My husband managed to return my frantic message—before any repairman called me back. "Don't have anyone come over," he said. "I can fix this." And he did.

After all, he grew up with a handy dad who liked his sons to play helper. My husband can remember—not all that fondly, mind you—standing around the garage on many a Saturday afternoon and being told, "Now, son, hold those pliers right there until I say otherwise." Bookshelves were built. Plumbing leaks were stemmed. In his experience, when something breaks in your home, it's up to you to make a reasonable effort—and then some—to fix it yourself.

Which brings us back to last Christmas. We had 10 for dinner, and I decided I was going to take a year off from my usual plan of keep-making-side-dishes-till-you-run-out-of-serving-bowls. Instead, I found a one-dish meal: short ribs and winter vegetables with apple cider and brown sugar. My husband peeled many pounds of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and so forth; we threw them into the pot with the other ingredients and prepared for our uncharacteristically relaxed festivities. The dinner was delicious, and all was calm and bright—that is, until the disposer got indigestion, unable to swallow the deluge of peelings that had been forced into it. Every time we tried to clear the clog, it made an ominous rumbling—I'd say a 4.6 on the Richter scale—and began belching its own stew of half-macerated parsnip and Yukon Gold shavings into the sink. This really wasn't the image I wanted seared into my memory at the end of the holiday meal.
Ask TOH users about Home & Real Estate

Contribute to This Story Below