My dearly beloved spouse, Pat, is a builder, a contractor and an all around handyman sort of guy.

He can build everything out of anything and if you voice your amazement at his ability, he scoffs, shakes his head and says it’s so easy, he can’t believe it.

My mother was a real do-it-yourself-er and I grew attached to her hip. Together we laid carpet, painted, wallpapered and took on many a tedious task like it was our job.

We got ourselves into deep water every so often when Dad would return home from a business trip and find that the living room looked nothing like the space he had left. Sometimes the change was so extreme that he would back out the front door and double check the address.

I was always Mom’s partner in crime: I learned how to swing a hammer, load a drill bit and drive a screw home with the best of them.

I don’t think my hammer-swinging ways have overly impressed my Pat — especially since the good Lord blessed us with four sons who had inherited Pat’s knack for bringing home the proverbial bacon and frying it up in a pan.

But these days, those four sons of ours have all flown the coop and have moved on to their big-boy jobs and live at homes far away from their loving mother and left their father with just me as his loving assistant.

I’m probably not the best of help, as I often don’t know what a lot of tools are and if you couple that with a bad memory, why, we’re in a real mess.

Take for instance, the Allen wrench incident that occurred a few months ago. Apparently, it had become quite difficult to lay one’s hands on a set at the job site. Therefore, Pat had purchased a new set and was quite happy with it.

Pat’s story was that he had used said set of wrenches, and then asked me, his handy sidekick, to put them away. That was his story and he was sticking to it.

The only thing I remember about the stinking wrenches was Pat showing them to me, and being happy that they had ever existed in the first place.

When he asked for them an hour later, his version of the incident was that I, Lori A. Clinch, was walking around like Lucy in the sky with diamonds with her head in the clouds and was completely oblivious to where I had placed the wrenches.

My version of the story, which I firmly believe is the right one, was that Pat never gave them to me in the first place.

When they turned up in the trash can an hour later, we were both pointing fingers, but I firmly contend that we know who was right.

Months passed and Pat never really let it go. Always bringing it up at times like, “Where’s the peanut butter?”

To which I would reply, “I don’t know, look and see if it’s next to the jar of jelly.”

“Oh yeah!” Pat would say with a tad bit of sarcasm. “Just like the Allen wrenches.”

Then Pat’s utility knife disappeared. You show me someone who thinks that’s not a big deal, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t use his utility knife like it’s an extension of his arm.

“What did you do with it?” Pat asked over our ritual Sunday night dinner that consists of cheeseburgers.

“It was the perfect piece to complete my steampunk lamp,” I replied.

“Are you kidding?”

“No. I actually stole out of your back pocket and have been using it to level off a vintage sofa in the antique shop.”

“Are you messing with me?”

“Maybe. Just in case, you might want to check the trashcan because I have a thing for throwing important stuff away.”

He gave me a hard time about it for two weeks. The whole incident continued to annoy him when he had to use his pocketknife to sharpen his carpenter’s pencil. He was bothered when he had to open a box the same way. And he was all-out appalled when he had to cut off his fingernail with an actual pair of trimmers.

When I saw his utility knife laying in the grass right where he had left it last Wednesday, I was thrilled.

To the tune of, “Ah ha!” I presented it to him over dinner that night.

“I suppose you forgot that you left it laying in the yard,” he replied with a coy smile.

“Yes,” I replied, “I Just couldn’t believe it. I could have sworn I left it in the trash can with the Allen wrenches.”

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