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Column: Waiting room good place to get handyman advice

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Last week I poked a little fun at my doctor, the ribbing the result of a questionnaire I was asked to fill out right before my blood test.

I had to go back a few days later for my annual checkup, which meant it was time for me to get poked.

New federal guidelines require that every poke you get be documented on your medical records. I always thought that PP on my health insurance forms meant Preferred Provider, but apparently it’s Preferred Poker.

My doctor, by the way, is not very up-to-date on things. I don’t mean his scientific knowledge or the high-tech gadgetry in his office. I’m talking about the periodicals in the waiting room, which provide me an annual opportunity to catch up on Life magazine.

One piece of reading matter that caught my attention was The Family Handyman. The lead story was: “Five Great Sawhorse Designs.” I couldn’t wait to read it, because off the top of my head, I could only think of four.

Also on the cover was “How to Make a Screw Organizer from a Leftover Piece of PVC Pipe.” I didn’t want to read too much exciting stuff like this since it can temporarily raise your blood pressure before they slap the cuff on you.

I turned to a feature story about what to do if your Gorilla Glue gets hard in the tube and also one on how to dig post holes in sandy soil. I read both of those carefully; after 32 years, Mary Ellen and I are always looking for something new to talk about.

There was a three-page spread on “How to Cure a Sick Ceiling Fan.” What would the fan be complaining of? Periodic dizziness?

One piece was called Best Advice for DIYers. I thought it was going to be about how to successfully drink and drill at the same time. Then I discovered that a DIY is a do-it-yourselfer.

Another entry was titled: “How to Make a Hidden Cutting Board.” I can never find ours when we need it, so I decided to skip that kitchen improvement project.

The best read was “Maintaining Your Chimney.” It begins with a list of what you will need to do the job, stuff found around most houses. You need brushable crown sealer, chimney water repellent and a stainless steel chimney cap. I had all of that in the garage except for the brushable crown sealer, the chimney water repellent and a stainless steel chimney cap.

Another article began: “Trying to run fish tape through an insulated stud bay can be a nightmare.” You have to have a pretty dull imagination if this is what you have bad dreams about.

The regular monthly column was how to make your own tools — a way to either save money or create a gadget not available in hardware stores. In this issue the author showed how to take a long flexible piece of tubing and attach a flashlight at the end for work in dark, hard-to-reach places, as in a do-it-yourself plumbing project.

It was really a neat gizmo, but I ripped the page out and tossed it in the trash. My next colonoscopy is coming up in 2013, and with all the cost-cutting in medicine, the fewer doctors who know about this the better.

Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal.

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