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Guinn Sweet

Washington Irving, well-known American writer of the 18th and 19th centuries (“Rip Van Winkle” for instance) said, in one of his stories, “There is certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse …”

His words came to me this past week as I had a fleeting desire to change my marriage situation for the first and only time in the past 65-plus years. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love my present husband, and would never replace him with another, but the situation is getting desperate and a little dangerous.

I will explain.

First, I will tell you who don’t know, and remind others who already know, that this man who invented over-activity when he was a child has, over the years, never tried to conquer the disease. Not only has he kept it alive and well within himself, he has passed it along to each of our following male progeny, down to the third generation! Put him in a new place, and he begins right away to make changes, build additions, resurface or repaint standing objects and repair others which may not even need repair. The one new house of our lifetime was re-done, tinkered with and altered almost from the day we moved in. Every used house we ever moved into was immediately re-modeled, built onto or otherwise changed to be different.

This present house has been no different. Last week, he decided that he would do the work of underpinning our new mobile home (the movers did not get to it right away), so he assembled all the proper supplies and tools, including a great big ugly saw with a mean-looking round blade. I held my breath, because his sight and reflexes are no longer those of a young man. Sure enough, a couple of days into the job, I heard a high-pitched scream and low-pitched moan a few minutes later, and the door flew open with Colon and a bloodstained hand, shirt, pants, shoes on the front porch!

We saved the left-forefinger with a quick trip to the ER and 14 stitches – and a suggestion that he should not continue with the present job for the next two weeks.

When the stitches were removed the following 10 days, he had already installed a motion-activated light at our back door, without my permission and with terrible dread of the possible accident involving electrocuting himself or setting the house on fire. I survived the successful installation, and put aside some of my fears when there were no bad results to either house or householder.

My relief was short-lived.

The next accident involved his restoration of some kitchen counter, whose color was neither pleasing nor matching the trim on the adjoining cabinets. When he brought from Ace Hardware the proper equipment, I shuddered slightly, drank a hot cup of black coffee, got a book to read, and removed myself from the area.

After about an hour, and a couple of visits from him to tell me his progress and to ask for a cup of coffee for himself, he invited me to the kitchen to see his masterpiece. It was not quite finished, but I was really impressed at the neatness with which he had applied the “improved look” with not a spot of stain on anything not desired. I relaxed a little deeper into my book.

Leaving his empty cup on the coffee table, he left the room. Within a breath, I heard a chilling scream from the kitchen. Oh, no! Surely he hadn’t damaged himself again!

It was worse. He had returned to his stain can, gave it a great shake to re-mix and smooth the contents … but had forgotten to replace the lid! There were kitchen-wide stains on the floor, walls, appliances, countertops, adjoining cabinets, the curtains and him …everywhere!

You know who had to clean it up, don’t you? This “fixer-upper” man who can make the oldest new, who can make the broken whole, who can make the inoperable operate, cannot clean up a widely spotted kitchen.

Back to change, tell me this: Do I lock him up in a cell? Do I commit him to a sanitarium? Do I chain him to a doghouse? Do I rent him to the “Mob” of the underworld as a destroyer? Do I get him a job with a company who “implodes” skyscrapers? I need some help here, people!

Nah! He’s a 65-year investment and it has paid off in so many positive ways, I’m gonna keep him and see what happens next. Stay tuned.

Contact Guinn Sweet at sweettalk@mineralwellsindex.com.

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