News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Calling Bob The Builder . . .

Late on a recent Saturday afternoon, my brother-in-law Don Wilbanks and I realized we'd gone at our farmhouse renovation project backward.

The work we did first should have waited until last, making what we were doing twice as difficult as it should have been.

"Don," I said, "We haven't been watching the Home and Garden channel closely enough."

"Somebody else hasn't either," he replied, as we struggled to fit bead board behind the shiny new commode and lavatory already in place.

The other guilty parties were our wives who decided we needed new wallboard to go with the new fixtures after the contrast between new and old offended their decorators' instinct.

Those projects on TV, the women said, look so easy.

The commode and lavatory were simple to install. So was the repair to the floor where a leak had taken years to devour the sub flooring.

My nephew and my son-in-law did those on a previous Saturday while we supervised. The vinyl tile my son-in-law put down the next day looked easy to do, too.

That got us to our other realization late that Saturday afternoon: Two guys our age who are not accustomed to crawling around on a floor, wrestling with 4-by-8 foot pieces of paneling and bathroom fixtures, and who can't follow a marked line with an electric saw, need help.

Late that afternoon, Don's bionic knee was creaking and my back ached big time.

"The room's not square," Don said, as we discussed the miracles that corner molding and baseboard will do for a finished look when all the panels are in place.

But that must wait. We quit for the day, two panel cuts shy of finishing.

I caved to the call of my back.

He didn't argue and we silently cleaned up our mess, too tired to talk.

Neither of us was feeling like the children's television cartoon character, Bob The Builder. He's the face you see on everything from coloring books to little boys' briefs.

Bob's the one who asks his audience, "Can we fix it?" and answers, "Yes, we can!"

I told Don we needed Bob. He wanted to know why.

"Our, 'Yes, we can,' left two hours ago," I told him.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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