Sunday Morning Coffee Musings, June 17th: Repairs

We went on vacation, and then we recovered from vacation, and then we started to work on the RV.

Eric has a philosophy about working on the RV. “Everything works perfectly, except for this”, and “this” is whatever project he is currently working on. He told me this is his way of doing the salami method – he’s cutting it into bits he feels he can manage. Otherwise, he gets overwhelmed and frozen into inaction, and nothing gets done at all.

I, on the other hand, make a list of ALL the things that need to be done, and on a given day, choose one to work on that is within my capabilities. Such as, scrape the old putty out of the trim piece that connects the roof with the over cab bunk. Or, make a replacement privacy curtain and install it. Or replace all the interior light bulbs with LED bulbs so we draw less power.

We have different methods of working, and as long as the work gets done, who cares which one is right? It’s more important that it’s right for each of us.

Today being Father’s Day, I reflect on things I remember my father doing when I was a kid, and think about how similar the man I married is to the man who raised me.

Eric’s nickname is Tinker, and my Dad’s nickname could easily have been Putter. When my parents bought their house, that’s what my dad did for the first few years. He built a second bathroom into a house that only had one. He removed a damaged porch and tried to pour a new concrete pad for a new porch – that didn’t work so well.  He removed the lovely arcing front and rear halls and exposed all sorts of dead space that he made into closets for rooms that didn’t have closets.

The things he did were not elegant, but they did, for the most part, function.

In the back of my head, when I think of what a man is, in my life, it’s someone who is handy with tools and has an idea of how to fix things. My dad ran wiring, gas, did plumbing, a little carpentry, a little car mechanics, a little small motor repair. He could paint and hang wallpaper, put up paneling, install carpet and linoleum.  My uncles and my Grandfather were all, with only one exception, men who worked with their hands and knew how to fix things or weren’t afraid to tinker with things to figure out how they worked. (The one exception was an artist, who could draw and paint beautifully.)

My dad’s philosophy on repairs was to try to figure it out himself. For the most part, that worked well. Sometimes (such as in the case of the concrete pad, which Dad poured too thin and it cracked badly) things do not work out well. Usually because of a math error or just ignorance of certain aspects of the jobs (such as the need to completely level the area you are pouring the concrete in) that seem minor but are quite important to success.

And sometimes they work better than expected.

I envy Eric’s ability to just focus on one job and get it to completion before moving on to the next one. His mind works differently than mine and he can sum up in 25 words or less what can take me 5 minutes to explain.

It’s not that I’m any less capable. It’s just that I’m wired differently.