PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Taking joy in household repair fixes

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

It’s the little things, sings a favorite of mine, Robert Earl Keen.
The rest of that refrain is mildly bawdy, and certainly it doesn’t apply here. But, in this ole life, it really is the little things that can make your day a happy one.
Years ago, I came across a small, paperback book, “Okay, I’ll Do It Myself,” a handywoman’s primer that takes the mystique out of home repairs.
This little book truly empowered me to believe I could do those little things – change electrical outlets and wall switches, or re-wire a lamp cord or replace some of the toilet’s working parts.
Every time I do something like this, it feels great. It almost makes me want to shout, “I may be entering the Twilight Zone of age, but I’ve still got it!”
One continuing mystery has been my kitchen faucet.
At least a year ago, my original faucet went wonky, and I bought another one. I asked a handy Daily Journal person if he’d install it for me.
Weeks went by, and finally I said, “Darn it, I can do this myself.” First thing was to acquire an adjustable wrench.
Sorry you couldn’t see me stretched out under my sink, my lower body and legs hanging out into the kitchen floor, much to the curiosity of the Grandpup.
With my utility light shining brightly, I worked my way around and figured out what was what. Of course, I turned off the water connections.
When it was done, I told myself what a genius I was.
Then, about six months later, the faucets decided that they would work only backwards. I cannot explain this at all, but after hours of small adjustments, they operated as they should.
Fast-forward to a month ago, when the water from the central spout turned to a trickle for no apparent reason. The sprayer worked better than ever, but not the spout.
This past weekend, I determined to make this work or bust. I tinkered very briefly, enough to realize it wasn’t the faucets this time. I took enough apart to remove the spout and its inner parts, then cleaned them well and spoke rather sternly to the entire apparatus about cutting me some slack.
I put it back together and took it apart at least four times, with obviously limited results – at times with wet-spray results. Now, the kitchen faucet/spout is working as it should.
I am deliriously happy about it, yet I’m cautioned by history not to gloat too much. The Faucet Gods are likely to strike me down, again.
But to tackle a job that in years gone by I would have been forced to ask someone else’s help gives me some small satisfaction. In many instances, I really can do it myself.
It’s an echo of a story my dear mother told me long ago, that when I was a barely-talking toddler, she’d start to dress me or feed me, and I’d look at her very sternly to say, “By myself!”
Sixty years later, it’s nice to realize many of the little things are achievable with determination.
Now, about that car …
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596.