The minute I became a homeowner, I started to realize that this former city boy had better learn to do some of the minor repairs and renovations himself, or be willing to sacrifice a few perks and frills such as food and clothing. (Look at this, I put myself in the third party!) The cost of hiring people to do all this stuff is astronomical! But I'm sure you all know that, right?! One of the first things I tackled was installing louvered shutters. I got so good at it I wanted to put an ad in the paper. But even though I was becoming an ace at installing multiple hinges, there just weren't that many people using shutters any more, and even if I did all of them, I'd be finished and out of business in a week.
Just as I was becoming a little too cocky with the hinge thing, I had to repair and install new bedroom doors. Well that was a humbling experience. After ruining two doors, I finally got help from a neighbor and by the third door, with the shimming and the straightening and the leveling, I finally got one door up and managed to do the other two by myself. I couldn't return the first two doors, because I had too many holes in them, so not being wasteful, I found a use for them.
I called the wife to see the new innovative look and said, "Honey, come look at what I made for you." She stared at it and said, "That's really nice, honey…but why did you hang doors on the wall?" I said, "Can't you see the beauty of it, Hon? It'll be like a temporary divider between the living room and the dining room. You can open it to give the illusion of two separate rooms, and close it when we have a lot of people over." Her eyes were saying to me "That's nice, honey, but take them down!". "Honey please don't make me take them down, it took me hours to get them PLUMB!" She asked, "What does that mean, plumb?" "It means, straight, level, even,” I tell her. She asks, "Why can't you just say that?" "Because you can't, according to the handy-man's manual horizontal is LEVEL and vertical is PLUMB!" Now she's thinking "I should've never bought him that HANDY-MAN Repair manual" but her eyes are armor piercing and shouting "TAKE IT DOWN NOW!"
Soon after I paneled the living room, snaked a clogged sink, and thanks to the SATURDAY morning "HOW-TO" shows, found myself replacing my 5&10 cent store tools, with some of the semi-pro, SEARS variety. By the time I graduated to POWER tools, such as a circular saw, drill, power screwdriver, it was time to start work on my new deck.
I'm not kidding; I built a three level deck! Well, I didn't actually do it all by myself, but I learned by working side-by-side with a friend of mine. I couldn't have done it without him, and HIS power tools. But I learned by doing, and my confidence level was going through the roof. I was now ready to tackle those walls my wife has been trying to get me to take down for the last couple of years. Even she was confident in me! She was so thrilled with the results of all the work I was doing around the house, that on my last birthday she bought me a power miter saw. I freaked out! I am probably the only comedy writer in the tri-state area with his own power miter saw!
I paid her back by building her a wooden stoop, complete with multi-level planters, just in time for Mother's Day! The problem was that I became compulsive! Did you know that if you stain wood, any kind of wood, it can look like furniture? So I recycled all of the wood that was left from when I took down the walls, and built my wife an entertainment center for our basement. Then I made frames for my paintings, all with PERFECT MITERS! I was driving my family crazy and running out of things to build. One day we were at a friend’s house and he was showing us how he built laundry chutes for every room, using the spare ductwork that the central air conditioning guy left around. I looked at my wife and her eyes were saying "DON'T YOU DARE!"
My new motto is "WHY BUY IT, WHEN YOU CAN MAKE IT YOURSELF?!"
I just took some of that recycled wood, stained it and made something for the little woman. I hope she likes it. So I give it to her, she smiles and says, "Honey, I LOVE IT!", but her eyes are saying ...."WHAT IS IT?!?"