My dad is pretty damn handy around the house. Once, when he was building a set of deck stairs, I asked him how he acquired his various skills in carpentry and painting and general maintenance. He simply attributed it to being a homeowner for 40 years.
So I guess all the endless tinkering required to keep things running smoothly went largely unnoticed while I was growing up. But that all changed when my sister bought a house, and he set about amazing us with constant repairs and improvements.
However, when a mysterious leak sprung in her bathroom, he suggested she call a professional. The plumber cut away a chunk of her wall and found a problem, though not as complicated or expensive as she'd feared. It seems a tiny hole had been punched into a pipe . . . a direct result of my dad hanging a new mirror above the sink a few days before.
My sister called my mom to give her the update, which was equal parts relief at the easy fix and amazement at an uncharacteristically careless error.
Now, my mom has been happily married to this handyman for over four decades, but I can imagine her occasional frustration with his sometimes maddening attention to detail.
Her response: "Can I be the one to tell your father?"