Drill This

He's pounding nails into a hardwood floor/And I swear to God, I heard someone moaning.

-Tom Waits

When my bathtub drain clogged last week, and I found myself showering in a foot of standing water, I did what any sane homeowner would do.

I came to the office; called the plumber and scheduled an appointment; and left behind a suicide note for the staff.

I tried to express how much they all mean to me, and how much I would miss them - but that I was off to a better place. A place where the plumbing works all the time, where the roof doesn't leak, the porch doesn't sag, and there's an actual breaker-box as opposed to a 38-year-old archaic system of fuses.

Naturally, I felt compelled to leave behind some record explaining my sudden, tragic, and untimely demise, in case A) the plumber didn't show, or B) showed, and then presented me with a bill for $23,000.00 (which is the going rate for ALL home repairs these days - anything from replacing a doorknob to a roof - it's ALL gonna run you about 23 grand).

Some people might consider moving an appropriate alternative to suicide, when faced with a clogged drain, but I'm telling you right now, it's always gonna be something.

Sure, I could get a condo, or an apartment, but I'd have to find homes for my dogs first - and anyone who's met them will tell you THAT's not an option - so that'd just leave me starring in one of those macabre news stories ("crazy dog lady kills canines, then self").

Fortunately, before I could think up any more grisly, morbid scenarios, the guy actually showed up.

I followed him into the bathroom (which, I surmised, most clients don't - because he seemed rather taken aback when he turned around to grab some tool and almost knocked me off of my perch, atop the sink, where I was watching him intently, my eyes narrowed to dubious slits).

I wanted to see what he was doing, and I wanted to make it clear I was onto him.

"The first thing you should know, is" I interrupted him, brandishing a razor, as he began his diagnosis, "if I hear the word 'bobcat,' I am going to open a vein, and bleed to death right in front of you."

I know a client with a severed artery would get MY attention anyway.

He saw right through my ruse. "Ma'am," he sighed patiently, "that's a safety razor."

Yeah. He had me there. It was a thoroughly innocuous pink Daisy shaver - but that, to my way of thinking, in no way vitiated my point, which was that ONE of us was goin' to the boneyard if my bill exceeded 100 bucks, and I didn't really much care which one of us it was gonna be.

It's not really a secret that one of the reasons I gave up artists and musicians and switched most of my dating practice to architects and engineers was because the latter just gave me some relief from the constant torture of home improvement. (Don't worry. There was never any danger of them getting the short end of the stick on THAT arrangement.)

Sorry: I am NOT a hopeless romantic.

Sure, I like flowers. And I am by no means averse to jewelry or Godiva or any other typical masculine gestures of favor and/or atonement.

But to me, NOTHIN' says "lovin'" quite like fixing a squeaky door, repairing a broken hinge, or in a perfect world, maybe digging a sewer line by hand (which is what one of my friend's husbands recently did for her now THAT is what I call a MARRIAGE).

I come by these standards honest.

Not everybody would describe the way my parents met as "idyllic," for example. My mom was vacationing in Florida at a little cottage, and when her toilet broke, she went over to the neighbor's house to borrow a plunger. My soon-to-be-stepdad was there, visiting his aunt, and volunteered to go work on my mom's plumbing. (And I don't mean that in any double entendre kinda way, because I'm talking about my parents, and that would be sick.)

Shortly after that, they knew it was love (sigh), and they were married soon thereafter. Not exactly Danielle Steel.

Of course, I haven't gone so far as to marry any contractors (because I never answer any of our electronic correspondence from prison) - but it IS fair to say that I share the attraction that the women in my family feel for MANLY men: Men who can do stuff. Lawn care. Vehicle maintenance. Things involving grout. Starting my car on a snowy day. That sorta thing.

I'm no June Cleaver, and I would never adapt to a "barefoot and pregnant" role, but I don't mind a little old-fashioned gender politics at the Reeves house (and make no mistake: it IS the Reeves house). I'm happy to cook seven-course meals - and I'll even do it wearing nothing but a thong and an apron - but I don't wanna take out the trash or mow the yard.

That's why I always laugh at romantic comedies, and NEVER at the right places.

What was the deal with that stupid Jerry Maguire movie, for example?

"You complete me???"

Oh, Please.

"You had me at 'hello???'"

That's just stupid.

"Hello?!!!!" That IS a standard greeting here in America. Man she was easy.

See, if I was in that movie, things would've been a LOT different.

Sure, I'd have put on the little black dress. Then I'd have handed Tom Cruise a wrench and said, "complete this, baby" as I pointed him in the direction of the bathroom.

Later, as we smoked a post-coital cigarette, I'd have confessed, with great passion, abandon, and affection, "You had me at 'ballcock.'"