High Points: The Handyman | AspenTimes.com

High Points: The Handyman

Paul E. Anna
High Points

“Know a good handyman?” asked a neighbor recently. Not only could I not help with a name and number, I needed one myself and was clueless where to turn. There might be some good handymen in the upper valley, but I’ll be damned if I can find ‘em.

We seem to live in an age of specialization. If you need some carpentry work, there are plenty of outfits out there that do that. Painting? We are filthy with guys and gals in white overalls who can finish a house or do an interior re-paint restore. There are lots of plumbers out there who will bring a full team and some reamers to your casa to clean the pipes and keep your toilets from running.

But, a jack of all trades? A utility fielder who can play all the positions on the diamond? Someone who can paint, hammer, measure twice and cut once? That seems to be a dying breed. And, yet, I’ll bet that kind of talent has rarely, if ever, been more in demand than these days, in these parts.

Both my neighbor and I fit the profile of medium-to-long-term homeowners who need a little help with, well, just about everything around the house. Stuff gets a little old pretty quick on houses in the mountains, what with the high elevation and the exposure to the cold of winter and the heat of summer. And, like my neighbor, my home improvement talents border on the negligible. Even changing a light bulb is a challenge to my skill set.

Trims need painting, decks need sanding and sealing, doors and locks need adjusting, light switches need changing, appliances need calibrating. Yes, there are any number of small tasks that could be done in a week or so by a single talented handyman that otherwise require scheduling specialist firms that only do one thing at a time — and charge big bucks to do so.

What I need is a guy with a truck and tool belt with a “git-er-done” attitude. But, it feels these days like my options are limited to calling a variety of specialized construction offices and speaking with a receptionist about  getting appointments for two to three months out — if that.

Earlier this week, I found myself in, get this, a line 10 persons deep at the Ace Hardware store below Clark’s Market where I was getting Soda Stream refills (You do have a Soda Stream, don’t you?). I thought I’d pass the time asking my fellow patrons, all in a hurry and all with hardware in hand, if they could recommend a good handyman. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Not one of the construction folks online with me at the over worked counter had a clue where to find someone who they could recommend.

Like I said, a dying breed. So, let this be an ode to the handyman. The guy who was once an indispensable member of our society. The do-it-all guy who made things happen when no one else could. The crusty independent with the skills to keep a house brand new.

Excuse me … I have to go call an electrician.