Is that a spanner in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Posted November 16, 2012

Is that a spanner in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

The dark patch on the ceiling spread fast. Suddenly a downlighter popped out of its mounting, forced loose by the deluge of water that landed on my head. What had started off as a minor leak in the bathroom directly above the kitchen had now developed into an Amber flood warning.

My husband was taking a shower. I yelled at him to TURN IT OFF!!  

“Turn the water off at the stop cock,” came his panicked reply. 

Great advice but where the hell is it? My husband bounded down the stairs and ran into the kitchen. He swiped aside the food waste bin, along with various cleaning products as he dived into the cupboard under the sink. I deduced that the stop cock must be in there.

We finally located a local plumber (talk about hens teeth) who informed us that the shower was fine. The problem was the toilet. Would it be alright to remove the boxed in casing so that he could inspect the pipework? My husband said, of course, he was to go ahead and do whatever was needed to sort the problem. I nodded in agreement but inwardly I wept. 

When it comes to DIY repair jobs in our house I’m all for ‘mend’ (i.e. fix it properly); my husband is more ‘make do’. The dodgy pipe was replaced immediately. The mess created trying to reach it, on the other hand, remains untouched. My husband’s excuse for not bothering to box in the toilet again was that we might need emergency access in the future. 

“It was a stupid design in the first place,” he said. “Anyway, it’s not too bad, if you don’t look at it sideways on.”

I was still trying to work out if he was serious as he wandered off muttering “less is more”. I am familiar with the concept of minimalist design but I’m sure Mies van der Rohe didn’t have toilet plumbing in mind when he coined the phrase. Three weeks later, I’m still looking at two gaping holes either side of the toilet bowl.

I’ve made a reasonable effort at repainting the kitchen ceiling but I’ll be damned if I’m going to attempt to patch up the toilet. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a man’s job. And I’m not alone in thinking that. In a study published earlier this year, 74% of women said the sexiest trait they sought in a man was an aptitude for DIY. I would qualify that further by suggesting it’s only sexy if it’s undertaken willingly. I know my husband can actually tackle most DIY jobs; it’s just that he detests doing them. There is no greater passion killer than listening to a barrage of expletives as your man begrudgingly sets about putting something right with a spanner, wrench or hammer. 

No matter how much you try to convince him that he’s never looked sexier!

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