I’m not a handyman, nor do I portray one on television.
I am, however, a guy, and like most guys I find numerous projects around the house that need to be done. Rather, I don’t find them , they typically find me. Plumbing, woodwork, tile work, painting, yard work, whathaveyou rears its ugly head and glares at me every time I walk by until I break down and drag out (or go buy) whatever tools I need to, well, get the job done. Back when I lived in an apartment, if something needed to be fixed or repaired, I’d just call the apartment manager and let maintenance deal with the problem. However, I’ve since come to realize that I had been fortunate in my choice of apartment complexes as management went out of its way to get things done in a timely manner.
Now, though, either I deal with it or hire someone else to do so, and that can get expensive quickly when most projects are considered “doable” by—well—large chain hardware stores that want to sell you lots of supplies to finish those “easy to do” home projects. Come in, and they’ll show you how.
Right. Yeah, they’ll show you how to slide your credit card through the card reader as they wave you out the door.
When it comes to DIY around the house, unless it’s painting (and by painting, I mean slapping paint on metal miniatures, which doesn’t count as a “home” project, does it?), I pretty much suck at it. I can guarantee that whatever the project is, I’ll blow it all out of proportion and take at minimum twice the required time to finish it. Huh, just like a certain handyman on a television show quite a few years back. But where he was always trying to improve his projects, I’m just trying to finish the project and have it look at least somewhat presentable.* Unfortunately, most of my projects wind up looking like they were completed by a bunch of kindergartners locked in the frenzy of a post-Halloween sugar rush.
Awhile back I’d had to replace several washers in the bathroom faucets. What should have been a one hour job wound up taking the better part of the weekend. After removing the faucet handle, I couldn’t get the nut loosened to release the valve and corroded washers. I oiled it, let it sit, shoved on the wrench, and had no success in moving the darned thing. That happened to be a day that several friends were coming over for weekly gaming sessions, so they volunteered to help.
Which leads to the joke: How many gaming nerds does it take to fix a faucet? Four. Three to take turns shoving on a wrench trying to loosen the valve while one stands by and laughs at the others.
Well, we finally got the thing repaired, and the next day I discovered the sink in the hall bathroom needed to be fixed as well. Actually, it still needs to be fixed but right now it works (though leaks around the handle) so I’m not jumping around trying to get that project finished.
Currently, I’m in the middle of re-caulking the windows and doors around the house. I say in the middle because the other day I managed to finish four bedroom windows . . . in three hours.** I’ve about eight windows and doors to go, and, while the caulk came off relatively easily (small pieces, occasional strips), the caulk application looks like a two-year-old got into the frosting while the cake sat on the table to cool. I have caulk smeared across the brickwork, the window frame, the sill. My wife looked at it and said, “Eh, who cares? It’s on the back of the house and nobody’s going to look at it there.”
But I’ll know it’s there, and I’m a serious, Type A personality, procrastinating perfectionist. Every time I look at it, it’ll nag me that I should have done a better job. So now I get to figure how to clean up the mess I’ve made.***
The back fence leans like a drunk at a stop sign, only upright because the sign is there. I have a sneaking suspicion that termites are involved, which means calling in a professional. To kill off termites, definitely, maybe even another to repair or replace the fence although I’ve been told that putting in a fence is a fairly simple job.
Something that should take only an afternoon.
*Not that it really matters. My wife and I have pretty much decided that since we had the house built we’ll likely stay here, but things change and we might have to move at some point, so having my various projects at least appear done by someone semi-competent should help with potential selling. Errr, I think.
** Hmmm, I seem to recall most handyman-type websites and such I’ve researched indicating caulking doors and windows to be done in a single afternoon.
***Current thoughts are taking a knife and straight edge to the caulked areas, cutting away everything needs to be removed and (hopefully) leaving in tact what needs to stay. But if you have a better idea, I’ll listen.