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Home Improvement


Adam D. Olson

I watched a house improvement show last night. The man and woman were reconstructing a fine Victorian home. The astonishing thing was they were having a good time. My brother never seems to have a good time when we work on his home.

Last August, Murphy and I helped him with his roof. Evidently, someone had put holes in it. I don’t know who that could have been. We played roof hockey all summer and we didn’t see anyone. Oh, here is a hint. Track cleats will give some traction, but you want the ones that lumberjacks use if you want to achieve the maximum foothold.

The project started four days ago, and we barely started. Murphy thought we should wait for the perfect day, which happened to be when the neighbor mowed her lawn. And as chance would have it, it was during our lunch break. So we put down our tools, pulled out our lunches and began to admire how beautiful the day turned out.

I love my brother, but he must never watch those repair shows and didn’t know he was supposed to have a good time. Fact is he can be a grouch. He walks over to us and starts yelling about it being only ten in the morning. “That late?” I ask, “Where has the time gone?”

He replies, which he is quick to do when he has a point to make, “Gone? You just got here!” And his point was? He throws up his arms, which was another tendency of his, and storms away. The problem with storming away is that you don’t usually see the tools that someone laid aside. My hammer happened to be that tool.

Jim, that’s my brother, slips on it. The hammer skitters over the edge and falls  below. Jim is unbalanced, and is swinging his arms wildly about. I, thanks to my catlike reflexes, grab one of the swinging arms as he is about to go over the edge. Alan has only one foot still on the roof. He sighs in relief when he sees that I have him.

Murphy comes to my aid. “Be careful that he doesn’t pull you over.”

I hadn’t thought about that, so I let go. A person could get hurt falling from a two story building. If you don’t believe me, then ask my brother.

I looked over the edge. To my amazement, Alan’s coat was caught on the gutter. Alan always bought high quality clothes. He probably would have hung there, forever, if the gutter didn’t break from the house. Here is a hint. If you are putting up your brother’s gutter, use more than six screws. The sight was too grueling for details so I won’t say anything, except that he probably won’t compliment me on moving the bricks out of the drive. I guess he didn’t plan on landing there.

Murphy looked at me and asked, “Does this mean that we are calling it a day?” I shrugged my shoulders. “Probably, that was my only hammer.” He threw his hammer over the edge. “Mine too.” (I know that everyone expected the hammer to hit my brother, but don’t you think he has been through enough?)

As I was saying, Alan never seems to enjoy working around the house. I don’t know why. It doesn’t seem that hard to me.

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