Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Handy Hands

The guy I married is just great; he is charming and funny, kind and smart. He’s a really good father to our girls and a wonderful husband, son and uncle. But you know why I married him?
He can DO things.

The Mister can, and has: Cut and styled hair,renovated our kitchen, built and fixed every computer in our house, as well as a couple of other houses around here, made furniture that we actually use, built a shed ,re-sided our garage, installed a shower in our basement, fixed the air-conditioning in our van (saving us about $800),repaired every small appliance at the salon and at home and my mother’s house, installed a patio and a fire pit in our backyard (not in the same location), grown vegetables, and he can make one hell of a homemade doughnut. He knows how to change the oil in the car, get rid of computer viruses and strip and clean a rifle. (For the record, he cannot get his dirty laundry in the laundry basket or watch a movie with the sound on a reasonable volume , just in case you thought he was perfect.)

I grew up in a house of academics, and although we were all creative enough and happy to get our hands dirty, we were not really a family of “do-it yourself”-ers.  Not too long after myself and the Mister were engaged, my brother and his then-wife were living in a married students’ residence at the university, as they were both grad students at the time. Their bar-b-q had been stolen, a really nice one, as it had been a wedding gift, and as money was tight, they were in no position to buy a new one. They were quite disappointed about it; they really liked having a bar-b-q. We were all at dinner at my parents as they told this story, and as it happened, my parents neighbours had set out an old bar-b-q of theirs for garbage pick up the next day.
 The Mister suggested that they ask the neighbours what was wrong with it and see if they could fix it. My family was gobsmacked. Fix it? You can FIX a bar-b-q? The Mister found out what the problem was, determined the solution (it needed a new burner) and proceeded to go out, get the part, and some bar-b-q paint (who even knew there was such a thing as bar-b-q paint????) and with a minimum of fuss and money, gussied up that bar-b-q so it would work again, and looked like new. We were slackjawed and speechless with wonder and admiration. My family looked at him and looked at me and all of a sudden were intensely invested in my marrying this man. They liked him just fine before this, but now they could see that there was going to be an enormous benefit in having him around, and they wanted to make sure I sealed the deal as quickly as possible.

The Mister’s latest do-it-yourself project is to make his own kilts. He takes  a length of plaid and pleats it and hand-sews it and does all sorts of other magic on it to make it hang properly and then he wears one to work every day. (As one of my friends said, “what a weird mid-life crisis.”) For the record, I LOVE a man in a kilt. Even before “ Outlander “ I was a big fan of kilts. I begged the Mister to wear one for our wedding, but he refused on the grounds that his “knees were too knobby” and that he didn’t want the focus to be on them and not the bride. (You see how thoughtful he is? And manipulative?) I guess he has either embraced the knobbiness of his knees or my 23 years of gentle suggestion  have worked.

And let me tell you, he makes beautiful kilts, perfectly pleated and meticulously sewn. I knew that all the pleating and sewing would be a pain in the arse, but I had no idea all the other stuff that goes into the structure of the kilt; horsehair canvas and steeking and oh-so-subtle shaping that goes into making it hang just right. They are a work of art. AND he looks very snazzy in them. He’s bought all the jackets and socks and nifty bits and bobs that go with the kilts, but for the most part, he just wears normal everyday shirts to go with them, and it really does just look like regular workday clothes, and not a costume on him.

He has about 20 kilts now, ranging from his namesake plaid in a very heavy wool to a nifty purple and grey number that I particularly like. A few people have asked if he’s made one for me, but I don’t really want one; I don’t think this particular backside would be enhanced by plaid. (“Can you make my bum look much, much bigger, please? Bigger, and wider. Really, like a garage door. ,said no woman ever.)

I’m pretty lucky to have snagged him in the first place, but the handy part? Such a bonus. I’m hoping his next obsession will be to fly planes or make shoes. You know, something I can use.


Carolyn said...

I admire your hubby's kilt-making talent but, even thirty five(plus) years later, I'm still not over five years of wearing that high school uniform.

Wendy said...

And your brilliance, my friend, is writing. Such gifts in our unsuspecting postal code. Nice work Loudshoes