Mr. Fix-It and Mrs. Breaker

Victory red, jet black leather interior, spoiler, sunroof and looked almost as sharp as the day it rolled of the showroom floor and into Mr. Wonderful’s waiting arms five years ago.

That’s 900, 1500, er, a whole bunch of days. I’m not good at math but let’s say “a while.” In all that time the car remained pristine. The leather seats slick and the inky black carpet spotless. It still smelled like new car.

I inherited it as “my” car two weeks ago (that math I can do). Today it smells like tacos, there is mud ground into the floor mats, and the “service airbag” light is on.

In every relationship there are certain defined roles. Good cop, bad cop. The talker and the listener. The leader and the follower. In our relationship Mr. Wonderful is “The Guy Who Gets Things Done.” I am the breaker of things.

There is a very good reason I prefer shopping thrift and “gently used.” It saves me the trouble of wearing things out myself.

Broken

Even when dealing with brand new items I have a knack, a gift if you will, of causing things to fall apart. He has repaired the sprayer on our kitchen sink faucet at least a half dozen times.

I’m not sure what I do to it beyond attempting to, you know, spray things but the handle detaches on a fairly routine basis. I just set the pieces on the sill and he comes along and repairs it. Until I break it again. There’s a system to these things.

Meanwhile, he also stays on top of my ability to become completely confounded by our wood burner, water softener system and basement door. I’m not a stupid person and I swear I’m basically careful (and honestly too lazy to do the literal heavy lifting required to break most things). Nonetheless, I end up on the “Honey can you fix this?” end of the equation more often than not.

Later I will chastise him for never putting his tools away, but if truth be told, I don’t blame him. I’m currently on track to need assistance with the fairly new upstairs shower faucet any day now.

It’s gotten so I just text him “airbag light is on.” Or “door is broken.” I like to remove myself from the discussion as if I wasn’t even there when it happened. I’m just reporting the problem secondhand.

Clever

Meanwhile, Mr. Wonderful takes it in stride. In the most recent case of the airbag light I was completely perplexed. All we did was drive the car into a parking lot and suddenly the airbag light comes on? What’s that all about? What is this car made of? Paper mache? (Always be poised to blame the inanimate object).

To this he said only “You cannot have anything nice.”

I was bound and determined to prove him wrong and diagnose the problem myself. I spent my evening on Internet search engines, car forums and even suggested we disconnect the battery to force it to reset. It’s clear I spend more time with computers than cars since my default suggestion is a reboot. Nothing cured the “service airbag” light. I admitted defeat and made an appointment to have the problem looked at by a mechanic qualified in more than Google.

Genius

Meanwhile, bright and early the next morning Mr. Wonderful went out to the car, slid the seat back, started it up and did not see the light. Literally. As relieved as I was I was also a bit … perplexed. I asked him how he managed to repair something I had fiddled with and researched all evening. He shrugged and said “I moved the seat.” He moved the seat? That did it?

Wow. He’s good.

This is why he is the Fixer and I am the breaker of things. He has demonstrated an ability to do clever things and save me from myself, thus making him even more lovable than he already was.

Now in addition to being the breaker of things I’m worrying on another identity for my marital self: the solver of riddles. How is it that in 20 years Mr. Wonderful has not learned to empty a dishwasher or pick up a sock, but he can repair an automobile with his mind?

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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