Lately, I’ve been empowered to fix things.

I started with sanding and painting our window sashes, which were chipping on the outside. I moved to a big project with Bill – replacing cedar siding on our house and mending wood rot on the doors around the deck.

Bill went out of town for a couple of weekends, so I tackled the things he would find tedious, chalking and painting the master bath, then replacing a broken tile in our kitchen floor.

Did you know that grout, in a sealed bag, has a one year shelf life? It’s something I just learned (see featured photo). Even with the minor grouting setback, I feel pretty smug. Painted. Sanded. Fixed. I asked for a tool box for me birthday, as I’m amassing quite an arsenal.

There are still things I can’t fix on my own. They might require too many specialized tools. They might weigh too much.

This is what I think when I see people’s comments on recent deaths in the media.

It’s tempting to put your own brush strokes on what happened. You want to tint the situation with your own feelings, add your own advice or suggestions. You take a bead on the situation and think you can assess it.

You can’t.

My husband used to love to rant about the PBS show, “This Old House.” In it, they would tackle an incomprehensible project – say, new ducting in a home built in 1790. Or they would level its 200+ year old foundation. They would sashay in with their fancy repair technicians, driving fully loaded (and sponsored) trucks full of the latest equipment, and start saying things, like, “Simply….” or “Just…” or “It’s an easy….”

We got to the point where we would say, about some vastly complicated and nuanced problem, “It’s this old house.”

Social media, Google search, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, our own idiocy and self-importance allow us to think we have run a plumb line and know what’s true. That’s this old house, folks. Unless you are there, you don’t know. You don’t see the grout flake away, after a well-intentioned repair. You don’t see the people look for other answers. You don’t see them go after the problem, like wood rot, again and again.

What a TV show our world would be, if we could drive our crew in and fix the situation in a half hour or less. I heard the Property Brothers say, in a commercial, “Our viewers can do everything we do.”

With enough time? Or money? Or expertise? Or crews, behind the scenes, working round the clock? Or network television endorsements?

Even with it all, repairs will always need to be made. Because, things break.

 

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