The Fixer-Upper
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

My wife married me as a fixer-upper project, kind of like some people buy a fixer-upper house that needs a little remodeling.

Nearly 31 years later she's still trying to do the fixing.

This isn't uncommon with women. They fall in love with a man and marry him even though he has a couple of minor flaws. They figure they can correct these things along the way.

The problem is men develop new flaws even faster than wives can correct the old ones. This is known as the Flaw Law: a man's flaws will increase in direct proportion to his wife's efforts to correct them.

I admit I do have a few, little things I could improve. For example, when we go on a trip I worry whether I've left the house in good shape.

Me: "Do you remember if I turned off the dish water in the kitchen sink?"

Wife: "No, but I wish you had asked me three hours ago before we got on the airplane."

Eventually my wife came up with a checklist for when we're going out of town.

Wife: "Stove off?"

Me: "Check."

Wife: "Garage door closed?"

Me: "Check."

Wife: "Coffee pot off?"

Me: "Check."

Wife: "Your clothes picked up off the bedroom floor and carried to the washing machine?"

Me: "What does that have to do with leaving the house for a few days?"

Wife: "Nothing. I was just hoping."

I could also do a better job recycling.

Wife: "Do you see what I'm doing? I'm taking things you put in the trash container and moving them to recycling. Do you understand why I'm doing this?"

Me: "Because the trash container is full?"

I called my wife while writing this and asked what flaws I have that still needed fixing. She said she'd think about it. In the next three minutes she sent 14 text messages filled with items, including:

"You don't remember birthdays, you leave one drop of food left in a container and put it back in the refrigerator, you say you'll do something in one second but mean 10 days, you hate to work ahead and leave everything until the last minute, your idea of filing is creating stacks . . ."

She also says I can't hear when she asks me to do things. But I don't consider that a flaw.

It's really more of a talent.

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