Monday, October 12, 2009

Leonard Husbandry

Man is frequently messing with nature for his own benefit. Left to their own devices, animals will perform tasks to suit themselves under specific conditions. For example, in nature the honeybee will arrange its hexagonal honeycomb into clusters of whatever shape dictated by instinct or maybe even artistry. However, when placed into the modern hive, the honeycomb will be arranged in an orderly fashion onto the provided foundation slats, making it easy for the beekeeper to slip out those slats and take the honey as needed.

Leonardism: Having worked for years as a tool man at Sears to help put himself through school, my Leonard is handy. He doesn't shun from the necessary "man-chores" around the house, and actually seems to enjoy them. With level and drill in hand, he keeps our home in tip-top shape. Leonard prefers to work his magic during his downtime, such as a late Saturday morning after adequate sleeping in or on a lazy day off. Under those conditions, Leonard will happily hum as he busily tends to our home's needs. When a job is finished, we'll both admire his handiwork as I sing his praises and he smiles and puffs out his chest. It's a nice arrangement. Every now and then, however, I feel the need to ask for his handy skills at a not so convenient time.

Documentation is vital to every good experiment

Last week I decided I'd had it with our utility closet. Low on the priority list after we moved in, we'd been using it as a receptacle for anything related to cleaning, with mops, broom, and ironing board leaning against the walls. Disorg
anized and not living up to its functionality potential, I couldn't stand it anymore. I had bought some organizational accessories awhile back, and decided that I couldn't wait another day before they were hung. It was an evening after work, and I knew this wouldn't sit well with Leonard. My mind raced back to my Undergrad days in Biology. I had the perfect specimen for the job at hand, but the wrong conditions. If I could only manipulate those conditions to become more favorable, perhaps the test subject would perform. It was a good hypothesis. I mentally listed the needed conditions:

Condition 1: baseline overall feeling of contentment

Condition 2: accessibility of needed supplies

Condition 3: sense of importance and need

Condition 4: post-task praising, to ensure future success

Dinner was made. I waited for Leonard's compliment: "Th
anks, Honey that was great!" he said smiling. Condition 1 - accomplished. Quickly, before he was able to maneuver to the couch for well-deserved resting, I diverted him to the laundry room, where his tools awaited, organized and ready. Condition 2 - check. I could sense his unwillingness, so I smoothly transitioned to reminding him how grateful I was that he was so handy and our home wouldn't function so well were it not for his skills. Condition 3: condition met, with a smattering of guilt. Leonard sighed, picked up his tools, and went to work. When he was finished we had a perfectly organized utility closet. Hands on hips, I shook my head in wonder saying things like "Wow, that's amazing," "Handy, handy man!" and "look at you go!" Leonard's reluctant exterior faded, and he bashfully smiled. Condition 4 - cemented.

The Completed Closet

Look out, Leonard. Next time I might decide to rearrange the living room furniture at 2 a.m.


Mindy said...

I loved this post! I need to try a bit of this on your "handyman" cousin.

Valery G. said...

Meagan, You are my favorite! You and Leonard work together in a such an amazing way. I need a handyman or any man would be nice right now;) -V-

Peggy said...

The key to success is not to show Leonard this're giving away all your sneaky secrets.

Photographer: Rebecca Pierce said...

I agree with will need to use these tactics again!