We all know the scenario: something breaks down, Dad’s in the basement swearing and pounding on something metal with a wrench; Mom’s on the phone with the plumber / electrician / furnace guy. It’s a classic story. Fixing things with tools seems to be a statement of manliness and to tell the truth, that’s how we like it to. Women don’t want to take the power away – we just want to direct your energies to more important tasks. Tasks that we really hate doing: mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, shoveling snow. These are tasks that you are an expert at, and we get a certain sense of satisfaction seeing you do them. It makes us appreciate you even more.
But when we see you head into the bathroom with your “plumber’s pants” on because the toilet is making a god-awful noise, it strikes fear in our hearts. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule: some hubbies know what they’re doing. And most are handy enough to handle replacing light fixtures, unclogging the central vac and replacing the trim that came off the floor. But when it comes to certain fixes, we want, nay – we need you to call in the professionals.
I fully trust my husband to unclog the toilet, fix the leaky faucet (a maximum of three times before I get on the horn to the plumber) and put the chain back on the toilet plunger. Heck, I can do these things as well, but I know that these are things I can count on my man to take care of – things my kids can help with too. But leaking toilets, hopelessly clogged pipes and strange noises warrant a trip from the plumber. For instance (honey I love you but I have to break the silence…) this writer’s toilet has been, for lack of a better word, screaming when we flush it for a few months. Every few days my husband scratches his chin, makes a small adjustment, and the noise stops… for a day. And then we all have to sit through the melodic strains of Ode to Toilette once more; time to call a professional. The general rule of thumb for plumbing is: anything that can’t be fixed within 30 minutes warrants a plumber. Unless you ARE a plumber, 30 minutes plus worth of work is out of your league!
FIXING THE CAR
When it comes to the family vehicle, only extremely minor repairs are allowable. Changing the battery or the tires is something we can stomach you doing. Bumper repair, dent removal and pretty much anything under the hood lies in the realm of the mechanic’s job. We really don’t feel better when we notice you’re under the hood trying to replace brake cables or spark plugs – it makes us fear for our lives. And just for the record, black Sharpies do NOT hide scratches. (Sure, it may have been me who scratched the car, used the Sharpie, then blamed it on the kids but that’s not the point.) Even small damage repair needs to be done by professional – it’s the rule.
This category is the scariest for women. Perhaps because we are afraid of losing our husbands and the fathers of our children… Perhaps because we are afraid of our houses burning down due to an unforeseen inner-wall fire which we all know can happen because we watched it on that animal show where the lady’s cat acts weird all night and wakes her up by licking her face because there’s an unseen fire in the wall. Anyway, the point is, even if you are not super-paranoid, the dangers of messing around with electricity are real, especially for amateurs. Fellas, we know you can switch the light bulbs and change light-plates. Heck, I let my husband install our light fixtures. But when it comes to any major rewiring, it’s time to fork over the dough.
We know you think you’re experts in this subject (insert laugh-track here) but the rule when it comes to gas is this: Yes, I CAN smell gas and yes, I have called someone in the time it took you to argue with me that you can’t. It is not permitted for husbands to tackle anything in this category.
I have to admit, I don’t have much experience in this category as my uber-man is afraid of heights; I have never had any arguments happen due to loose shingles. There have, however, been enough stories floating around the school-yard and enough videos on youtube of Dads falling off the roof or getting stuck in the chimney. We are of two minds on this subject. While we believe that repainting the window sills is most definitely a job you can do and save some money at, we want to make sure you’re steady up there. Small repairs are allowable, such as replacing ONE shingle, repainting or clearing out a vent. But anything that goes beyond that, especially anything to do with the chimney or major leakage on the roof, needs to be paid for. Sorry guys – you’re too valuable alive to us – you’ll have to make the call.
So, when it comes to these hopefully infrequent because they are bloody-expensive fixes, pick up the phone and call someone who’s trained to do it. We honestly think it’s sexier to see you call Dan the Plumber than it is to see you in the hospital or staring at your house while it’s burning down.
Lilly Gordon is a freelance web publisher and writer. She is a Mom of two, stellar wife (most of the time) and enjoys writing and researching on a variety of topics including her wonderful husband, the joys of parent-hood and sincerely apologizes for thinking car painting can be done with a Sharpie.