A BALLOON IN CACTUS
By Maggie Van Ostrand
Years ago when all I could afford were old jalopies, the family joke was I needed to marry an auto mechanic. Nowadays my ideal mate would come with a degree in engineering, carpentry and plumbing as something always seems to be going wrong around the house. Allong with these requirements, handsome would also be nice.
It’s called general maintenance and I’m sure my abode is no different than anyone else’s except, I have two left thumbs when it comes to such things. I have had a squeaky front door for weeks even though I have repeatedly oiled it with vaseline and hand cream. That should have taken care of the problem, don’t you think? The other day I tried to hang a picture and ended up with a five inch hole in the wall and the darned thing still looks crooked to me. The oven door is stuck and don’t even get me started on the bathroom sink that is stopped up most of the time.
Just when I had given up all hope, my problem seemed to be solved. A new neighbor moved in next door. He seemed pleasant enough, could tell his right from his left and I even saw him working on his motorcycle the other day. I should have known this wasn’t going to work out. When I offered him a soda if he would tack down a piece of carpet the cat had pulled up, he asked if I had anything stronger. An hour later the vodka bottle was finished but the repairs never were.
I then decided to head down to my local hardware store. Surely there would be someone there who could give me some pointers on home repairs. Alas, the lad that was assigned to assist me looked to be about nineteen years old and treated me like his dear, old Grannie. “This is a hammer. Can you say hammer?” Back to square one.
A tried and true method my Mother taught me years ago works some of the time. When her washing machine would conk out she would walk away from it for about an hour. Lo and behold when she returned it had repaired itself. I have been trying this with my vacuum cleaner but three weeks later it still makes a grinding noise.
Most days I find the humor in my plight but on others I am tempted to stand on the corner with a sign that reads, “Wanted, Jack-of-all-trades” but with my luck my neighbor would apply. I have stopped asking all the men I meet if they are good with their hands as I seem to be giving the wrong impression.
Today is a new day, the sun is shining and I am filled with hope. Son #l is stopping by and I have my “honey-do” list at the ready. But first, I am told, we must meet up with a friend for lunch and then it’s on to WalMart for kitty litter and before I know it, the day is gone. We laugh, we visit and not a darned thing is done around the house. Oh well, there’s always next week.
And so my life goes, the peanut butter lid refuses to budge, a bulb is out in the living room and the ceiling is twelve feet high and the front door still taunts me. “Wanted - must have a very long ladder and a can of WD40 would be helpful. Semi-handsome would be nice.”