Monday, November 21, 2005

Can I Get Some Directions?

Hey, if this fiction writing thing doesn’t work out, I could get a job writing instructions. Somebody needs to. I’ve been underwhelmed by the instructions I’ve read lately. I’m a reader. I figure I can learn just about anything I need to know by reading about it. But that presupposes someone can write clearly and intelligently about the subject. That might be asking a lot.

I was replacing the windshield wipers on my minivan, hoping for some great insight on how to perform this task without slicing my fingers to shreds like last time. The illustration is vague. The instructions say: Remove old wiper blade. Install new wiper blade. Brilliant. I had already deduced that, but thanks anyway.

So I keep reading. Ah, there’s hope. It says: turn over for more instructions. So I turn over. It’s the exact same instructions!

Someone needs a definition of the word “more.” It is not synonymous with “same.”

I figured it out anyway. Without blood loss.

Wish I could say the same about my adventure replacing our leaky kitchen faucet last weekend. I managed to bloody my lip on the garbage disposal. After banging my head on it. You’d think I would have remembered it was there. Big black thing hanging under the sink. Hard to miss.

All because I was trying to follow the first instruction: remove old faucet. That’s it. No clue on how to do that. So, using maneuvers that would have done a contortionist proud, I tried to use a flashlight and crescent wrench at the same time. You know, I’m just not that coordinated.

But despite my lack of plumbing skills, I managed to get the old faucet out and the new one in. The installation instructions were actually not too bad, until I got to this oxymoronic phrase “tighten loosely.”

Hmm. Okay. Being the girly girl that I am, I probably am only capable of tightening loosely. At least the diagrams were significantly better than the windshield wiper ones. And I managed to accomplish the job without flooding the kitchen. And now I have a faucet that doesn’t spray in three directions at once.

Think I’ll stick to writing. Seems safer. Less blood loss, at least for me. Can’t say the same for my characters.


Jenny said...

You just know those instructions were writen by a man--they never use the directions or ask for them for that matter! Ha! Okay, now that I've alienated all the guys who really do ask for and utilize directions, might I make a suggestion? Have a woman write the silly things. We may not always use the most technical of language--"thingy" really works universally--but we are precise enough to get the message across!
Congrats on actually getting the faucet and wipers fixed. I am truly impressed, but knowing you, I'm not surprised:-) You rock, girl!

Peter (Jennifer's husband) said...

Hey, chick! Next time, get a real man to change the faucet! What a loser! He actually lets his wife change the faucet. Ha!

Oh, and one more thing. Honey, can you also take out the trash?

Your husband, Peter

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Uh, honey, the trash is your job . . . at least until you get that cast on your foot Tuesday.

And, in case anyone wonders what Peter was doing while I was installing the faucet . . . he was digging trenches in the backyard. I definitely got the better end of that deal.

Robin Caroll said...

LOL...I do all the home repairs around my house, Jennifer, because I don't trust my husband to do them in a timely manner, nor the way I would. (did I mention I have control issues?) Hanging wallpaper, I can handle--fixing the toliet, I can handle--hanging pictures and installing ceiling fans, I can handle. But could someone PLEASE explain to me why instructions are printed in like five different languages (I tried reading the French version once--it actually made more sense than the English one!) but they omit the really important details, like "turn off power before installing or you will be shocked and you will never again need to pay for a perm for your hair to be permanently kinked?"

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Robin, that's funny. I can't believe someone besides me tries to read the foreign language instructions. Hey, I've got to put to good use all that French I learned in college.

I have to admit my favorite instruction is on my blow dryer. "Do not use while bathing."

Hmm. Kinda hard to dry your hair while you're in the shower. But hey, it would give you that perm you were talking about.

michael snyder said...

Peter, can I borrow that cast when it comes off?

I have a whole list of chores that I'd like to postpone--or better yet, farm out a sympathetic neighbor!

Jenny said...

What some people won't do to get out of a little work! lol!

PeterT said...

Mike, I hope I won't have a cast on my foot next week, but in case I do, I'll send it to ya!

Its a bad time of the year for a man of incredible domestic skills to have minor surgery, and waste time "recovering" on the couch. I mean, there's absolutely nothing on TV to watch, unless one has cable (I do), one likes to watch football (playoffs in 4 weeks), basketball (yeah), hockey (I can actually see the puck!), and reruns of movies that haven't been seen in, oh, 2 months.

I would also ask anyone's advice on a good salsa to go with all the chips that I have conveniently stored in the pantry. I don't mind making it from scratch, but I think my wife will have her hands full with 2, er, um, I mean 3 children to take care of.

Sorry, gotta go. I think another rerun of "The Blues Brothers" is about to start. ;-)

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Since I can't let my husband have the last word on MY blog, let me just say, can I get some sympathy here? I mean, I'm going to be doing all the work around the house.

Oh, and he's definitely putting up the Christmas lights tomorrow. Of course, I may get stuck taking them down.

Jenny said...

Oh, Peter, I'm feeling sorrier for you by the second...NOT. But at least you are honest, I'll give you that. And to include yourself with the kids, it takes a big man to admit to that but as Jen's friend, I have to give her the real sympathy. Not that you even need it with all the football, and basketball, and hockey. BTW, I'm not letting my DH know you have cable and enjoy hockey. I'd never get him home! Ha!
Quick recovery, Peter.
Smooth sailing, Jen.
You're both in my prayers.

PeterT said...

Jenny. While I appreciate your sympathy and friendship towards my wife, I do have a question.

Why do you have a designated hitter(dh), and why do you care if he enjoys sports or not?

Obviously an "American League" fan.

Jenny said...

Oh, Peter, I keep forgetting you're a part of the normals--read that non-novelists (yet Jen loves you anyway). For writers (especially those on the ACFW loop) DH means Darlin' Husband--of which you are one, from what Jen tells me. And my DH is definitely a National League fan, unless there's a hockey game in the vicinity and then all bets are off. But these are things Jen can teach you as you recuperate and try to watch your sports. :-)

Paula said...

Wow! You're brave to tackle all those projects. I usually pull the dumb blonde card and then just flounce in here and there while my husband tries to figure it out. Unfortunately, once or twice I've waltzed in when he has about had it with figuring things out, said something brilliant like, "why don't you turn it that way" or "I think it needs to face the other direction." Now he thinks I have something to offer. I still swear I can sometimes understand the diagrams, but I'm horrible with a wrench.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

LOL, Paula, I should have tried that! Would have saved me some pain. But I'm not sure I would use brave to describe me. Stubborn or determined, maybe. But not brave. I'm a huge chicken, I fully admit it. :)

Paula said...

PS Thanks for your encouraging words on GraceReign!