— Carl Zwanzig
Charlie, my beloved mate of 30 years, is firmly attached to many things. Me, our daughter, his extended family and friends, chainsaws, home improvements, computers, and fondly… duct tape.
In spring he can be found wearing a roll of it at his belt, keeping it handy. Give him that and a project and he’s off.
Remember that old ‘70’s show? I swear they modeled it after my husband. It is hilarious to me how much Charlie (who disassembled his mom’s vacuum cleaner at age two) resembles that character in his creative ideas. His mother, exhausted, finally gave him a hammer and nails to keep him busy. This idea, seemingly unwise in the extreme, worked out just fine.
We watched The Martian the other weekend, a most marvelous film. But when Matt Damon whipped out the duct tape (affixed at his belt, of course) and repaired his own cracked helmet, I lost it. I shrieked “Charlie! They made a movie of you in space!”
Charlie is a true handyman. If he doesn’t know how to do something, he’ll learn about it. We live in a restored and renovated (mostly by him) 1906 farmhouse. If he wasn’t so handy, I doubt we’d still be here. Duct tape has been his boon companion during many emergencies and repairs. That—combined with his innovation and skill, a chainsaw, and a generator—have enabled us to live in Fairfield County (aka “Expensive Camping”) with comfort.
My husband leaves me in awe with his ability to fix just about anything. I only have to mention it, and I’ll find whatever it was repaired later. Often I am amused to find that duct tape was involved. He recently built me an entire handrail, complete with cemented posts, just because I said that it might be helpful when it was icy. He held the railing stable while it was drying with duct tape. It’s absolutely beautiful.
I don’t see a handrail outside though. I see my husband’s love.
Soon 60 years old, Charlie still climbs onto our roof like a cat, lifts logs and heavy air conditioning units, carries heavy boxes, moves furniture and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. I suspect, like myself, it simply hasn’t occurred to him to do so. He and his Dad fixed furnaces, built fences, dug septics, rather than “Call the Guy.” In our home and our neighbors’ homes, Charlie is “The Guy.” With his can-do attitude, he’s either freaking me out or delighting me.
However, when I see him hanging out of the second story windows by one arm, sealing in the air-conditioning units with (you guessed it) duct tape, I tend to get a touch nervous. I suppose this keeps me on my toes. I’m better off going to the mall and not watching.
Boys will be boys (or men will be men) and you just have to enjoy them for whom they are, chainsaws, axes and duct tape included. This Renaissance Man of mine is going strong. I hope he and duct tape continue their love affair for many years to come.
But a little bit closer to the ground might be nice.
by Anne Ambuhl