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Sue Clark

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May 3, 2013
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Cooler skills than mine will be needed for summer maintenance

As surely as summer follows spring (except we didn’t have spring), it follows that when my husband is working out of town, stuff stops working in the house.

I am mechanically challenged, but my goal is to jury-rig stuff rather than paying to have it fixed. When I first moved to Nevada County from an urban area, I even went to B&C and bought an axe. No reason, except I figured in the mountains you need one. It was exciting to have the cashier not bat an eye as he sold it to me (although he may have been wondering if giving a senior discount to a woman for an axe was the best option).

No matter. When I met my husband-to-be the following month, he said, appalled, “Susie, step away from the axe,” and took it to his place. He also nixed my desire for a wood chipper and a gas lawn mower. I have since qualified for a gas mower, as I ran the electric one over the cord twice. No incompetence goes unrewarded.

So the thing I did wrong this week was tempt the gods: I said a thank you prayer to them that everything was working while Robert was away. They love this type of prayer.

First the dishwasher arm kind of started wobbling and melted onto the heating element. It’s beyond help, so it must be replaced. I’m in acceptance about this but am considering continuing to wash the dishes old-school style.

Then the automatic sprinklers, which I should not need yet, seemed to have broken off during the blizzard we had when it used to be cold. I ran around the yard and put hoses and manual sprinklers up and bought a kitchen timer so I wouldn’t leave them on for three weeks. I felt that not having automatic sprinklers was a First-World problem, as my daughter is so fond of pointing out.

I should have known when that same timer promptly broke the next day that I was on a dark path. I couldn’t open the hot tub, as the water had migrated up into the lining. I ripped a hole in that lining.

The toilet stopped flushing (TMI?), but I hauled out a plunger and frightened it into flushing by merely walking into the bathroom brandishing it.

The most ominous breakdown, however, was the swamp cooler. I love it. It keeps my skin moist and cools down the house surprisingly well. At least, it does when the little water line isn’t broken from that blizzard we had when it used to be cold.

So I tried all my tricks. First I duct-taped it, and that didn’t end well. Next, I cut the broken part off, but then I couldn’t fit the line back into the little nut thingie that goes into the screw dealie that goes into the cooler. I did almost get sucked into the cooler, as the pump latched onto my hair and jerked my head to one side. I lost some hair but soldiered on. I put the line into the cooler and put a rock on it to hold it.

The cooler wasn’t cooling the house. I was hot and angry.

Reluctantly I threw in the towel and called Handyman D. (I won’t use his name, as he is too popular as it is, and you can’t have him.)

Handyman D., who is adept at not laughing when I try to speak his language, was able to fix the line, as well as realign that little floater thing, which inexplicably was upside down. He almost laughed at this; I could see him biting his lip.

So peace is restored at the Walker/Clark household. For now. But wait — is that water I see coming from under the fridge?

Sue Clark lives in Grass Valley.

When I first moved to Nevada County from an urban area, I even went to B&C and bought an axe. No reason, except I figured in the mountains you need one.

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The Union Updated May 4, 2013 07:59AM Published May 3, 2013 11:26PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.