My mind has a peculiar way of organizing, connecting, and storing information. While this is often a strength, it is definitely a weakness when it comes to home improvement projects. To compensate for this impairment, I’ve developed a kind of “Safe Mode” of operation that I call Monkey Brain. Okay, so it’s not always safe, but it’s gotten me out of many a jam.
I have no idea what Monkey Brain looks like on the outside – for all I know, I appear to be in a hybrid sort of hypnotized/possessed/mute-yet-delusional state. What it feels like on the inside is that I’m moving and/or looking through space (the basement, a closet, the shed, GForce’s room, which always yields surprises, no matter how “clean” it is, etc.), muttering options and criteria to myself (or aloud), and constantly scanning my surroundings for some thing or combination of things that can serve as a makeshift tool to do the job of the actual tool that I either don’t have or can’t find.
One time in Monkey Brain mode I fixed my recalcitrant car with duct tape and dental floss. Really. I even have a witness, and I bet she’d be willing to testify if necessary.
A couple of weeks ago, I set out to further (as opposed to complete) a project that I started with my father-in-law over Thanksgiving, and then worked on some more with my dad in December. The original reasonably-sized project of repainting the stairwell to our basement immediately mushroomed into something major, as has every project involving the 90-year-old horsehair plaster in our house.
In November, FIL and I (well, mostly FIL) ripped out a bunch of the crumbling plaster in the stairwell and replaced it with drywall. A month later, Dad and I (well, mostly Dad) taped and mudded the joints between the drywall, and fixed some weird trim issues that resulted from the plaster coming down.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to affix the corner molding to the outside corner of the wall, which takes a beating when we carry laundry baskets, boxes, and just about anything up or down the steps to the basement. My wise advisors (FIL and Dad) had said that because of the funkiness (my word) of the lathing behind the corner, it would be best to glue the molding to the wall, instead of nailing it. So I got my tube of Liquid Nails, slapped it into the caulking gun thingy, and squirted the glue over the inside of the molding.
Once I spread the glue evenly down the length of the wood, I pressed the molding in place along the corner edge of the wall. Only THEN did I realize that I needed something to hold the molding in place while the glue dried, and not just because I was in danger of gluing myself to the wall.
I quickly ducked into the basement and shifted into a desperate state of Monkey Brain. I convinced myself that I could hear the glue drying in an unsatisfactory way. Time was of the essence! I lurched through the basement like the walking dead, eyes flicking back and forth like those classic Kit Cat Clocks. Anything and everything was a candidate for propping up the molding. Here is my approximation of how Monkey Brain sounded inside my head:
Look left. Hockey stick? Tennis rackets? Too weirdly shaped and too short. Look right. Ironing board? Too bulky. Has to be padded on both ends. Or paddable. Needs to fit between the outside corner and the opposite inside corner. Look up above shelves. Pipe or boards with towels wrapped around both ends? Pain in the ass and it’ll take too long to get in place. Look above boiler. Hey, we still have a witch’s broom from Lulu’s old favorite Halloween costume! How many years was she a witch, anyway? Man, that was some cuteness. Whoa, that’s a LOT of crutches. Why do we have so many crutches? Heyyyyy, wait a second! CRUTCHES! Adjustable! Padded on BOTH ends! PERFECT!!!
And so, Internets, consider this my humble-yet-chest-thumping contribution to the plethora of Do It Yourself literature on the Web. And you handymen/handywomen out there who make your living off the spouses of people like me, listen up. I’m here to tell you that if you don’t have any crutches in your travelling toolkit, you will most certainly find yourself on a job one of these days where you’ll be wishing you did. Take it from Monkey Brain.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a great idea for simulating one of those rolling library ladders. So far, it involves a wheeled desk chair and a piano bench. I’m sure if I walk through the basement long enough, I’ll figure out how to incorporate Lulu’s old witch’s broom, the ironing board, and a few of those pants hangers that are missing their cardboard.