Enlisting help for a few small repairs

Alan Elliott
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Latrine duty -- it wasn't popular for lads in the army and pretty much remains on the bottom end of domestic chores. Singer-songwriter James Gordon recorded a breakthrough musical number some years ago.
"Men don't clean toilets," goes the refrain, "if they say they do they lie."
Nice tune, but the problem for me is I disagree with the premise. I do clean toilets, and am a man. I also lie frequently, but not in this case. I'm the only one in our household who will scrub that most essential of furnishings.
I got around to realizing this was my personal job when divvying up the chores years ago. I noticed when Shunda took a crack at it, she would pour the blue cleanser in and walk away. When, an hour or two later, I went to use the facilities, the blue stuff would still be there, inviting me to turn it green.
I believe I went to the trouble of explaining that it doesn't work that way, despite what the commercials for the cleaning products say. You have to use a brush and some elbow grease.
This idea of pouring in the liquid and walking away, frankly, reminds me of tactics in the world of politics and bureaucracy. Make a crappy announcement at 4 p.m. on a Friday when the legislature and offices are closing, run for the hills and hope for the best.
So as toil-intensive as it is, I get down on my hands and knees, and even do my best to clean under the rim, trying to get it as close to that new-looking, white state as I can.
On the other hand, I don't do floors and I don't pick up after myself, so I'm not trying to sound like I deserve a medal or anything.
I've asked our girls, more or less rhetorically, who's going to carry out this task in their homes when they're on their own? Do they think, because Dad did it, that their significant other will be the same? Perhaps men really don't clean toilets, and I'm either living in a space-time warp or am a woman trapped in a man's body.
Wouldn't it be nice to think that our technical geniuses, instead of coming up with smaller I-pods, bigger TVs and cameras with more megapixels, could turn their attention to a self-cleaning toilet?
Anyway, you can only hope your humble sacrifice will inspire your kids, which brings me to today's topic.
School's out. I've been trying to think of things to keep the kids doing something in addition to just sleeping in till noon, then sitting on the computer, particularly when I have no end of outdoor jobs to last through summer and fall.
One of them is to repair the doors on our garden shed. They've gotten pretty dilapidated over the years. I've patched them here and there, but finally decided it's time to do it right -- before I'm forced to go out and buy a new shed.
Enter an idle Molly -- Tessa too, if I can interest her. Molly was pretty good at shop class when she took it a couple of years ago. I know, because I got the wooden model of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine -- with fully functional wheels -- one Father's Day to prove it.
Take a little of that know-how and handywoman ability and, you never know, maybe I can just sit back and give orders. I've never been in such a position before.
We went out the other day, me with the tape measure, Molly with a paper and crayon. I know, it's sounding like illicit child labour more and more, but she couldn't locate a pencil. I made some measurements and got Molly to scratch down a list of materials we'll need: lumber, hardware, the whole deal.
So once I pick up the goods, we'll lay out our plans, practise some basics then start building doors.
Not that I want to put her off indoor domestic chores forever, but I suspect she might find this a little more fun.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page