The Fixer Returns

Some fun on the farm with Andy

Andy came into my life when I needed him. In 2005, we had both embarked upon vocational transitions. A writer, I had no machinery to develop a lavender farm. A builder retired to handyman, Andy had a tractor, et al.  
           Hannah Stevens, an agricultural agent, connected us through Michigan State University’s program, “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity.” Although Andy was an excellent tiller, he attended the session prior to mine to see what he could learn. Hannah saw our necessities as opportunities to benefit one another. I am forever grateful.
           Often overwhelmed with planning and hosting lavender festivals, Andy’s confident spirit calmed me as we walked the lay of the land. We determined where to till the next lavender field and build structures to best shelter my guests and please the eye.
           My handyman fell ill when it came time to build our pavilion, so my husband and I hired a local company.  On his feet again, Andy and his son finished the interior of the pavilion’s gift shop and installed shelves in the storage area where we dried lavender bundles. I observed how Andy made the most of money, materials, and space.
           He reminded me of Uncle Herm when he worked—slow and sure mechanical minds and movements. Haste makes waste. Unlike Uncle Herm, Andy walked with a clip. The farm and I were happy to see his smiling face and handcrafted toolbox.
           At the conclusion of our 2008 festival, Andy helped me correct my farm plan from a one-weekend festival with hundreds of people to my original dream: u-pick lavender with weekend workshops about growing lavender and the sustainable lifestyle.
           Andy built our darling hen house, gifted me with his own “A Guide to Raising Chickens” by Gail Damerow. Ever the gentleman, he said, “Hens urinate in their droppings.” I’d never noticed. Upon the later occasion of making soup of our hens, Andy came to lead this rite of passage.
           It’s been a year since my brother-by-heart left us. I managed to find an electrician several months ago, but most our outsourced household improvements go undone. The reliable electricians are booked. Now, why can’t people find work?
           Last week, our Andersen sliding door jammed when a piece of broken removable grid fell between the kitchen doors. One repair estimate was $325; another company offered on site estimates only.
Heck, I wasn’t throwing away $325. We had paint to buy for the guest bath and bedroom, and a painter to pay. (Thank God for Cheryl. My husband and I are pathetic painters.)
I brooded over that jammed door, wondered what Andy would do. Where was my confidence? Didn’t I see a technician remove the framework and door when we replaced other windows years ago?
Dear Reader, I spent three hours with a screwdriver, removed the framework, lifted the door with what strength I had. Wood hit the floor. I vacuumed the tracks and washed the windows before I replaced the framework.
“Who fixed the door?” my husband asked.

“Andy,” I replied.