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A case of she said, he said for Mr. Fix It

By Tammy Keith

This article was published May 25, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

My husband and I had a conversation in our kitchen one morning about a 26-year pattern of behavior in our marriage.

Let me start by saying I know he has fewer faults than I do and that I got the better end of the deal. I’m clear. (My mother agrees wholeheartedly.)

One thing that he does, though, that gets frustrating is that he won’t believe me when I say something needs to be fixed.

More than once in life, I’ve said, “The air conditioner’s broken.” He asks why I think that. I tell him because it’s hot in the house all the time. His response has been the same: “It’s just hot outside, and people are going in and out the door.” Yes, thus the point of air conditioning.

This scenario has played out several times, and every time, the air conditioner has had a mechanical problem that needed to be repaired.

No matter what it is — the garbage disposal, toilet, stove, car — if I think it needs to be fixed, he thinks it’s a temporary glitch, an anomaly or, worse, a figment of my imagination.

A few times recently, I heard our garage door open. I would think my husband was coming home or that one of our sons was pushing the key code and coming in. I looked, and no one was there. One morning the door was up, and I knew we’d closed it.

I told my husband, and he doubted me.

“Sometimes I think I hear the garage door, and it’s something else,” he said. For example, he said, the under-the-counter light in the kitchen hums, and he said it sounds like the garage door opening to him. It sounds like a light humming to me. We’ve had the light for years, so I haven’t suddenly started to confuse the two sounds.

“So, you don’t believe me?”

“Well, it’s not that I don’t believe you … .”

It’s that he didn’t believe me.

This is the pattern of behavior in our relationship. It plays out the same every time.

We went away to my parents’ house last weekend, and my future daughter-in-law came to feed our dog and cat.

She texted me that the garage door was standing wide open. She looked through the house, and nothing seemed to be disturbed, she said.

I texted: “Maybe now David will believe me!”

“Huh,” he said, looking a little sheepish, when I told him.

When we got home, I noticed the next day he had Googled “Garage doors opening mysteriously.”

I suggested we, oh, I don’t know, maybe call a professional.

He agreed, and the guy came out. He said it could be the frequencies in the neighborhood or a new cell tower causing a problem. The guy had a cheap fix and an expensive fix, and he tried the cheap one. So far, so good.

My husband said those magical words every husband should say: “I’m sorry. You’re always right.”

No, not always, I said. Just usually — on things like this.

I asked my husband why he doubts me when I think something needs to be repaired. He started to deny that he does.

“Trust me. I’ve noticed this over 26 years,” I said. “Do you think it’s that you’re just being your optimistic self or that you don’t want to spend money?”

“Probably some of both,” he said, “and, just looking for another solution.”

He came into the bathroom a little later while I was putting on my makeup.

“I thought of one time — I came home and the washing machine was flooded, and water was all the way out in the garage. I called immediately, and nothing was wrong, and it never happened again,” he said.

“OK. That’s one,” I said.

He came back a second later.

“I thought of two more things I fixed immediately — the dog and the cat.”

He had me there.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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