You can’t put a price tag on handyman skills, or so I’ve learned since becoming a homeowner. 

In our first home, Jeremy and I struggled with plumbing issues. We tried every do-it-yourself remedy recommended on Google to unclog the kitchen sink and dishwasher. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to loading the dishwasher rather than scrubbing scorched pans and dirty plates by hand, you become painfully aware of how much time washing dishes manually consumes!

I borrowed a 20-foot snake attached to an electric drill from dad  — a much more experienced handyman than Jeremy or me. While I felt quite accomplished once I’d figured out how to use it, the results were not long lasting and in a couple of days we were mopping up water that backed up and ran out of the dishwasher all over the kitchen floor again.

After limping along stubbornly with limited use of our kitchen sink for two weeks, I finally called a plumber. It took the gentleman less than an hour to remedy the problem. The dishwasher ran like new. No more puddles all over the floor. I’d never been happier  — or more depressed  — to pay that bill.

Fast forward to last Saturday night when the A/C went out in our new home here. We sweated as the temperature crept up slowly for a couple hours. Our super smart thermostat kept updating us on the humidity level inside  — as if we didn’t already know. My hair was a poodle-ish mess!

Jeremy tried to shut it all down and restart the unit. At that point, I imagine it pulled out a strike sign and stubbornly crossed its arms. That unit uttered not another creak, groan or shudder. It didn’t even sputter.

Thank heaven for repairmen who know what sleeping in a non-air-conditioned home in mid-August will do to a person! Our rescuing angel in a trucker cap and work boots came out about 9 p.m. and had the thing humming along fine in a half hour.

So, we wrote another check. But I didn’t mind this one at all. I may have even paid the fella more if the house had heated higher than the balmy 82 degrees we were sitting in when he came knocking. (Don’t tell him that though!)

One thing’s for sure. Handymen can name their price if you’ve been washing dishes by hand, taking showers in ankle-deep water or sweating it out, sauna style, for more than a few hours.

• Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at