Tobe Frank: Life is a List

Lists, lists everywhere.

Some be crap, some be fair

Some are short,

Some are long,

Lists be living after I’m gone.

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To be frank, I’m generally a fan of the list, but every now and then, lists take over…and you need a list of lists to manage your list, kind of like a contents page.

There are many types of lists, but for us blokes, there’s three general categories those lists can fall into.

There’s the Everyday List – mow the lawns, wash the cars, clean the pool, pick up some wine, set the bear traps – all of the items on these lists can generally be done with no fuss, at anytime with little fear of failure, except if you choose the wrong wine or don’t get enough of it, in which case, fear…fear very much. They are everyday chores you’ve done a million times before, they’re just on a list so you remember to do them. Sometimes a game of footy gets in the way, but you eventually get around to it. I also find that this list seems to be written on a never-ending roll of dunny paper…it just goes on and on and you’d swear you’re doing some of these things just for the hell of it, maybe to get out of the house after buying incorrect beverage.

There’s the list of things you know how to do, but don’t want to do them, like painting, cleaning the gutters, painting, oiling the decks and painting. Did I mention painting? Clearly I hate painting. I know how to do it – have painted plenty of rooms and houses over my lifetime – and it’s not particularly all that hard. I just hate it. I would probably rather pick my eyebrows out with pair of hot tweezers than paint; oh and I’m talking about walls, doors, windows and stuff like that, not painting something for the sake of art, that’s different: that’s the sort of painting I would do to avoid painting. This type of list is actually authored by the missus for you. Blokes’d never start a list with things like painting on it. The list is created in response to, or lack there of, her constant whinging, “when are you going to fix that?” I only pick up the paint brush when I can’t physically bear to hear it one more time.

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Then there’s the list of things you’re not really sure how to do, but wouldn’t mind giving them a go, knowing that you probably shouldn’t, aware that you’ll probably balls it up, preconditioned to the fact that you’ll probably break something. Knowing all too well that it’s gonna cost you more to get professional help to come in and fix it than if you had just put calling them to do it in the first place on your everyday list above. I have quite a few things on this list at the moment, or should I say, I tackled a few things on this list which ultimately meant my other two lists have gotten bigger as a result. Let me explain.


So, the toilet developed a leak, which might actually have been cisternal tears given the dodgy vindaloo I had last night. Now, plumbing has never been my strong suit. I’ve had plenty of prior failures that should have been forewarning enough not to attempt any cheapskate DIY plumbing repairs. Just put ‘call the plumber’ on the everyday list and move on to the next item. But I have friends who are super handy, and doing this sort of thing is a piece of cake for them. Surely I can have a go? How hard can it be? I’ll have a poke around, undo a few nuts here and screws there and I’ll stop if I’m not sure…CRACK!…what the bleedin’ hell was that. Sh%t…I wonder if I can replace this part or whether I’ll have to replace the whole bloody toilet?


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Two hours, three stores and $50 bucks later I was ready to have another go with a brand new flushing mechanism (which I don’t think was the sorce of said leak in the first place). Screw, screw, put this back here, that back there, what’s this for, screw, screw, tighten, tighten. Flush the toilet…water sprays up to the ceiling. F word, S word. F word. Turn tap off. Back to shop to replace 50c washer that dimwit didn’t think was important. Repeat above steps, flush toilet, no leak, mop ceiling, cover tracks and check that insurance policy covers accidental internal flooding caused by dimwit husband who is too cheap to call licensed plumber.


So on this occasion I think I’ve come out ahead. Sure, I might have lost 4 hours of my life and $50.50 but we all know it costs at least $150 just to get a plumber to look at your toilet (with a look at his crack typically thrown in for free). However I was not counting on the emotional cost, which has really taken a toll. I am now paranoid every time I open the front door that I’ll be swept away by a wall of water gushing down the stairs. Every time I’m having a tinkle, I step away from the loo before pushing the half flush button with a long stick, just in case it explodes in my face…who knows what could happen with a full flush requirement! The missus is at least happy that I’ve migrated my No2’s to the backup toilet…downstairs.

Anyway, the list goes on. Some things are OK, fun even, like cleaning the garage, because I know I’ll throw some tunes on, have a good few beers for company and get lost in the garage for a good few hours, rifling through and reminiscing about shite we’re yet to part with.

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Now what’s next…ah yes, re-wiring the ceiling fan.


Do you have to help around the house? What is the funniest/most frustrating thing that has happened whilst doing some DIY?