The Zen of home repair

Thursday, August 9, 2001 at 12:00am

Yesterday, while Rosie was soaking in the bathtub, one of her hand-painted imported ceramic wall tiles fell on her head. We had to rush Rosie to the Doc-in-the-Box, but thankfully, the tile survived without a scratch.

"Well," Rosie asks, anxiously staring at the tile, "can you fix it?"

"Piece of cake," I say, with total confidence.

I went to handywoman school with my first house, a tiny little fixer-upper perched on a hill. Translation: You needed oxygen to climb the front steps, and I didn't know the house had been condemned because termites had eaten the sign.

"All it needs is a little cosmetic work," the Realtor had assured me as she unlocked the Day-glo orange front door that led into the flat black living room.

Based on the gangrene-green fireplace mantel and rigor-mortis-blue shag carpeting, I'm guessing the interior decorator graduated from the Grateful Dead School of Design.

Plug in the coffee pot, and the lights went out. Put a ball in the middle of the floor, and it rolled to the wall. And let's just say I learned the hard way not to flush the toilet while in the bathtub.

Every time it rained you could go white-water rafting in the basement, and garter snakes would come shooting out of the cracks in the rock foundation like someone was spitting slime-green Jell-O through a straw.

The house needed to be rewired, re-plumbed and relocated. So, naturally, my first priority was to paint.

The painter rattled up in his truck at exactly 9 a.m.

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