Fix-it Vik


By Vicki Todd

Did I mention that my husband can't fix or assemble anything? I mean anything. This causes great pain for me, when even a seemingly simple task becomes a major ordeal. Everytime.

When the hot water didn't work in the kitchen sink in our new house, I put the two sides of my brain together and came up with the ingenious idea that the hot water wasn't turned on and voila--it's fixed. My husband had already called a plumber.

My handywoman skills have no boundaries. I'm unstoppable (get it--unstoppable) at unstopping toilets. This comes in handy living with a six-year-old girl who feels the need to use three yards of toilet tissue every time she goes to the bathroom--even if she is not using the toilet (don't ask me what she does with it--I really don't know). She causes the senseless sacrifice of an extra two to three trees a year and Greenpeace is picketing outside my front door right now--but the girl is clean!

I can assemble a Beyblade almost as fast as an eight-year-old (now that's fast!), and I don't even need to read the directions any more. Well, actually there are no written instructions, only pictures and they're useless: the only one who knows the code is the person who drew them.

Unclogging the kitchen sink after stuffing down the peels of 50 potatoes proved a little more difficult, but I rose the occasion. Are you asking yourself if I have a potato fetish? No, I was making them for a party. Remember this--it might come in handy if you give in to a potato craving and are reckless enough to try to grind ten pounds of peelings down the disposal: First, get the plunger; second, stand on a stool above the sink (for leverage); then swear a couple of times as you work the plunger. If that doesn't work, cuss a couple of extra times and that should do the trick. This is my sister's strategy. She learned it when she accidentally stole somebody's grocery bag at the store and came home with brisket and fish heads. She did what any gentile Jewish girl would do: make fish stew! And then she tried to stuff the used-up fish heads down the disposal. God took revenge by clogging it up during a holiday weekend. The stench eventually became unbearable and out of desperation, she learned the plunger trick.

My new pet project is getting my DSL line working which is with AOL. Just getting the DSL running took about 100 man hours; keeping it up takes about 10 hours a week. First, I make the required weekly call to AOL. After about 15 prompts, I finally get a technician. No matter how many times I call, they make me go through the same steps to try and fix the problem. Apparently, they read from a customer service/troubleshooting script and are not allowed to waiver from it. After my thirteenth phone call and run through the script, I started to lose patience and asked to speak to a supervisor. The technician started laughing and told me he was in New Delhi (yeah, that's India, not Indiana) and there was no one but technicians with whom to speak.

"No worries, I'm sure that I can solve your problem"

I informed him, as nicely as possible, that the only way to solve my DSL problem was to get his butt on a plane, fly all night, and come fix my phone line. He saw no amusement in that and cut me off--back to square one. Finally, after a month of this, AOL agreed to send someone to the house. When he arrived, I knew I was in trouble--I was expecting BellSouth, but there was no BellSouth sign on his vehicle.

"So are you with the phone company?"

"No. What phone company?"

The next sign of trouble came when he was standing outside in a terrible rainstorm, with lightning flashing and thunder booming, trying to rewire my house. Hmm...trouble? You bet. No phone service for the next four days. Trying to call AOL back to complain proved challenging: aside from the fact that I had no phone; remember: there is no one there to complain to! No wonder their stock is in the toilet!

My DSL still doesn't work if it rains, and my alarm system is still out from the "what phone company?" technician pulling the wrong wires, but I've given up. Who needs an alarm? (We do, but not as much as I need my DSL.) My mom says it's not safe to be on the computer during a rainstorm, so that problem solved as well. (My mother is a bit psycho over storms in general; as I child I lived in the basement during the summer storm season in Minnesota--that's probably where I learned all my fix-it skills.)

© 2003 Vicki Todd and The Rebel Housewife, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

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