It's no fun being incompetent at multiple tasks. I know that statement is true because it applies to me.

It's no fun being incompetent at multiple tasks. I know that statement is true because it applies to me.

When I make such a broad and sweeping statement it probably sounds like I'm a total oaf. Such is not the case, although I'm far, far closer to the designation of “total oaf” when it comes to performing simple household tasks than I am to being a certifiable “handyman.”

As to performing general vehicle maintenance, I'm somewhat proficient at using a tire pressure gauge, at least when I can find it in the glove box.

To my credit, I can generally find the hood release on both the cars I own, although finding the secondary release that's located inside the front grill has proven a challenge at times.

And once the hood is raised, well, lets just say I do little prodding and probing out of fear that a functioning car will quickly become a big paperweight if I'm too curious.

My inability to make a simple diagnosis on one of my cars almost proved costly recently. Nancy, my wife, and I were set to carpool to work one morning, but when I turned the key nothing happened – no grunts, no growls … nothing.

I feared something significant had gone wrong with the ignition system. I was prepared to have the car towed to a repair shop when my future son-in-law, Nick, asked if he could take a look at the car. After roughly five minutes he diagnosed the problem as the battery. A jump start and new battery later and the vehicle was once again reliable, no thanks to me.

When it comes to performing household tasks I seem to have a God-given ability to turn even the simplest of chores into formidable undertakings.

While certified to use a plunger, any plumbing work that requires any more hardware than a plunger is beyond me. And while I know the difference between a hammer and saw, with good reason I'm rarely asked to use either when a carpentry project pops up around the Henley hacienda.

With that background shared you can imagine how I felt a couple of weeks ago when I learned a “handyman” excursion had been finalized to the new home of my son, Jacob. Nancy, who owns our family's lone tool belt, was prepared to do a considerable amount of painting. Our oldest son, Caleb, who was going to accompany us on our mission of helpfulness, had a handful of electrical projects. As for me, the man of limited household talents, it appeared I would be designated the task of keeping my 3-year-old granddaughter occupied, although it could also be said Evelyn was going to be assigned with keeping her Grandpa Danny occupied.

However, when it came for the work to begin I found myself with an assignment – bush trimming. It seemed an ideal chore for me. I was given hand clippers, which greatly reduced the likelihood of injuring myself. And because the bushes I was to hack on were in the backyard, I was assumed I could cut them as close to the ground as I could without anyone screeching, “Oh my goodness, what have you done?”

Joining me in bush bashing was my daughter-in-law, Whitney. It soon became apparent that Whitney, despite being seven months pregnant, was a Grade A bush trimmer. In no time at all she had amassed three formidable piles of branches, to my one pile of comparable size.

While Whitney said I was far neater when it came to trimming, she was just being nice because the name of the game on that early summer's day was volume, not artistry. Consequently, I had to give Whitney a pat on the back and salute her for her obvious talent as a “bushwhacker.”

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.