I used to do stuff, but my son grew up and decided I was incompetent. He stole all my tools (which he called “borrowing”). Since he never intended to return any of them, I feel he and I need to reassess our language interface. I have managed to save a lightweight Dremel. I keep it hidden in the linen closet. I’m pretty sure it’s safe there. I have a hammer stowed in the silver chest where no one but me goes.


I don’t have a screwdriver, staple gun, tape, glue, or nails. Nor thumb tacks. The son who took my tools is too busy to do the little jobs I could do and Garry is a 10-thumbs kind of guy. I knew that when we got married. I never expected him to be Mr. Fixit.

In our house, what gets broken, stays broken. Forever and ever, world without end. Limited as I am by age, infirmity, and a paucity of tools, when I heard for the umpteenth time another feeble non-promise, I blew at least three gaskets simultaneously. I had reached my limit for empty promises.

For all these years, I believed. Someone said “I’ll take care of it.” I assumed it meant he/she/they would take care of it.


I have finally worked it out. Husbands, children, grandchildren, brothers-in-law — and paid contractors — make promises. More accurately, they say stuff I think are promises. They would be promises if I said them, but the words have an entirely different meaning when used by them. What they mean and what I hear are unrelated.

They are not breaking their word. They were merely making soothing noises. They never had any intention of doing whatever. Genuine intentions — real promises — come with a schedule. A plan.

“I’ll plant those seeds tomorrow,” is a promise. “I’ll plant those seeds … ” is not a promise. Tomorrow is the key word. Tomorrow afternoon is even better. Today, after lunch is golden. The narrower the time-frame, the more likely “it” is to occur. Otherwise, the words are meant to shut me up without saying “shut up.”


It has taken a lifetime for me to figure out when words sound like promises, resemble promises, but are not promises.

After making this revelation, realizing I’ve been waiting for nothing, my Hag popped up. That’s the me who isn’t nice or forgiving. She doesn’t care about your other plans. Do it or face Her Wrath. There is nothing quite as pissed off as a granny who realizes she’s been duped.

computer gargoyle

Suddenly, the air conditioner is installed. Well, at least one of them. The other one is supposedly getting done today (still waiting). A new shower installation graces the bathroom. The front yard is clean and the walk is usable at long last.

Dave, the Well Guy, finally capped the well!

I’m on a roll. I don’t expect it to last, but in the meantime, it’s satisfying.

Flip Flop – I used to believe everyone. Now, not so much.

Categories: Anecdote, Getting old, Home, Humor

Tags: , , , , ,

65 replies

  1. We’ll just keep rolling along! 🙂


  2. The lack of substance in a statement is definitely something you have to watch out for. I remember reading somewhere a while back that when advertisers use the word “virtually”, you can pretty much completely ignore whatever the claim is that contains that word. It’s a word that means absolutely nothing. It makes no promises, states no facts… it’s just there to allow the pitchman to tell the prospective consumers what they want to hear.

    I can assure you that all of my comments are virtually informative!


  3. Neither David nor I are very handy and I long ago gave up expecting him to fix things around the house. In fact after he removed several door handles intending to replace them I would really rather he didn’t. Only one was ever replaced, badly. There is hardly a door in our house that closes properly. I think the problem often is that while we see something that needs to be fixed it bothers us until it is done. Some people, I won’t say men and I won’t say all; well it just doesn’t bother them. I have a hammer and a set of screwdrivers which I bought myself after he lost the entire set we had before. He’s not allowed to touch them without my permission and I nag him until he puts them away when he’s done.


    • My son did NOT ask if he could use the tools, much less take them and keep them, but he took over, the unspoken assumption being I am helpless. I am NOT helpless, but I have been sick a lot over the past 15 years and the arthritis in my spine has gotten very bad. Things that were easy are now hard or impossible. I can do small things, but my rock hauling days are over.

      Garry, on the other hand, has never pretended to have talent for anything mechanical, technical, or manual. He would never think of borrowing or using any kind of tool more complex than a pair of scissors. He won’t even open packages and probably, given one thing and another, that’s just as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate those “soothing sounds” — I call them lies. Last year when I was having repairs done on my house, my handyman was a big flake. Finally, I fired him. The next guys were really good and prompt and kept their word. I’m about to have a fence put up so Dusty isn’t harassing everyone who goes past my house. I realized what slowed down that project was frozen ground and my fear that someone would start and not finish. But tomorrow I’m getting it going and I can’t wait until it’s done. I’ll have a nice yard with some privacy and people won’t have a big, black scary dog barking fiercely at them through a 4 foot chain link fence. 🙂


    • They ARE lies, but it’s like throwing gasoline on a fire to say so. Besides, men figure that if they MEANT it, even if they have no plans to do it, it’s not lying. They just never got around to it. I finally told Garry that procrastination gets 6 months. When you are counting up the years, it becomes “never gonna do it.” I was pissed. He is tougher than he looks and used to getting his way, so I try not to lock horns with him. Sometimes, there’s no other choice. He can out-shout me, but I can outlast him. I don’t go to war unless I’m convinced I’m right. It doesn’t happen often, but there’s usually a lot of pissed of stored up by the time I explode.

      Any time you find a contractor who does good work at a fair price, shows up, then finishes the job? Marry him. Or whatever it takes. Our well guys do good work, but they are the only well drilling and repair guys in town, one of two in the whole valley. Since everybody has a well and we’ve had 2 years of drought, they are overloaded. They try to make sure everyone has water, so they come, get the well working, then go to the next person who has no water, get THAT working … etc. I think they wouldn’t have finished it ever if I hadn’t insisted. They still haven’t sent a bill. Maybe next year?

