As a teen, I once solved a Rubek’s Cube with a 12-gauge pump shotgun. Last month, I toyed with the idea of using the same method on one of those brain-twisting, sadistic chore puzzles: How to fix a wooden shutter.

One of the shutters on The House was rapidly becoming a shell of its former self, the slats becoming separated and falling to the ground.

The Bride told me to fix it. So that left me alone vs. The Shutter in a classic chess match.

All I had to do was outmaneuver and outthink an inanimate, green object.

It was a challenge.

I bought a cheap wooden mallet and some aluminum wire and went to work, slamming my mallet up and down the frame.

Instead of securing the slats, however, I only sent more flying. So I unfastened The Shutter and moved it to the porch, leaving a trail of green slats behind me.

Then I began putting the slats back in The Shutter and hammering along the frame.

I’d get the slats in place, move down and repeat the process…but at the expense of previously secured slats. One slat secure, two slats flying. And my $4.95 roll of aluminum wire wasn’t one of my best ideas.

Profusely sweating now, I realize I’m in a bind. Knight takes bishop. Check. I decide to rethink my chess match. I think: Why do we need shutters anyway?

On the way back to the hardware store, I decide to use a clamp to secure both sides of The Shutter.

My neighborhood hardware man’s largest clamp is eight inches. I’m pretty sure that is too small. I realize I should have measured The Shutter first, so I buy nothing and head back to the porch. No one has stolen my disassembled shutter. Darn!

I find a tape measure in the Junk Drawer. I need a 15-inch clamp. I head to another hardware store – Trip No. 3, if you’re scoring at home – only to find myself drawn away from the clamps and vises toward the 12-gauge shotguns.

At last, I find long clamps and buy two. I also locate some Black Stovepipe Wire and, being a fan of black stovepipes, I buy some.

Back home, I move my temporary workshop to the back patio and proceed to secure one section of slats, slamming them in tightly with my trusty mallet, securing them with my clamps and trussing them up with my wire.

It works like a charm, I move easily in sections, taking my time, laughing at any shutter that thought it could outsmart me.

At last, The Shutter is finished. It looks brand new.


I fasten The Shutter next to the window and wait for The Bride to praise my accomplishment. She walks outside, surveys The Shutter and returns with her report:

“Good job, honey!” she says. “But I think it’s upside down.”