Blogs by Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz
Mr. Fix It -- Not My Husband
7/26/2008 9:11:33 PM
Another stereotype I once embraced was that all men were born with a wrench in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other.
I have a confession to make tonight: Even though I know it’s wrong to categorize all members of a particular group of people based upon the behavior or traits of a few members, at times I have been guilty of harboring certain stereotypes about the opposite sex. For one, I once believed that all men enjoyed beer, football, and belching; then I married my now ex-husband, who demonstrated that while men might enjoy belching, they did not necessarily enjoy beer or football. Another stereotype I once embraced was that all men were born with a wrench in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other. In other words, I believed that all men were like my daddy and “handy” with tools. And, being handy with tools, they could fix anything that needed fixing around the house, from a broken bicycle chain to a malfunctioning toaster to a leaking roof. However, this stereotype was shattered—in fact, it was shattered so resoundingly that the earth trembled from the aftershock—when I married my current husband, Chet.
You don’t know Chet, but believe me when I say he looks very “manly.” He’s six-feet-tall, weighs 205 pounds (all muscle since he works out at the gym, pumping iron like a fiend), and has a rapidly balding head. But Mr. Fix It, Chet isn’t.
Not that I knew this about my husband in the beginning. Instead it was a gradual realization that crept up on me, rather like a fog curling in over the Appalachian foothills on an August morning, although I had the first inking that Chet might not be “Mr. Fix It” shortly after he and I were married.
“What happened?” you ask, arching one eyebrow in curiosity.
What happened was this: the dryer broke.
“The dryer broke?” you echo.
Yes, the dryer broke; and since I knew, based upon a long-held stereotype of the male gender, that all men could fix things around the house, when Chet said, “I’ll fix it,” I never gave it another thought. Well, at least not until Chet pulled the dryer out into the middle of the kitchen, where he proceeded not to fix it, but instead to analyze it.
“Analyze it?” you say. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
No, I kid you not. See, Chet has a Ph.D. in history, and being highly educated, he’s a really smart guy; however, since he’s so educated and so smart, Chet believes that one must do one’s research before drawing a conclusion or taking any course of action, even if the end result of that course of action involves a procedure as relatively uncomplicated as fixing a broken dryer. This being the case, instead of promptly repairing our broken dryer, Chet, with tablet in hand, proceeded to call several appliance-repair shops in the area and take voluminous notes, after which he wandered off to his office, where he studied those notes in order to learn all he could about the “inner workings” of electric dryers. This process, however, took him about a week since Chet alternated studying his notes with teaching at the local college, working out at the gym, and drinking beer while watching football games on television.
Not that this was all Chet did because at some point (probably during a commercial), he did manage to pick up a pair of pliers and take apart the dryer.
“Ah, ha,” you say. “So he fixed it.”
Did I say he fixed it? I don’t think so. What I said was that Chet managed to take apart the dryer. And, trust me, that dryer stayed like that, taken apart, pieces scattered hither, thither, and yon all over the kitchen floor for another week. And why did the dryer remain in pieces? Well, it remained in pieces because my dear hubby decided that he needed to conduct additional research.
“What?” you say. “But why?”
Why? Well, according to Chet, he needed to perform one-on-one, face-to-face research with an appliance repairman instead of over-the-phone, voice-to-voice research with said repairman since he feared he might have transcribed some data incorrectly during his first fact-finding mission.
So, to make a long story even longer, another week passed, during which I lugged detergent, fabric softer, and hampers filled with dirty clothes to the local Laundromat in between working as a telemarketer for a local heating-and-air company and taking courses at the college, while Chet conducted additional research, after which he studied his voluminous new notes in between teaching, working out at the gym, drinking beer, and watching football.
Now quite exasperated, you say, “But did he ever fix the *&^^&## dryer?”
Well, yes and no.
“What does that mean?” you ask.
It means that I returned home after an American Lit class one day and the dryer was back together again, all in one piece, with Chet standing beside it and beaming with pride.
I froze in the doorway, overcome with emotion. I’m not sure what emotion, although I think it was shock.
Waving one hand with a flourish, Chet tapped the top of the dryer and announced, “Voila, it’s fixed.”
“It’s fixed,” I managed to say.
He shrugged as he pointed to the table, upon which lay several bolts and a metal plate of some kind. “Well” he said, “I did have a few parts left over, but I don’t think they’re vital.” With another shrug he added, “And maybe the door won’t close all the way, so you’ll have to prop something against it; but watch this!” He then reached over and pressed the button to start the dryer. And do you know what? That dryer came on and worked like new. Granted, it had taken Chet three weeks to fix it, and, granted, it had missing parts and the door wouldn’t close properly, but I’ll hand it to my husband; he did fix that dryer. And do you know something else? Not once during those three weeks did Chet belch, at least not within my hearing.
That’s it for now; but maybe in a future blog I’ll tell you about the time Chet fixed the vacuum cleaner. Better yet, the kitchen sink. No wait; let’s make it the time he attempted to fix the light in the bathroom. Now, that’s a story that’ll curl your hair.
More Blogs by Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz
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Christmas 2008 - Saturday, December 27, 2008
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Is America a "Civilized" Nation - Saturday, November 29, 2008
What Thanksgiving Means - Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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Thank You, America - Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The Perfect Husband - Friday, October 24, 2008
Sarah Who? - Monday, October 06, 2008
Rats Abandoning a Sinking Ship - Friday, September 26, 2008
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What's in a Name? - Saturday, September 13, 2008
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The Wonders of Modern Technology - Sunday, August 10, 2008
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The Value of Human Life - Friday, July 11, 2008
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