Fix It? Forget it! (ms)

A long long time ago we bought our first house. For those who have never had such a pleasure it is a remarkable event in life second only to the birth of a child.

The process is fairly simple: you scrimp to save your down payment, spend endless hours visiting homes on the market, more hours negotiating the price and finally sign a stack of papers equal to a few trees. Oh, the thrill of it all!

We stood on the stoop of our new home and secretly I wondered, “What the heck did we just do?” What we did was put ourselves into debt for a large portion of our lives and opened me to projects the likes of which I’d never seen before. It quickly became obvious to me that when you own your own home you have only two choices when it comes to repairs or improvements: get someone to do it or do it yourself, perhaps with the help of well-meaning friends or relatives. Of course hiring someone is going to cost money so the only real answer, at that tender stage of things, is to do it yourself whether or not someone shows up to help and whether or not you really know what you’re doing.

One of the first things I did was to go out and buy some tools for I had nothing to speak of in that area. I bought stuff I knew I needed, thought I needed, imagined I needed. I bought stuff that looked like I might need it. Foolishly I never bought a book that told me how half the stuff was used.

In an equally foolish move I did not buy a book that told what I needed to do to fix something. The world is not kind to those who blunder into Fix It Land without a road map but I was late to learn just how cruel it could be.

By the time I came to a plumbing project I had done a few things and confidently figured it could not be that hard. Cut some pipe, solder some pipe; how tough could that be? Of course it can be tough which is why I learned early on that money spent on a competent plumber was money more than well spent. Way back in the First House Era though I was young and dumb and thought there was no challenge too big. Plumbing was too big, way too big.

I worked for hours one night measuring, cutting and soldering pieces of pipe together for a clothes washer hookup. I put it all together, turned the water on and in an instant I was standing in a monsoon. I think it took me just three more tries before I got the whole thing to work. I’ve had the name of a good plumber on my speed dial ever since. No need to tempt fate.

There are many things besides plumbing I no longer do. The enthusiasm seems to have worn off maybe because I’ve had to do so many things there is no longer a challenge to anything. Perhaps I’ll try some plumbing just to give me something to do. My plumber will be most happy to hear that; he has two kids coming of college age.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on February 9, 2012.

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