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Kirby: My house would like to see me dead
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Robert Kirby had the day off. This is a reprint of an earlier column.

Last summer, I built a bathroom in my home. I did the entire thing myself except for the electrical and plumbing. I wanted to do those, too, but bitter experience has taught my wife not to let me.

It's an old person's bathroom. It features a comfortable commode, a walk-in shower with a bench, a special nonskid floor, an extra-wide door and even handrails on the soap dish.

The geezer john, as I call it, is my first major concession to the fact that my parts are starting to come apart. If I don't need all this stuff right now, I soon will.

I started thinking about the new bathroom a couple of years ago when I suddenly realized that my house was trying to kill me.

The first clue was that stairs had suddenly become more treacherous. I've always had a problem with them, but blamed it at various times in my life on drink, insomnia, absentmindedness and even a pathological oafishness.

Lately, though, stairs had become evil. Twice in as many weeks, I descended into our basement almost entirely on my face.

If you're thinking I should have used the handrail to prevent these falls, you can stop. I pulled it out of the wall on the way down.

It isn't just stairs. Shelves had become equally contrary. When I try to reach stuff on them, it's either too high or jumps off onto my head.

The only thing a stepladder could help me find is a concussion, so I keep everything on the floor now where I can reach it when I feel like bending over.

Drafts also have become more noticeable. My house weighs four tons more than it did when I bought it three years ago, almost all of it caulk.

I try not to think about the backyard, which was spacious when we bought the place but is now the size of Montana. And it'll get bigger with age.

Finally, I caught myself using one of those squeeze-grabber things for something other than putting the cat outside.

Bob Valdez hates the grabber because I can reach him with it when he runs under the bed. Bob says it's a felony now.

I say it's just a form of mechanical petting.

But yesterday I used the grabber to reach a DVD so I wouldn't have to put down my Cream of Wheat and get up from the recliner.

So, I'm making a list of ways to coot-proof my house. It's a big list and I'll need to get to it while I'm still lucid enough to remember everything.

I can see a pen on the floor, but I can't find my grabber.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/notpatbagley.

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