Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who's up for a little home improvement?

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Many of us will enjoy the fruits of this three-day weekend through leisurely activities, and others may utilize the extra time for a bit of home improvement. I'll be engaging in the latter option, as I plan to paint the interior of our cozy little bungalow.

I'm a confident painter; I've painted a lot, and I'm patient with all the prep work, like sanding, taping, covering, washing and second-coating. In my opinion, nothing matches that satisfying final step of peeling off the masking tape to reveal a nice, straightish, dark/light paint delineation.

While painting projects cause me minimal anxiety, a sliding scale of angst exists for other home improvements, and they are as follows, in order of least stress to most:

1) Furniture assembly—Hello, IKEA, that maze of a furniture store, where no matter what type of item you purchase, you leave the store with a huge, rectangular box full of parts. The instructions contain no verbiage, only arrows and numbers, and I've accumulated about forty of those little Allen wrenches. Everything at IKEA has been given a strange Swedish name, like "Durks" or "Sprar" or "Jilks." These names probably can be translated to mean "Bruised shins" and "Sweat lots" and "One critical piece is missing."

2) Electrical/plumbing installations—I gained tons of experience at my old house, placing ceiling fans in three different rooms. My learning curve displayed my true electrical aptitude, as the fan completion times evolved from nineteen hours to eighteen hours to nineteen hours.

I also possess a bit of electrical outlet installation experience. Last time, it proved quite lucrative, as I discovered over seven dollars in change which my daughters had dropped down my plumber's crack during the seven-hour ordeal.

I don't do plumbing, with the exception of replacing toilet "guts." This can only be accomplished while the women-folk are away, as I am the sole family member capable of effectively using the backyard emergency comfort station.

3) Windows, doors and structural improvements—no way. I'm not about to take on anything where I may have to sleep all night next to a gaping hole that used to be a front door. The one exception is the door I replaced on our tool shed. Two of the best weeks of my life.

Most of my friends, including my brother, have the handyman's gene. If we were all around 150 years ago, they could have successfully pulled off that trek out west in their covered wagons, while I probably would have broken down outside of St. Louis and been forced to eat my young.

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