull it out and do it over again.
Now, Rosemarie is precisely the opposite. She just picks up the hammer and starts pounding. And all too often she asks me for help—talk about the blind leading the blind—like yesterday she asked me to help her hang a curtain rod over the living room sliders. Unable to think of a way out, I agreed. I stood on this little step ladder for twenty minutes trying to find a stud behind the secretive, tricky and beguiling drywall. Tap tap tap with the hammer. Tap tap tap. “Yep, there’s a stud right there. Can’t you hear it?” I said. Tap tap tap. “Right there.” Then I drove the screw into nothing at all. No stud. What was holding this house up anyway?
About fifteen holes-into-nothing later I hopped off the ladder and handed Roe the hammer, “That’s it,” I said with absolute authority and finality. “There’s no stud there. We’ll have to buy some toggle bolts. Can’t hang it now.”
“Toggle bolts?” she said. ( I knew I’d confuse her with that one.) But, as I turned and walked towards the kitchen, not two seconds later, I heard the unmistakable thud of a nail being driven into a solid piece of two-by-four lumber. I spun around and there she was perched on the little ladder, hammer in hand and nail solidly in the wall, “There’s a stud right there,” she said smiling sheepishly. It felt like she had just driven the nail into my forehead.
Well, after that little display of master craftswomanship she was not to be denied. Next was the toilet paper holder. “Where’s that screw gun your brother left here?” she asked me.
“The big one?” I said. “The one he uses for driving in 2˝ inch drywall screws? It’s over there on the kitchen table.”
She walks over and pulls it off the table using both hands. As she slides it off the edge the weight of the tool brings her to her knees. She backs down the hall dragging the screw gun in front of her.
For at least the next hour as I contemplate whether or not to drive in a screw for the mini-blind bracket in the kitchen, I hear the screw gun going. And going and going and going . . . We’re talkin’ a toilet paper holder here folks. Two tiny little screws.
She had me cracking up, laughing out loud in tandem with the droning churning screw gun as I stood crouched beneath that mini-blind bracket trying to position that screw in exactly the right position and wondering what in the world the master craftswoman could be up to—I decide I better check on her to make sure she hasn’t fallen down and is pinned beneath the weight of the still spinning screw gun all tangled up in her hair.
I walk into the bathroom and there she is alive and well. “Take a look at this,” she says as she takes the little roller thingy and slips a roll of toilet paper over the end and then slips the whole thing in to the holder—only problem is, it doesn’t slip in. With all of her might she finds herself shoving and twisting it in. She reminds me of Cinderella's sister trying to stuff her foot into the glass slipper. “Well, there you have it,” she finally says, as she manages to just barely get the roll of toilet paper lodged in between the holders.
We’re both standing there staring at the toilet paper holder and the mangled role of toilet paper stuffed into it. I reach out and tug at the Charmin’. One square breaks off. The roll doesn’t budge. It would take a team of wild horses to spin that roll of toilet paper. “Hum,” she says. “It’s not wide enough is it?”
“Yeah, honey, it doesn’t look like it’s wide enough does it? I’d help you fix it but I’ve got a screw of my own to install in the kitchen.
As I leave to complete my project she hoist the screw gun up to her lap and says, “Hey, where’s the
reverse on this thing anyway?”