It is said that most accidents happen at home. They can also happen when you take your limited repair skills to another arena. When it comes to home repairs I was never in Bob Vila’s category, but I could manage basic fix-it jobs. Some of my skills have eroded with age and lack of practice since living in an apartment means that getting something fixed is a phone call away.
Still, when I downsized from a house to an apartment I kept my basic hodgepodge toolset in case a picture needed hanging or a screw came loose (other than the ones in my brain). I also get the opportunity to play handyman when a minor problem occurs at the home of a dear friend of mine. She phoned asking for my help.
“I think a deer knocked over my birdbath. Now it’s in several pieces. Will you help me put it together with some Gorilla Glue?”
I rushed over with my tool box, along with my Tim-the-Tool-Man safety goggles.
The birdbath was not only knocked over, but several pieces of the bowl and one from the pedestal were scattered on the ground. There was more damage than Bambi could have done. It looked like Big Foot was afoot in her yard.
“Have there been any Yeti sightings around here?” I asked.
The birdbath was in a raised garden bed about 2 feet high. I leapt up onto the bed like an Olympic hurdler. What happened next took less than two seconds. Imagine it in slow motion: I am in the air when I crack my skull against a wrought iron “Welcome” sign, the kind that spins like a weather vane. Both the sign and my head begin spinning. I lose my balance and fall from the raised bed. I catch the pole to which the sign is attached, slowing my fall, but my momentum carries me into a fence made with vertical planks butted together. My body dislodges one of the fence planks, leaving my northern hemisphere in the adjoining yard and my southern hemisphere in my friend’s yard. We are able to get me back upright with nothing more than a scraped arm, a torn T-shirt and a bruised ego. Added irony: I am the handyman who installed the “welcome” sign.
The scraped arm and torn T-shirt actually made me look kind of macho. All I needed was a heavy tool belt and a visible butt crack. Once my head cleared I was able to set to work repairing the birdbath. I do not own clamps, so when I glued the broken piece to the pedestal I tilted it on its side, so the weight of the pedestal would apply pressure to the conjoined pieces. I further improvised by using twine and a large blue rubber band to secure the pieces of the glued birdbath bowl. I was quite pleased with my work and waited the requisite two hours for the glue to dry. When I lifted the pedestal to an upright position, my back made a sound like Big Foot had stepped on it.
Presently, my back is better. The birdbath bowl is still there lying on its side wrapped with twine and a rubber band and discolored from streams of excess glue. The pedestal is wrapped in yellow crime scene tape marked “do not cross.” Hopefully, Big Foot can read.
Jerry Gervase is a columnist for The Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.