Joyce Minor

Mr. Fix-it strikes again

John has always enjoyed watching do-it-yourself shows on television. With years of practice he has developed many DIY skills and used them to advantage around our house.

Most of his projects turn out great and we are both really proud of them. He built two beautiful floor-to-ceiling bookcases for our home office and artfully matched them to our antique roll-top desk. He remodeled our master bath with new cabinetry and built a walk-in shower complete with subway tile that looks absolutely professional.

But over the years John's efforts have also resulted in some less than stellar projects, as well as some truly clever solutions that have earned him the title of my personal Mr. Fix-it.

When we lived in Alabama we had some problems with squirrels getting into our attic, so John went up there to install wire mesh over the attic vents. He did a great job of it and successfully outsmarted the little critters.

He also outsmarted himself by stepping off the attic's plywood floor directly into the insulation. I was in the bathroom below at the time and nearly had a heart attack as John's boot came through the ceiling.

Our house was for sale at the time so we needed a quick fix. Prospective buyers were due in a matter of hours and they would not be impressed with a gigantic hole in the master bath ceiling.

John mused on the problem for a while then took off to Home Depot. When he returned I heard a little pounding, a little sawing, and a lot of frustrated muttering.

After about half an hour he yelled, "Joyce, come and see what you think."

I walked in the master bath, looked up, and said, "Why did you install a new vent?"

"I didn't," he smirked. "It's just a vent screen that goes nowhere.

I was puzzled. "Don't you think someone will know?"

"You didn't," he smirked. "Neither will they." And he was right. They bought the house and never wondered why the master bath had two vents.

Five years later, almost to the day, John was in the attic of our new house in Florida, once again working to outsmart squirrels that had taken up residence there. And, once again, he accidentally ventilated the ceiling below with his foot, this time in the living room. And who do you think was sitting on the sofa directly below? What is it they say about "déjà vous all over again"?

Last summer John decided to rig a system for shading our pool, thus cutting the amount of chlorination and water treatment needed. He postulated that a tarp over a wood frame would make it dark enough underneath so algae couldn't grow.

I doubted it would work. I mean, what would keep the rain water from weighing down the tarp between the boards and pooling there? But I've learned over the years to keep my mouth shut and just let him hang himself. Oh, I mean let him handle it himself.

And he did. Two weeks and a hundred dollars later he pulled it all off in frustration. With a few choice words and a lot of banging in and out, he stashed it all in the garage as fodder for the next project.

Now he has decided to build a platform bed for our master bedroom. He is still in the sketch-and-think phase, but I have a feeling some of the two-by-fours from that would-be pool cover will figure significantly in his plan. Now, if we just had the money for one of those fancy new memory foam mattresses..

Too bad he can't jury-rig one of those out of a two-by-fours and a fake attic vent.