I consider myself a very handy person. I can take on just about any project and enjoy the process of learning by doing. I particularly love the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering a new skill.
Recently, for example, all three toilets in my house got together and decided to practice harmonizing The Ode to Leaky Toilet. It’s something that happens at least once a year. And every year I pay a plumber a gazillion dollars to silence the symphony.
This year, I decided to tackle the project myself. I Googled ‘leaky toilet,’ watched two very detailed video clips and was confident I could proceed. A trip to Home Depot and about an hour later, my toilets’ singing career was over.
You can ask me to do just about anything and I will give it a shot. It’s a skill I picked up from my mom. Nothing intimidates me. I can balance the pool chemicals, build a cabinet and set up a secure internet network while I barbecue steaks to medium rare perfection on the grill.
But there’s one thing that you can ask me to do that will send me running under the bed like a scared dog on the Fourth of July.
Can you iron this for me? To me, that request is identical to the sound of fingernails scratching on a blackboard.
I know it sounds silly, but I don’t do ironing.
I can starch, press and hang a blouse on a hanger until the ironing board begs for mercy. But somehow during the long trip from the laundry room to my closet, the blouse shrivels up like a raisin ready for a rendezvous with bran.
Don’t even get me started on linen — that wrinkle-loving material that looks great until you decide to put it on something other than a store mannequin.
I don’t hate ironing. Ironing hates me. Even the smiling ironing instructor on the internet video showing me how to iron a blouse stares at me with a patronizing look that says, “Look, who are you kidding? You’re never going to get this right.”
Years ago a friend who was visiting me from out of town asked me where I kept my iron and ironing board so she could iron a pair of pants. Being a good hostess, I decided to iron them for her. I finished the job, laid the freshly-pressed pants on the bed, ready to accept her thanks and praise.
Instead, she took one look at the pants, said it was sweet of me to get them out of the suitcase and without missing a beat, went downstairs to iron them!
It’s not that I don’t try. It’s just that the more I try, the worse it gets. And that’s when I seek the services of a professional.
There’s a fine line between being handy and being hard-headed.
Paying for dry cleaning services for wrinkle-free clothes isn’t accepting defeat, it is accepting reality. I don’t iron and that’s OK.
If something is going to take too long or cost too much money to do, then I don’t mind paying a professional to do it.
That leaves me time for more fun things — like walking past one of my bathrooms and listening to the sound of … silence.