Getting a handle on it


desk handlesThere is no question that the level to which I can take my procrastination can reach legendary status. It both annoys and amuses me the way in which this character flaw reveals itself.

Most recently, it was after some gutter work on the house. No, I am not so gifted that I can replace a gutter and downspout myself (my aversion to ladders promptly eliminates me from that discussion). I contracted a local gutter company to do the work.

After the surprisingly quick job was complete, the installer sadly informed me that the intended plan to extend the downspout to the outside fence on my front patio would not work due to the odd construction of my home (ah, the good old 1980’s Florida construction days of wham, bam, follow the terrible building plan).

Seems he would have to extend the downspout around a jutting fence post and wall, causing a hazardous walking area (even though no one walks there). The company (and regulations) would not allow him to do it.

He informed me that I could get something called a “flex tube” for a 3×4 downspout, easily available at Home Depot or Lowe’s. That would allow me to shape this accordion-like tube to reach the fence without permanent construction.

Seizing on the opportunity to go to a home supply store, I came up with the brilliant and long-overdue idea to replace the “handles” on my desk.

My desk is a thing of awe. A massive construction of real wood (no pressboard  here, folks), given to me by my Dad when I first moved into my home, 20 years ago.

When I say massive, allow me to give you an example: when I was having my home remodeled (post Hurricane Wilma), it took 4 burly guys to move the desk from the work room. And that was with the drawers emptied. So, massive.

Now, though I said I was replacing the handles on the desk, that was not quite accurate. I received the desk with the handles in the middle drawer.  All of them were broken, missing an end or a tip needed to fit into the still-attached braces.

My Dad had jury rigged one handle using ingenuity and twist ties (McGyver, thy name is Dad). I stuck a mini screwdriver in the brace of the other big lower drawer and used that to drag the drawer open when needed.

Taking that last almost-whole handle with me and using my usual lack of forethought by not measuring the screws on the inside of the drawer, I popped over to Lowe’s and visited the handle hardware section first, figuring the flex tube would be no-brainer work.

From an eyeball perspective, only two handles seemed to have the screw holes in the appropriate place (keep in mind, the old handle had no screw holes, as it slipped into the already attached braces – think toilet paper holder). I vacillated between the 5″ and the 128 mm before deciding the 128 mm looked slightly more correct.

Using the power of positive thinking (or dependence on simple dumb luck) I apply to everything in life, I picked up 6 handles on faith and then grabbed a couple of flex tubes.

Imagine my delight when the first handle I tried fit perfectly. The drawers were a bit complex, with the top two on each side requiring the removal of a little divider piece before I could fit a screw driver into the space.

The bottom drawers were another matter, holding hanging folders that I somehow manager to paper slice my fingers several times (blood in the water!) before clearing that area as well.

I was humming along, the whole process taking no time at all (by the third handle I had it down to peak efficiency), when, on the last handle, I got a packet missing the two screws I needed.

Seriously. Each handle came with 4 screws, 2 short and 2 long, and the last packet was missing the 2 short ones. Not the first packet. Not even the third packet. But the very last packet. Ha! Murphy cracks me up.

Now, I have a stash of screws and bolts and washers and nuts and, yup, none of them matched. Ah, no biggie. Lowe’s is only 5 minutes away and they found me new screws in less than 5 more minutes.

So, short story long, I gave my desk handles for the first time, including emptying and refilling the drawers, in about 30 minutes.

Or 20 years, give or take.

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