Terry Breaks Machinery

Sometimes I just have to take a deep breath. Terry came in with our orbital sander in pieces. He said it "just broke" while he was using it. First of all, he was using 5" sanding pads when he should have been using 6" pads, so that's strike one. Secondly, he's got a history of breaking equipment.

What immediately comes to mind is my Kitchen Aid mixer. I've never had any problems with it. But Terry uses it, and somehow gets the batter attachment stuck. He eventually got it detached, but I think he had to use force. I think it got messed up since he didn't have it attached correctly to begin with when he started mixing with it. Anyway, a few weeks later he said it wasn't "working right", so I go take a look. The motor is running but the beater isn't moving so I immediately run over and turn the thing off, since it's obvious to me that whatever he's trying to mix has something hard that jammed the beater so it couldn't move. I asked him why he didn't turn it off when it first jammed, and I don't remember his excuse, he had some reason that didn't make any sense to me. Well, surprise, surprise, when he goes to turn it on again, it won't turn. No @#$@#, the gears were stripped. That required a trip to Richmond (the nearest repair shop) and $100 bill.

And just this morning, Terry decided to learn how to make omelets, and came complaining to me that he has the range set to medium-high like the recipe calls for, but as soon as he puts the butter in the pan it burns and smokes immediately. He said the temperature gauge on our range must be defective. I doubted that, since I haven't had any problems with it. I went over to investigate.

Sure enough, the butter was smoking with the temperature set to 6. I asked him how long he had been "preheating" the pan. He said for awhile. Duh. I explained that you don't typically let empty pans heat up on the range for a long time like that, since they just keep getting hotter and hotter with no food or anything to absorb the heat. He didn't realize that. He thought that somehow the range would magically regulate the temperature of the pan. Is it not common sense that the range dial would regulate the temperature output of the RANGE, not the temperature of what you put on top of it? But once I explained that his butter was burning because he put it into a superheated pan, and he shouldn't do that since it will ruin both the food and the pans, he went on to make a really delicious and beautiful omelet.

Now he's sanding by hand, once we go to Lowe's tomorrow to get the correct size sanding pads and a replacement part for the broken piece, I think I'll go out and observe just how he's sanding. He said maybe he just happens to find himself in situations that the tools aren't meant to handle. He seemed to imply that there was no way he could tell before he started that he was using the wrong tool for the job. If I try a tool that doesn't seem to be doing the job, I stop using it and think about what tool would do the job properly. I don't try to figure out a way to use the tool I have to make it do something it wasn't meant to do.

Terry didn't have the benefit of dating a g.c. and learning about how to build and fix things. Terry actually did work construction when he was 19, but was so bad that for months they would only let him carry lumber and supplies around, they wouldn't let him near any power tools. I'm beginning to understand why. But I try not to get too mad, he won't learn if he doesn't try, and since it would be very convenient for me if he became capable of fixing more things around the house (until now I have done the work, since I actually am handy).

We were without the use of the kitchen sink for weeks last month when he took it upon himself to fix a leaky hose, but he eventually did fix it himself. In a perfect world, he would have ten years of fix-it experience by now and these would not be issues, but he never even owned a house until 5 years ago, so landlords did all the fixing for him up til then. And he worked 12-hr days for the past five years, so I took care of all the repairs during the day while he was at work. So I just have to remember that my husband has the fix-it experience level of a 20-yr old, and I just have to be nice and let him do his best or he'll never get better.