Greg as a little tyke.
Greg had extraordinary mechanical and fix-it gifts and skills. They seemed innate. He said his father didn’t know which end of a hammer to pick up so obviously, Greg did not learn any of this from him.

When he was ten years old his family purchased a radio. This was one of those old radios you see in vintage shows from the 1950s. He wanted to know how it worked so he took it completely apart. His father was angry. He was certain Greg couldn’t put it back together properly, but Greg did it.

Greg could fix anything. I know this from experience. I would joke that I couldn’t break things fast enough for him to fix them. It didn’t matter if it was electrical, mechanical, natural gas, plumbing or whatever, Greg could fix it, and did, numerous times.
Somber Greg as a young boy.

After growing up without a father myself, I knew his value when it came to these kinds of things. Anytime anything broke when I was growing up, it was a major catastrophe. Finding someone competent to fix something and having to find the money to pay them was very stressful.

I was spared all of these stresses while Greg lived. He was marvelous. I’ll confine myself to just a few examples:

Fixing My Washing Machine Site Unseen

Suddenly, my washing machine wouldn’t work. It was a Friday at mid-morning. Monday was a holiday and we were leaving to go out-of-town on Wednesday. I had a boatload of laundry to do and I was scared.

Greg sat me down and carefully quizzed me about what happened to make the washing machine malfunction, where it was in the cycle and what types of noise the machine made when it happened.

Quizzed perhaps isn’t the best word for what he did. Perhaps interrogated is better. He asked me questions about things I had not thought about. He carefully asked me about the noises especially. I can’t remember any details but he asked me stuff like whether it squeaked or thunked having me describe possible sounds, things like that.

Greg's passport photo in about 2008.
I answered him the best I could. He said, “Okay, I think I know what’s wrong.” He got online and searched for parts. He found the part he wanted and ordered it. He got it ordered a little after 4 pm on that Friday, the end of the business day and week.

I crossed my fingers hoping it was the right part and that he could fix it, otherwise, we were sunk.

On Saturday, Greg took the washer apart and said, “Yep, that’s what’s wrong. I ordered the right part.” It arrived with the mail on Tuesday after the holiday. Greg immediately fixed my washing machine and I was back in business in no time.

I have several favorite stories that illustrate Greg’s fix-it mentality.

The First Fix-it

We had been married for about three weeks. It was a Friday or Saturday night at about 11:30 pm and we were just talking in bed before going to sleep. I remembered a repair that needed to be done so I mentioned it. There was a moment of silence and then Greg said, “Well, I’ll have to put my robe on and go out to the garage and get my tools. Is it okay if I do it tomorrow?”

I told this story numerous times over the years. He didn’t particularly like it but he got used to my telling it. I think the story also shows how responsive and willing he was to fix anything the moment it needed fixing. Given the complaints I hear from other women, I know he was unusual.

My Computer Blew Up!

One night Greg had gone to bed and I was still up and doing something on my computer. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion and my computer died. I shrieked.
Greg holding the part he replaced and installed.

Though in a deep sleep, Greg was instantly awake and came racing into the computer room. I told him what happened. I was so upset I just wanted to go to bed and forget about everything.

The next day, Greg took my computer apart. He identified what was wrong and then he fixed it. I couldn't believe it. I
Pointing to the item that blew up on my computer.
insisted on taking a picture of him holding the part he replaced and pointing to the item in the computer that erupted. I still can't believe it.

That Was a Bird?

Greg in his later years.
This incident happened when we were living in Marion, Indiana. Our home faced west. We spent most of our time in our computer room which had a huge glass window that faced out the front. During times of intense and unclouded sunshine, I noticed that our front window would appear as a mirror when looking at it from the outside.

Occasionally, birds would collide with the window. Usually, they were small. Not this time. I was standing in the computer room with my back to the window looking down at my computer when a loud thwack that centered at the window thundered and shook the house. It sounded like a mature tree had been felled in the yard.

I know this because we did have a mature tree felled in our yard and it violently shook the earth and our house. This was exactly like that time. I whipped around to see a large bird-of-prey flying off as well as the splotchy point-of-impact mark on our window.

The bird was probably aiming at one of the squirrels that were often on our porch right in front of the window and between the window and the flower box, probably reflected by the mirror our window had become.

Greg was at the far end of the house when this occurred. He came galloping in wild-eyed. “What happened!?” he demanded and added, “What do I need to fix?!” still looking around wildly.

Doggie Air Conditioning

Our two Weimaraners suffered from arthritis in the last year of their lives. In order to accommodate this problem, we had to move them from our basement to outside.

In the basement, there had been a staircase up into the house and another leading outside. They could freely go in and outside whenever they wanted.

With the pain of arthritis, this was no longer possible. However, it can get beastly hot in Kansas. We had mechanisms to keep the dogs warm. The problem was how to get them cool in the hot months.

Greg fashioned some new digs for them outside. He attached it to the back of our house. It also covered a basement window.

We had a full basement and it was always nice and cool there. The dogs loved it during hot times. Greg decided to capture the coolness and take it outside.

He opened the basement window leading into the doggie digs. He fashioned protection over the screen so that the doggies could not damage it.

He set up one of our ladders and attached a fan to the top, then anchored the fan to the ceiling and the ladder. He plugged the fan into an electric socket and aimed the breeze into the doggie digs via the window.

Voilà, we had doggie air-conditioning! I crawled into the digs with a thermometer once and placed it at a strategic point. I then crawled back into the digs about thirty minutes later to check and retrieve the thermometer. It was 72 degrees F. inside their digs even when it was in the high 90s in Kansas! Is that cool or what?!

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