Before backing out of the garage to chase bacon in the work-a-day world, my wife asked, “Could you tighten the handle on the silverware drawer today? It’s a tiny bit wobbly.”
Cheerfully, with a quick out-the-garage-down-the-drive kiss, I replied, “Sure. First thing!”
On reflection, ‘a tiny bit wobbly,’ likely meant I’d find the blasted thing lying on the floor when I arrived in the kitchen, screwdriver in hand to snug it up. Curiously, since I’m in and out of the silverware drawer as much if not more than the boss, it was a puzzle why I’d not picked up on the ‘wobbly-ness’ of the handle. Especially curious since I’m the one who every other week tours the house ‘snugging-up’ drawer handles in working bedrooms, guest bedrooms, every bathroom, and all the furniture burdened with drawer pulls. Drawer pulls will, unwatched, manage to work themselves loose; caused, I believe by the earth’s spin.
First inclination when an emergency drawer-pull handle snug-up beckons is to go with the male supposition that any butter knife from, in this case the very offending silverware drawer, would more than handily guide the errant screw, technically a bolt of the wimpiest type, safely tight against the drawer face. But I am a professional. And I have a five-foot high tool chest in the garage loaded with tools just itching to get to technical tool-needing jobs. Clamps of every size and shape, for every purpose conceivable (except the next one I’ll need), wrenches exploring every torque-angle imaginable, hammers to astound Thor, sanders, chisels, punches, drills, files and rasps, wire brushes and probes, levels, gauges, squares, knives, blades, planes, bits, braces, tapes, to make Lowes or Home Depot proud to be my sponsor. I should have my own NASCAR driver.
I would consult my tool chest. In that tool chest are eleventy-twelve screwdrivers. I had in mind exactly which precision instrument from the “screwdriver drawer” I wanted for the job. That, though I’d not yet examined the drawer pull in distress. Working from the schematics in my head, you know?
Shi*! The one, the very screwdriver I knew was designed for this job came out of the drawer with a blade twisted, bruised, and in need of an appointment with the grinder to restore it to perfection. Hmmpf! Am I not the man for the job? By the way, didja ever notice you can amend a straight slot but not a Phillips, clutch, star, or Torx blade? Collusion between hardware manufacturers and the Big Boy Toy Stores?
The last tool bolted to the workbench was the radial saw. Swapped that out for the grinder. Simple. Just fifteen minutes. Took less than three minutes to fine-tune the blade. The screwdriver drawer was open, and there were other screwdrivers that could stand a little touch-up. While I was at it, that one chisel was in sorry shape. Showed it first to the grinder, then got out the stone and put a nice edge on it. Restowing the chisel naturally meant the chisels had to be re-ordered – tidying-up the “blade” drawer.
Working the stone though, the oil cans demanded attention. Both the light oil and the “spent” engine oil. Spilled a little oil on the floor. Cleaning that up, I decided the floor could stand sweeping. That led to the decision that the shop broom finally needed replacing. I started a list for a trip to the Big Boy Toy Store. Because I couldn’t find the list I’d started last weekend.
If I left right away, I could get there and back and get things taken care of and have some time to write. I couldn’t find the keys to the truck. They were not in the place I always put them. Enough of that. Time to mount a key rack by the door to the garage. Like that was going to stop keys from leaving their always place?
I built the key rack, a simple affair. I did have to dismount the grinder and mount the radial saw. My workspace is not small; it’s tiny. That swap cost only about fifteen minutes.
Drilling anchor holes for the screws for the key rack, I marred the wall. Marred it enough it required a little spackling touch-up. Spackling I had, so that done, I had a quick cup of coffee, deciding breakfast wouldn’t happen today.
I added a resupply of assorted sandpapers to my list and headed out the door. Looked like rain. That might adjust my lawn-mowing schedule. Back from the toy store, I sanded and applied touch-up paint to the wall, then mounted the rack. Proudly loading the rack with keys from around the house, I found the long-missing spare truck keys. A bonus of sorts.
Taking the drill out to the garage, I discovered in my excitement to finish mounting the key rack, I’d left the overhead garage door open. Closing it, it complained it too wanted a bit of oil. It’s overhead of course, so considerable oil dripped onto the concrete. On the second oil-spill clean-up, I put a knee into a little pool of oil. Sure as shooting, that was going to show-up throughout the house, so changing clothes was a good idea.
Wasn’t fast enough getting out of those jeans. I managed a spot on the living room carpet. Hauling out the spot remover, I figured I might as well vacuum the whole house while I was at it. I did.
Tossing the oiled jeans into the dirty clothes bin, it looked there were enough jeans it might be a good idea to start a load of jeans and around-the-yard shirts. I did, spot-treating of course. Used the last of the detergent and tossing the container, noticed the trash cans were proudly full. No point in just emptying one. In a house with only fourteen rooms there are twenty trash cans, up and downstairs. It was not a five-minute job, emptying and re-lining all the cans.
Lunch? It was already two pm, so I opted to just wait for supper. Supper? Salmon. On the grill. Better get a cedar plank soaking. Hauling out the long baking trays to start the soak, I was impressed that cabinet needed a bit of tidying-up. Which I did.
Grill? Propane! Wasn’t I low and hadn’t I used the last spare tank for the ribs two weekends ago? Went to check. My memory was working. I needed to get another spare, so as not to run out with no spare mid-salmon. Noticing the chuck key and putty knife on the kitchen counter, I grabbed them, passed the key rack, snatched the truck keys (I had a choice of two) and headed out to the truck for my second trip of the day. A dusty thought rolled through my noggin I’d forgotten something.
That something I thought was gas for the mower. I grabbed the gas can and the empty propane spare and headed off. I congratulated myself on combining trips, ignoring the fact this was my second trip for the day. Returning with propane and a full gas can, it impressed me I’d better mow lawn or get caught in a monsoon and end up baling when I finally was able to mow.
Of course, I’d promised my lawn before I mowed next, I’d sharpen the mower blade. I know who put that blade on last time, but golly that must have been a Wheaties day. Finally broke the booger loose, re-bolted the grinder to the bench, after un-bolting the radial saw, put a nice edge on the blade, and got it back in place. It looked it was gonna be a race to see if I finished before the rain started.
I won. Just as I finished cleaning the mower and putting it away, the Boss arrived home from work. Early? No. Goodness, look at the time! After four already.
Climbing out of the Bossmobile, she cheerily asked, “What did you do today?”
“Unh, not much,” I replied.
“Did you tighten the handle on the silverware drawer?”
(Note: creative piece “Breakfast of Champions” added July 5th.)