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 firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/notpatbagley.