Living Retired #209- August 28, 2017
ROBERTSON SCREWDRIVER IS THE ‘SQUARE-SHAPED THINGY’…RIGHT?
Back to school.
Those three words launch parents into a tizzy. It’s their signal to lose their sanity and go nuts spending money they don’t have on their children. Here’s what I mean…
Sarah Sizeplus lives in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. Her son is a high school senior.
“I’m hopeful if I spend enough money on the idiot, he’ll study hard and get a job at a company with a defined benefit pension. Maybe he’ll become a lawyer and win a class action suit against a fast food joint for serving scalding coffee–wouldn’t that be nice? He could fly me to a Caribbean villa every winter.”
Sarah’s son doesn’t want to return for his senior year at high school.
“Honey let’s go shopping for some new clothes and shoes, pens and pencils, books and binders, and a backpack.”
“Mom I don’t want to go to school.”
“Okay I’ll buy you a new iPhone, an iPad, a Fitbit and some indelible markers so you can deface your locker.”
“Mom I also want a new car.”
“Okay dear how about a Hummer?
“Thanks mom. Can I pierce my ears and hang bolts from them?”
The first day back at school you’d think the teachers– coming off their measly 10-week summer vacation– could come up with something better than having the kids write an essay on ‘What I Did This Summer.’
I remember kids writing about squishing worms on driveways with ball-pean hammers– and these were girls learning life skills sewing doilies in sewing class!
If I were returning to school I would write about how I supervised the installation of a retractable awning over our deck this summer.
A retractable awning is a device that homeowners install so they can sit underneath drinking fistfuls of alcoholic drinks– so much that they don’t even notice the flames from the gas grill melting the aluminum siding.
Husbands and wives consider purchasing a retractable awning from different perspectives…
Men are attracted to a retractable awning because it comes with our favourite toy: a remote control. Of course remote controls give wives an opportunity to bellyache, “Dear would you just pick a channel and watch it? I don’t know why I put up with this!”
Wives enjoy retractable awnings because it gives them an opportunity to put their decorating savvy to work– choosing the sun-resistant, mildew-resistant fabric material in a colour that complements the aluminum siding, the brick mortar, and the potted Bougainvillea plant. For weeks, women– over wine– thumb through hundreds of fabric samples with names like Nantucket Barn Rouge, South Beach Aqua, and Santa Monica Beach Coral.
At this point I need to make a couple of suggestions…
First of all, if you are budgeting for a retractable awning include money for multiple bottles of wine for your wife’s fabric selection process. Secondly, when your wife says, “Dear, what do think of this colour?” plead the fifth amendment. I’m just saying…
Another suggestion: it’s worth the money to pay to have your retractable awning professionally installed…
I’m no Bob Vila– I boast about changing lightbulbs with a handsaw. My entire construction experience goes back to my childhood when I used a Meccano construction set to build ‘blob-like masses’ that resembled the aftermath of a Category 3 tornado. Of course this earned encouragement from my parents, which to this day is why I am construction challenged.
Nobody wants to be duped by an unscrupulous installer, so I’ve got a few tips picked up over the years…
First, when an installer arrives carrying enough Black & Decker tools to do a complete Habitat for Humanity home build, it is very important that you portray confidence, a sense that you know your way around a do-it-yourself project…
What I do is buckle one of those leather tool belts around my waist– not my Tonka 7-piece tool set with real plastic wrench and drill– but one that has professional cordless tools and heavy-duty rechargeable batteries. I always know I’ve impressed the installer by the way he takes one look at me and rolls his eyes, then smirks.
Next, as the installer is working away, always hang around and make intelligent construction-like questions such as, “So are you keeping busy this summer?”
My other mechanical questions include, “Do you want me to go to the basement to turn the power off?” And the other sure-fire way to demonstrate your home handyman smarts, “Can I get you a coffee?”
Here’s another tip…
Always be sure you have one of those screw drivers that has a bazillion bits inside the plastic handle. This way when the professional installer says, “You wouldn’t happen to have a Robertson screwdriver would you?” you’re covered! Otherwise you’ll blow your cover asking him, “A Robertson screwdriver has the square-shaped thingy on the end, right?”
One more thing…
I always impress professional installers by sliding a pencil over top my ear. And to really show off your construction smarts– you can use a knife to sharpen the pencil.
WARNING: If you slice your finger DO NOT use one of those pink Princess bandages! That’s a dead giveaway. Along with your wife arriving on the scene saying, “Dear I hope you are watching so you can learn something!”