I am a master of the work-around, which is a way of circumventing a problem with only a temporary fix.

“Why don’t you just fix the damn problem in the first place?” a perfectionist, with furrowed brow and a smirk, may rationally ask. Depending on the day, my answer might be:

1. Too expensive.

2. Contractors don’t take on minor jobs.

3. Work-arounds make me look busy and creative.

4. Good question.

For example, one of our overnight guests who visited us in Tenants Harbor complained about the downstairs shower that gushed cold water with hardly any warm water.

After an attempt to diagnose and fix it, my work-around advice to our guests was, “Use our upstairs shower instead.” Problem solved until we had a disabled guest who couldn’t climb stairs and shower for several days.

I then called a plumber, who promptly yelled up from the basement, “Who the hell is your heating contractor? They installed something we’ve never seen before.” After two expensive trips, they couldn’t solve it either. But they suggested a work-around, which involved closing a valve here and a valve there, and then making sure I switch off the power to the thing they had never seen before, and IN THAT EXACT ORDER, they emphasized.

Of course, that took care of the singular downstairs shower problem, but every other faucet in our house then had mostly cold water and stingy warm water until our downstairs guests got clean. Then I had to do another work-around, in the exact reverse order.

Then there was a leaky kitchen faucet. I got my fancy tool bag with screwdrivers, pliers, tape measures and other fancy thingamajigs. It had metastasized into a jumble, like a male version of a pocketbook with stuff I might need once every two years. But I found a sliver of white plumbers’ tape and a decent pair of pliers and went to work.

I then created two work-arounds instead of fixing the drip problem.

My pliers bent the aerator while taking it off, and the plumbers’ tape did nothing to stop the drips. So, work-around no. 1: I wedged the hot water faucet up slightly with a small brush that sits on top of a small dish and moved the spigot a little to the right to stop the drip. Work-around no. 2: I waited for the non-aerated fizzy water in a glass to settle down before serving it to guests. Jesus.

Our upstairs shower head also dripped. I tried plumber’s tape, which did nothing, and then tightened several whatevers. My wife found that if you cocked the shower head up just so after turning the water off, it mostly stopped dripping. Mostly. Another successful work-around, I thought. But the occasional drip from the up high spigot made a loud “tink” when it hit the tub floor, which kept her awake at night.

I finally broke down and called the plumbing service again, but now the receptionist requested I send over a video clip of the drips so they could see its frequency and then determine the urgency of the matter. Did this mean a faucet surgery that required an emergent visit? It made sense to the company, which was very busy, and it kind of did to me too. Kind of.

With my super-pixelated phone camera, I positioned myself in front of the shower and waited for the drips. One finally developed at the end of the faucet, hung there by a thread for some seconds, and reluctantly let loose to drop and “tink” into the tub. I knew no self-respecting plumber would feel compelled to fix a drip that happened every 15 seconds.

I gave up.

I finally hit upon what I thought was a great idea. We needed new toilets anyway, so I called the plumbers again and ordered two new turbocharged/low-flow, comfort-height ones. When they showed up to install, I figured I would ask them to fix the drips. No more work arounds.

On new toilet day the plumbers came, they installed, and they left. The new low-flow but turbocharged comfort height toilets were so fascinating that I forgot to ask the plumbers about fixing the drips.

I want to assure Knox County readers, though, that I never do electrical work-arounds at my house. My mantra is always, “Call an electrician to fix that outlet!” I don’t screw around with safety stuff.

But I must admit my personal health care tends to be a work-around at first.

Like when I put a power driver through my thumb and there was just a little bit of blood.

“Just get me a bandage and I’ll be fine,” I said to my wife with confidence.

“Why didn’t you come in earlier?” the doctor asked a week later in the emergency department. He shook his head as he looked at the nasty stuff oozing from around my thumb, now swollen to the size of a small cucumber. “I need to schedule you for surgery.”

I am a late learner about work-arounds, but I swear I’m gaining on it.

Mike Skinner is a writer who lives in Tenants Harbor. Skinner was a medic in the U.S. Army, a hospital executive, and a college educator. He is the author of “My Life as a Non-Valedictorian,” available through Maine Authors Publishing, local bookstores, and Amazon and Kindle.