Daily Archives: April 5, 2012

Age Has Its Advantages

Our trip to Missouri recently was to help get my mother-in-law’s house ready for sale. That meant cleaning 50-plus years of stuff out of the house, then cleaning up the debris left behind.

One nagging issue we had puzzled over for a while was a pair of lights on the basement ceiling that wouldn’t work.

Changing the bulbs and wallswitch had no effect.

Enter my mother-in-law’s baby brother – some ‘baby’, he’s 72 – and a professional contractor. He showed up after work one day, toting an impressive toolbox. He trudged down the basement stairs with hubby and hubby’s brother-in-law in tow.

The first thing they did was spend about 15 minutes trying to identify the correct breaker to turn off before beginning work. That accomplished, they set about troubleshooting.

Baby Brother: So, a new bulb and new switch didn’t do the trick, huh?

Hubby: Right.

B-I-L: Yep, and we are stumped.

Baby Brother walked over to one of the lights – it’s a ceiling fan – and started jiggling the blades and motor housing. He stared at it from all angles, and finally dragged a stepladder over and began disassembling the housing, to expose the wiring.

Hubby and b-i-l decided to be helpful. Hubby took the blades as baby brother handed them down, and b-i-l held onto the motor and housing as it was loosened, lest it fall on someone’s head.

Baby Brother: I think I found the trouble.

Hubby: (peering up at the exposed wiring) What is it?

Baby Brother: It’s a loose wire. I’ll tighten it.

Baby brother grabbed the necessary tools and proceeded to fix the loose wiring.

Keep in mind that at this point, b-i-l had been holding a good deal of the weight of the housing and fan motor over his head for nearly 10 minutes.

His arms were beginning to shake.

After another 2-3 minutes, in which it seemed baby brother wasn’t really doing anything up there b-i-l began to sweat a little. He closed his eyes against the pain.

Baby brother nodded to hubby and mouthed “watch this”.

Baby brother stepped down off the ladder, but with his eyes closed b-i-l didn’t notice.

Nor did he notice that baby brother had not only fixed the wiring, but had also re-secured the ceiling fan’s motor and housing in place.

Hubby and baby brother stifled laughter as one by one the fan blades were re-attached.

B-i-l was really beginning to show signs of distress as the job finished and both hubby and baby brother stood back to watch him. Finally, b-i-l opened one eye.

BIL: HEY!! What the….?

Baby brother and hubby burst into uncontrollable laughter. I think b-i-l would have taken a swing at one or both of them, but his spaghetti-arms refused to move.

In fact, a couple of hours later he was having trouble lifting a fork to eat.

Hubby offered to spoon feed him.

He was not amused.

We were, though, and it just goes to show you’re never too old to play practical jokes on the unsuspecting.