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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on January 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 43

If I had a hammer ...

The top 10 'must-have' tools in every man's garage

BY ROB KRIDER

Some people say a man’s house is his castle. But most homeowners will tell you that in reality a man’s house is his hassle. When you own a home and the water heater stops working, you don’t call the landlord and threaten to get the city involved if he doesn’t have the water heater fixed immediately. Instead, you take cold showers until you can afford to replace the water heater and then spend an entire afternoon getting dirty and hurting your back trying to replace the cumbersome appliance. Yup, owning a home is super fun. Living in your own house is a far cry from staying in a hotel. When the toilet gets plugged, you don’t use the phone to call down to the front desk to send somebody up with a plunger. You alone have to plunge your feces. Unless you live with me, and then it’s my job to plunge your feces, because a plunger is such a complex technical device that apparently a woman or a teenager doesn’t have the ability to use it.

So to own a home is to fix a home. After paying a mortgage for a number of years I have determined which tools are absolute must-haves in the garage. Here are the top 10 tools that saved the day at my house on a number of occasions.

1. Beer. Every garage has to have a mini refrigerator with beer in it. The beer must be cold (this ain’t England) and there should be a lot of it. Beer will give you the courage to do any project, especially the ones you really shouldn’t be trying to do by yourself (and wouldn’t attempt while sober and thinking clearly). Ceiling fan broken? Don’t know anything about electricity? Beer and a ladder will solve that problem for you. Secondarily, beer is also great, as it numbs the pain of electrical shock.

2. Bottle opener. You can’t use your most important tool (liquid courage) if you can’t get inside the bottle. Sure, you could avoid having a bottle opener and buy domestic pop cap beers, but for the really hard projects you are going to need the stiffer alcohol content of an imported beer. Imported beer = bottles and bottle caps, which need openers. Your garage must have a bottler opener.

3. Duct Tape. This magical super tape is often referred to as Duck Tape or 100 Mile Per Hour Tape. It fixes everything except … ducting. I have fixed shoe soles, china plates, and even a dog once. If you have duct tape, you can fix 90 percent of all household problems. Duct tape combined with beer will solve 100 percent of all of the world’s problems.

4. Batteries. See No. 5.

5. Flashlight. Murphy’s Law says if it can go wrong, it will. What Murphy forgot to mention was that it will probably go wrong in the dark. You need to own a good flashlight. A good dead flashlight is as useless as my wife, whom I love, holding a plunger. This is why No. 4 on the list is batteries. I have spent way too many power failure nights wasting 30 minutes looking around the garage for a flashlight (which, ironically, I needed a flashlight to search in the dark for) when the actual job I was trying to complete (finding a bottle opener) was only a 30-second job. Rechargeable flashlights do not apply, as the charger cords always get lost and thus I amass more dead flashlights I can’t use.

6. A kid. Now, I’m not suggesting you leave the kid in the garage all the time (although if you have seen my kids’ dirty bedrooms, you would want them to stay in the garage permanently). I’m merely suggesting that a kid is a great thing to have around during a project. Kids can hold the flashlight, but more importantly they can keep the cold beers coming. Their little arms are also great for reaching into tough-to-get-in spots (like the garbage disposal). The only drawback to having a kid in your toolbox is they complain a lot about things like cold and hunger, which is something your hammer will never do.

7. Hammer. Many people have the misconception that a hammer is a tool for building stuff. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A hammer is for breaking stuff you are frustrated with. There are some simple rules when working on things: (a) If you can’t fix it, replace it, (b) Don’t replace anything that isn’t broken, and (c) When you can’t fix something correctly use the hammer on it until it is broken enough it needs replacing.

8. BMFH (Big Muther F….. Hammer). When a regular hammer won’t get the job done, a Big Muther will. Size is your friend; every garage needs a BMF Sledge Hammer. This bad boy can “fix” anything.

9. Plunger. As ugly a job as it is, the plunger is one of the most important tools in any garage. The fact is you can’t leave a full bowl. Regardless of who caused the stoppage, the plunger is going to have to come out, and chances are, your wife isn’t going to do it for you (or herself).

10. Phone/Phone Book. “Yes, hello, I was calling about the heating repair. Yes, I tried to fix my heater with my BMF Sledge Hammer, and I need to see if you guys can come out to fix it again. Yes, I understand there is a special rate for you fixing something I already attempted to fix. Would you guys be willing to sneak into the house and keep this a secret because I want my wife to think I fixed this mess?”

Rob fixed a leak in the roof recently. Now the roof only leaks when it is raining outside.