      Our dogs bark at other animals. People are okay, but other dogs are a serious threat. I have to remember to think like a dog.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Which is worse, a hammer happy husband who destroys or ruins everything he touches, or one who promises but never deliver. My ex-hubby destroyed or ruined everything he touched. He refused to get contractors in. We had a brand new kitchen put in – the next day he ruined it by putting vices on the edges and pulling them off roughly. Won’t say how I felt. Now it is nice just ringing the landlord. Much more reliable and careful.


  6. I like that term ‘ language interface’. I must try that one out sometime when there is a disagreement. Speaking as a man who says he will do something that never seems to get done, I have an argument for the defence. It’s forgetfullness. I am of an age that would classify me as a Grandpa, but don’t as yet have the grandchildren to qualify me for that title. I am also retired which should mean that I have plenty of time to do all the tasks that my wife expects me to have time to do, but I am busier than ever and frequently juggling so many interests that requests go in one ear and out the other. I have started writing things down on a ‘to do’ list but then misplace the list. I’m quite sure my wife asked me to do something a few minutes ago but then I started reading and that has led to this reply and I have no idea what I was supposed to be doing next.


    • I know we all forget. It’s normal and I’m forgetful too. However, I know the difference between forgetting and avoidance. Anything which is multiple years not done and which is unmissably obviously in need of doing … like we can’t use the front door because the walk needs attending … that’s not forgetting. That’s “I don’t want to do it because it’s a yucky job and I’m above that kind of thing. ” There were a lot of years when I did everything and I didn’t mind.

      Life has changed. Between the heart issues and arthritis, I need help. Not verbal support (“You can do it honey!”). Actual, physical assistance. He just needed a little encouragement 😉


  7. “Nothing quite like a granny that’s been duped.” Nearly died laughing, Marilyn. I can identify.


  8. Reblogged this on The happy Quitter! and commented:
    Oh thank you, thank you. That was the laugh of the day. I have my own tools, some I need for my job, others I just have for….well, I will find out one day. When I was young I wanted a clothes wall rack installed in the bathroom of our shoe-box aka apartment. A clothrack is a “must have” for every Austrian-Italian. I waited patiently for weeks, months…nobody hung it. It stood there in the corner of our shoe-box for months. My husband had all kind of explanations why he didn’t have the time, so did everybody else. Finally I had enough, I went out and bought me a drill and screws. Go figure…a drill doesn’t come with instructions (why is that?). I measured, marked the location of the holes and started drilling…and drilling…and drilling. I was determined and it showed, our wall looked like Swiss cheese, but I hung that damn thing. I read Marilyn’s post and laughed hard. I had to reblog, it’s priceless.


    • Every woman I know has a version of this story. Men think we CAN’T do anything, but they don’t want to do it, so it just sits there. My first husband took 3 years to attach the headboard to the bed. Whenever we moved, it banged against the wall. We had dents. I should have known then.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Funny stuff. I’m not much of a craftsman either, but that’s because everybody’s taken my tools. There was this cheap hoe that I loaned to somebody……


  10. I hear you. My husband is handy, but his projects are not always the same projects that I want done. Even simple things – like calling the insurance agent after our ice dam leaks. I kept asking him to do so because he knows more about the construction of the house than I do. He kept saying he’d get to it. Finally, I just said, “Fine. I’ll do it.” Must’ve been the tone of my voice – the call was made the same day.

    Right now, he’s setting up to paint the front of the house – again. It doesn’t need it. There are so many other things that do need to be done. Ah well. Not worth the battle.


  11. So what you are saying is I need to bring out my inner ‘hag’ to get people to follow through on things? Right, message received.


  12. PS If your son reads your blog, you just told him where to find the Dremel.


    • I suspect he didn’t take it because he has his own dremel which is larger and fancier. Otherwise, I doubt I could have kept it. He got the electric drill, all the wrenches, pliers, those great little pliers I used to fix jewelry … Everything. Oh, inlcuding the tool box which was a nice, convenient size. And metal. The kid never reads my blog. Way too busy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We never let my son use power tools because his mind is in the clouds. REALLY. He started off in molecular biology and worked at Invitrogen during high school and first year of college-had a lifetime job offer and their headquarters are a bike ride away, but he didn’t have the detail oriented mind it took to process DNA samples and all that research, not like he can dissect words and create amazing sentence structure. It’s too bad, because he could have lived right here and never left me. SIGH.


  13. I SO feel your frustration, can you not tell I’m nodding my head in agreeance (haha, just kidding, I said that to get your BP up) Sorry, “agreement”. My son also promises, but I chalk it up to the absentminded professor syndrome. He doesn’t borrow/take anything cos he doesn’t live close enough. But wait, there ARE things that go “missing” whenever he’s here, and when I ask him if he has whatever it might be, he says “it’s entirely possible” which then makes me laugh, so I’m hopeless. I always always tell him that he can HAVE mostly anything, just to please ASK or let me know, so that I don’t look for an item and think I’m going crazy because I can’t find it. Now I do have to say that my hub does everything he promises. EVERYTHING. He’s never let me down, even if it takes a long time, so the beauty of that is the fact that I’ve stopped nagging him (mostly).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t have a handyman at home either, just now an again, but the big jobs have to be paid for. I can see your position on this, I have it too. We have all the tools, but need someone that can use them, that is our problem. I have a nice large pot outside and a packet of Basil seeds. the pot has a puddle inside from the rain. I should empty it, fill it with earth and put the seeds in. I will definitely do it next week I think. They are now supposed to be showing the first leaves, but are still seeds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t do heavy stuff, but I can do small things. If I had simple tools. I just bought NEW gardening stuff. If it disappears, someone’s death will surely follow. I won’t name names, but I will try not to leave DNA evidence behind!


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