I’ve been busy preparing for a new semester at school and editing two novels. Vacuuming hasn’t been high on my list of priorities lately. So, it was no surprise when my husband, Carl, decided to do a little vacuuming. Perhaps it was because I’ve hardly touched the vacuum cleaner since Christmas or maybe he was irritated by the little dust bunnies that had taken to following him around and attaching to his slippers. You see, cleaning and laundry are designated as my household duties and Carl does the grocery shopping, cooking, trash removal and numerous other chores. Anyway, I heard him complaining from the other room. “This vacuum cleaner sucks!”
“Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?” I called, trying to be helpful.
“No, it sucks…as in it doesn’t work,” he clarified, followed by the all-to-familiar sounds of him taking apart any object that annoys his retired-engineer sensibilities.
Within minutes, he was walking toward me carrying something that resembled a medium-sized rodent. “When’s the last time you cleaned the filter?” His question sounded suspiciously like an accusation, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
“I empty the canister once a month,” I answered confidently. Because I do empty the canister once a month. In fact, I’m quite proud of the fact that I remember to empty the canister monthly.
“No, the filter,” he repeated. “When did you last empty it?”
“Well, since I didn’t know it had a filter, I’d have to say…um…never.”
“No wonder it doesn’t work.” Now I was sure of the accusation.
I decided to ignore his comment and mind my own business as I heard a variety of strange noises coming from the garage. Some wives refer to this behavior as puttering, but my husband doesn’t putter. He fixes…and he does it immediately. If something is broken, it can’t wait. Carl won’t be able to sleep until it’s fixed. In fact, he has been known to get up in the middle of the night to fix things, especially computer issues. If he needs a part, does he wait until he’s going out for another errand or appointment and consolidate his trips? No. He must go to Lowes or Ace Hardware that very minute. Failure to do so might result in him having a stroke.
Our children seldom call their father just to say, “Hi, Dad” or “How are you?” They might begin the conversation that way, but chances are the greeting will be followed by their asking his advice on how to fix something.
Carl’s reputation as a fixer reaches far and wide. Friends, neighbors, former neighbors, children, grandchildren and other relatives call on him for help with their problems whether electrical, plumbing, automobile, or computer. They know if he can’t fix it or tell them how to go about it, it can’t be fixed.
As for me, I can fix breakfast; I can fix my hair; and I can fix my eyes on a sunrise, but for everything else, I’m grateful to be married to a fixer…and yes, he fixed the vacuum cleaner.
Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.l.freeman.9. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com