This week, I replaced our shower head.
In principle, this should be a simple procedure, but it took me more effort than necessary.
After purchasing the shower head itself, I came home to realize that my one wrench was insufficiently large enough. Upon my second return from the hardware store, gripping my new wrench’s padded handle, I spent entirely too much time turning it in the wrong direction and broke off part of the old shower head. Not a big deal, technically, because the old head was destined for the garbage heap anyway; but this was after much frustratingly cumbersome twisting, as my wrench handle had continuously been bumping against the faucet at every single turn. I can’t recall how many times I’d had to loosen and retighten the wrench for another twist.
This shower head replacement operation was only the most recent in a series of fix-it adventures that went somewhat awry. Let’s not speak of the door handle that needed to be replaced and the hole in the door that unexpectedly needed to be widened so that the lock would fit. Let’s not speak of the lights above the bathroom mirror that required me to go back and forth to the hardware store until I finally figured out which bulbs, boxes, and wires I actually needed. Let’s not speak of the curtain rod that broke and my poor attempt at screwing a new one to the bathroom wall. Let’s not speak of the various other home improvement adventures that I’ve been avoiding because I hate doing them. Because I’m bad at repairing things. Because I hate doing things poorly.
I am so unlike my father.
He had a room full of tools, and he knew how to use all of them. When he hammered nails into the walls, they never got bent sideways the way mine do every single time.
Years and years ago, when I was a teenager, my father was repairing our deck in the backyard while my aunt and uncle happened to be visiting us from Israel. My uncle offered to help him, and together the two of them got the job done. I saw them working on the deck, but it did not occur to me to help them… I didn’t know how to do such things well, and it seemed to me that they had everything under control. I seem to recall going upstairs to read a book in the meantime. Later, to my surprise at the time, Papa expressed his deep disappointment in me for not offering to help to them.
Next week, Mama will be permanently moving out of the house that she has lived in since 2000. My parents lived longer in that house than any other home they’d ever had, and Papa amassed a trove of tools and machines over those years, on top of the ones he’d already had, which are now being left behind for the new owners who are probably more than happy to inherit them.
Living as I do, across the ocean, in a small, rented apartment, I couldn’t take Papa’s tools even if I wanted them… but what would I do with them, even if I could keep them?
I’m pretty much only good for handling a keyboard.