Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

November 21, 2012

Pity the poor husband without do-it-yourself skills

By Keith Kappes - Publisher

Nov. 21, 2012 — Why does a new wife assume that her husband has all of the manual skills of her daddy?

And why are new husbands so anxious to avoid disappointing their brides that they willingly go into harm’s way?

My first foray into the world of the handyman started innocently enough. My sweetie asked me to hang some framed photos.

Her father was a great carpenter who built their family home. Mine was a good carpenter.

Our apartment lease said we had to fill any holes in the walls so she reminded me to be careful when I located the wall “stud” for the nail.

I didn’t know they were 16 inches apart so I took the only nail I could find and began to search.


Unsure of the thickness of the wallboard, I hit the nail a bit harder than planned and missed the stud but left a hole with my nail she described as a railroad spike.

Not to be outdone, I tried again.

Blam! Blam! Blam!

By now the wall looked like it had been attacked with a machine gun. She finished hanging the pictures.

It was different when we replaced our family room paneling a few years later in our second home.

The new plywood paneling fit nicely where the old paneling was removed...until we came to the wall plugs and light switches.

I couldn’t find a measuring tape but I knew I could hold the paneling upright in front of the wall and make the holes with a jigsaw, by sight.

No one told me the paneling would wobble or that I should measure twice and cut once.

The holes I made looked more like broken windows. A kindly neighbor finished that job.

A couple of years later, she asked if I knew how to use spray foam. She was bug proofing our home.

Instinctively, I lied and said I did.

I really didn’t know anything about foam but I had seen a TV commercial so I bought two cans.

She wanted me to fill a hole where an old water pipe had gone through the basement wall. I confidently pointed the can and sprayed...and sprayed...and sprayed. Finally, I ran out of foam.

I was feeling pretty good about my do-it-yourself skills until one of my kids came rushing in to say he had found something scary.

Hanging there on the outside wall was a large, pulsating yellow blob, getting bigger by the second.

And I also forgot to wear those plastic gloves.