I remember, one time, when I was wee bairn, I went over to spend the weekend with my Grandma and my Grandpa Taylor. My grandpa was a big gnarled guy with thick, callused hands and and tool shed in the yard.
He grabbed me that morning and said we were going to make something fun. Then he collected an old coffee can lid, my grandma’s broom, a wooden spool of thread, a couple of nails and a long shoe string and headed off to his tool shed.
It took him 15 minutes to turn that assortment of household goods into an actual deadly dangerous toy. His hands were a blur as he used a wood lathes, tin snips and hammer to make a razor sharp propeller. One pull of the string and it whizzed into the air in a whoosh of leaf shredding, bird rending glory.
My grandpa could make anything. He had both the tools and the daring to take on any project. His backyard workshop was full of old projects, broken vacuum cleaners, fans and radios.
I’m not that way. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a pretty handy guy for the times. I’ve built small pieces of furniture, replaced window sills, toilets and sinks and electrical sockets. Last summer, I ripped down my rotten backyard deck with a crowbar and a friend’s sawzall. Then, I replaced it with hand built set of stairs and an entry way that almost totally met city code.
But I draw the line at borked appliances. We had a washer go out this weekend and it sprayed water all over the damn basement. I took a break from mopping and picking up soaked boxes of books to contemplate the machine, and see if I could figure out what happened.
I know it’s in the timing mechanism, the thing that pushes the washer from the “Rinse” cycle into the “Spin” cycle. For a few seconds, a tiny voice inside urged me to grab a Phillips-head screwdriver and crack the thing open. I bet we could figure it out, he said.
But no. The guy from Kenmore will be out Wednesday to look at it, and I can sense my Grandpa’s spirit out there in the cosmos, sadly shaking his head.