I’m No Damsel in Distress

Not even. I probably should have gotten the words “self reliant” tattooed on my shoulder instead of a butterfly because I hate appearing helpless.

Still, men have often come to my rescue in a handyman sort of way. Take the other work morning, for example, when I rolled out of my garage and watched the doggone door whir and jerk half-shut. Trying to troubleshoot, I fiddled uselessly with the remote battery, kicked the hefty garden hose further away from the sensor, manually poked the close button inside the garage, and thought briefly about what MacGyver might do before I rang my neighbor’s doorbell.

He met me with a smile saying, “I heard. Let me take a look.”

In my garage, he glanced up, and with glee that startled me, quickly proclaimed. “It’s off the track.”

He jumped up and pulled the door down with his bare hands. Not kidding. Then, he bounced back up and grabbed the dangling thing that hung from the rail and zippered it back and forth the length of the track until it clicked into place, and poof, the door breezed up and down again by remote control.

Better still, he didn’t make me feel incompetent or incomplete and, from the proud arc of his chest, seemed energized by the early-morning garage-door slaying.

Although I have two home maintenance guides (written by women), the Internet, and a full set of basic tools, nothing in me wants to ever have to actually repair anything.

It is also this. I excel at simple diagnostics—pinpointing problems I can’t fix—a contributing skill set that may save time for the actual fixer.

During my annual builder-warranty home inspection, I generously relayed the following information to the inspector.

“A soft ticking noise is coming from the vicinity of the main overhead light fixture in the guest bathroom, but only after heavy winds or rain.

He crawled around in the attic for an hour, tightening this, sealing that, and the noise disappeared.

I still slay a lot on my own. Paint, assemble, hammer and hang, unclog drains, replace bulbs and batteries, but I step aside and let men fix garage doors, resolve weird noises in light fixtures, and put the last touches on a butt-kicking DIY assembly project. No histrionics or whining—just asking, and feeling better and better about it.

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