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4 of My Husband’s Words That Strike Fear in My Heart: “I Can Fix That”


I look in dismay at the sudsy puddle oozing from my dishwasher, watching it collect in the temporary drip-tray I fashioned out of an egg carton. After every rinse cycle, my appliance now vomits bubbles like a baby after one too many bottles of formula.

“That’s it! I’m tired of MacGyvering our appliances!” I say, referencing the 90s TV character who could get out of any life-threatening jam with duct tape, a ball of twine, and a toothpick. “We need to start fixing or replacing all the broken stuff around here.”

I mentally tally just a few of our damaged goods.

  • The washer lid that I jimmied with a Popsicle stick so it triggers the spin cycle when it closes.
  • The garbage can with broken handles, no wheels, a missing lid, and a gaping hole stitched closed with duct tape.
  • The dysfunctional motion-sensing garden lights that couldn’t detect an attacking grizzly on our front lawn.

ENOUGH! I silently scream, wondering when our family’s standards took such a nosedive.

“We need to get a new dishwasher,” I pronounce to my husband, pointing to Foam Lake spreading across our floor and engulfing our kitchen mat like an island.

And then he says the words that strike fear in my heart.

“I can fix that,” declares my husband, the ultimate DIYer who thinks he’s a licensed plumber after watching a five-minute tutorial on YouTube featuring some “expert” named Bubba the Wrench.

I admit, my husband is pretty handy. He’s tackled everything from electrical rewiring to tiling to woodworking. But he’s tried to fix the dishwasher once already based on Bubba’s tutorials. After just two weeks, it started foam-vomiting again. Nevertheless, he’s got renewed faith for Round Two. Of course, like all DIY projects, this one starts with my husband mapping out a strategy, writing up a list of parts needed, and making a naively hopeful proclamation of taking just one trip to the hardware store.

And, of course, like all DIY projects, this goes south real fast. After several handyman hiccups and four hardware store trips later, my husband has spent five hours and $125 in PVC pipe, insulation, a new water supply line, six bags of screws, seal replacements, and a new drain hose. This dishwasher should seal tighter than King Tut’s tomb.

Time to put this baby to the test.

We run the dishwasher, lie down for a ground-floor view, and watch it cycle through each phase, waiting to see if it regurgitates suds. After 30 minutes, our drip tray remains dry and we’re feeling pretty confident. Victory!

By the time the dishwasher hits the sanitize cycle, we think we’re home free. We’re high-fiving each other on the floor and about to get up and do a victory lap around the kitchen table — until my son walks in and asks, “Why are bubbles coming out of the garbage disposal?” We peer up from the floor to see foam slowly erupting from the sink drain like an active volcano, spewing Fresh-Linen-scented lava everywhere.

Damn you, Bubba, and your YouTube tutorials!

The moral? The next time your spouse mutters, “I can fix that,” have a professional on speed dial…just in case.

This post was written by Lisa Beach, a freelance writer and recovering homeschool mom who lived to write about it. Visit her writer’s website at

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