Jessie Raymond: New approach outdoes ‘honey-do’

When it comes to odd jobs around the house, my husband, Mark, and I just don’t have the same priorities.
We agree, for instance, that the upstairs bathroom sink drain is partly blocked. We do not, however, agree on how urgent a repair that is. I would like the sink to drain in less than 15 minutes, and I want him to fix it. He, on the other hand, feels that in light of the world’s real problems — bigotry, white-nose syndrome, low-slung jeans — we’d be selfish to complain about something so minor. And, he says, the situation might resolve itself over time, but we won’t know unless we wait it out.
I’ve never had much luck getting him to tackle little projects like this. Some women swear by the “honey-do” list, where you write down all the chores you want your husband to do, because he’s evidently too dumb to notice or too lazy to do them on his own.
I don’t like it.
The mere concept offends me, partly because of the faux-affectionate name (which could more aptly be called the “do these things, you oblivious jerk” list) and partly because I know I’d bristle at the idea of someone reminding me, for instance, that I should clean the oven. Maybe I don’t feel like it.
Still, I had several items I really wanted Mark to take care of. Our refrigerator, for instance.
A mouse had chewed through the ice cube maker/water dispenser line in December 2012. I deemed it a job for the man of the house, given that he is a contractor and that, unlike some of us, he is not afraid of spiders lurking under the sink.
But the man of my house didn’t mind getting his drinking water from the tap.
Now and then I’d say, “Hey, I know you just got home from work and also have to work this weekend, but maybe after dinner you could go out to your truck and get out some tools and, you know, get that water dispenser all shipshape.”
His face would light up with joy and he’d say, “Why wait? I’d rather get to work on this right now, before I’ve even had a chance to sit down once today! Let me put my boots back on and head out to the tool trailer. Life will be so much easier when we can finally get water from the fridge door instead of from the sink a full three feet away.”
(He can be kind of sarcastic.)
Last weekend, with the broken water line’s two-year anniversary looming, I decided to take action. I refused to resort to a condescending honey-do list, and nagging was proving surprisingly ineffective. That left me with one radical option: I could do it myself.
I didn’t have brute strength or fridge-fixing experience on my side but I had something better: the knowledge base known as YouTube. Through videos, I had learned everything from how to replace a broken iPod screen to how to put false eyelashes on a housecat (though I learned the hard way that Mittens prefers to go natural). The “fix water line to fridge” video was 11 seconds long. Simple.
So when Mark headed off to work Saturday morning, I went out and bought a $15 water line kit. I pulled the fridge away from the wall and set about removing and replacing the damaged tubing, spiders be damned.
I was doing great until it came time to connect the ends. The hardware under the sink and on the fridge didn’t look like the parts in the video. Nothing fit together.
I was sitting on the floor, stumped, when Mark came home for lunch. Silently, he assessed the situation. Whipping out an adjustable wrench, he deftly attached one end of the tube to the back of the fridge, and the other to the water line under the sink. He pushed the fridge back, made a sandwich and returned to work, his suit of shining armor clinking faintly as he walked out the door. In 45 seconds and without protest, he’d done something I’d been after him to do for nearly two years. It was amazing.
Inspired by the results, I’ve decided that while Mark’s at work this Saturday, I’m going to fix that slow drain in the upstairs bathroom sink.
First I’ll watch a YouTube video. Then I’ll gather the tools. I just have to keep a close eye on the clock so I can start taking apart the trap exactly five minutes before he comes home for lunch.

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