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Sunday, October 17, 2021




We recently had our bedroom painted.  We hired someone to do the job.  Years ago, I would have done it myself.  Years ago, I could have barely afforded the paint, now I can have someone else do it. 

I was a lousy painter.  I would leave brush marks and paint bristles on the wall.  I could barely afford the paint, do you think I used good brushes?

I inevitably found a way to spill some paint and then step in it leaving tracks before I realized what happened.

After hours of removing bristles, going over brush strokes and cleaning up after messes, I somehow actually ended up doing a decent job.

Anyway, having someone else do this job, and do it right in one third the time had me thinking of other jobs I have done, by myself, and with having no idea how to do them. 

There was no internet for directions, and I am not very good at following directions anyway.  I am more of a dive right in and do it…then undo it and try again kind of guy.

Looking back, I have no idea how I finished these jobs without any help, other than a woman standing behind me reminding me that I didn’t know what the “F” I was doing. 

Thanks for that! (Not Mrs. Cranky)

I once finished a basement…well semi-finished a basement.  I put up finished walls and wired outlets.  I must have cut and recut about 75 studs.  I needed only 40. 

Measure once, cut twice; grab a new stud and try again.

The most difficult part was attaching the base stud to the concrete floor.  I used special concrete nails but they just bounced off the hammer and damn near took out my eye.  They have a special hammer that fires off from a CO2 cartridge or something, but who could afford that.  I finally learned that a 4 pound mini-sledge/hammer could slam those nails into the concrete like a knife through butter (Not a hot knife, but good enough.)

I once created a 10 X 12-foot patio using heavy 6-inch X 4-inch pavers. 

Digging it out, spreading two layers of crushed stone and a layer of sand and then laying the pavers took me three days to finish. 

It took me 10 days to recover.  Every muscle in my body ached, my back, my legs and especially every finger. 

Don’t ever get in a fight with someone who does that job for a living!

The patio did look pretty good though.

I installed two garage door openers…without help.  Two-by-fours substituted for a helper to hold the damn thing up while I connected it to the ceiling and the garage door.  Still not sure how I did not kill myself, but the thing did work.

I also used the two-by-four trick when I installed a pull-down attic stair unit.  That involved carpentry.  Once again, I employed the measure once, cut twice method, but eventually they were in and looked/worked pretty good.

I don’t want to even talk about wall paper, refinishing furniture, electrical and plumbing installations.  Been there, done that, fucked it up and done that over again.

I rate most jobs by the number of “G-damns” I yell, and the number of trips I take to Lowes.  The average plumbing job, for instance, is a five "G-damn", three-trip project.

The thing about home projects is after you have done them and learn the correct way to do the job, you never do it again.  You are often left with some specialized tool that you will also never use again.

Anyway, enough of painful reminiscing.

These days, I’ve got a guy!


  1. We're headed in that direction. My dad was a contractor so I learned to do a lot but I am not physically capable like I used to be - I still have HOPE that once I get done with the surgery, I can once again, do all those projects. I enjoy painting and building. The husband on the other hand is STILL working on the reno tent trailer roof. I've heard him cussing - and he doesn't usually cuss! The dog is afraid to be out there with him when he is working on that trailer. I keep reminding him how proud he will be once it is done.

    The rains are starting tomorrow and the roof sits covered on the ground. December we are supposed to get the canvas tent. Time is ticking away...

  2. I'm not a do-it-yourself person, I'd rather pay someone who knows how, but I can't afford that so I live with things that need doing. Back when I had a house with resident husband and kids, things did get done without hiring someone. Hubby built us what he called a pergola, I called it a shade house, since it was separate from the house and looked like my ten year old built it. but hubby and oldest daughter together did a great job of painting the walls and laying a slate floor in the entrance and the living, dining area. although her slates were exactly level and his weren't quite, but not off enough to trip over, so that was okay.

  3. Can you caulk? Hick can do darn near anything EXCEPT caulk! It looks like a 5-year-old squeezed the caulking out of a cake frosting bag while riding a rocking horse.

    1. Caulk is hard. There's a knack to caulking which few people have.

  4. When I tried painting the house I was told I had to first take off the old layer of paint, clean the walls properly with sand paper before painting first one layer, then when it's dry another one. I never bothered. I just painted on the walls as they are.

    Over the years I painted and re-painted over old paint. I've now discovered the rooms are getting smaller with all those layers of paint on the walls. Even the mice are hunch-backed!

    God bless.

  5. Ah the joys of watching someone else work or even better, leaving and coming back to find it done. I use to tackle some things like painting but no more. Enjoy this new phase Joe.

  6. That’s a lot of impressive stuff. We’ve always done our own painting, but we are going to have two bathrooms remodeled and I think will just have them do the painting. We were actually pretty good, so will see if the professionals measure up! Ha!

    My husband is awful at plumbing. Always a leak. He blames not having the right tools.

  7. Oh boy. I am glad to hear that you've gotten to the "let someone else do it" phase. Romeo is not there yet. It took 3 months of nagging to convince him (or shut me up) that a garage should replace his shocks and struts.

  8. Every time Jack would say he would do the project I knew I would be on social security when they were finally finished. I learned that there is no such thing as an easy project. I learned when Jack said "This will be a breeze" I would start to sweat. I learned that my good Mormon hubby can swear like a Catholic on those easy breezy projects. I'm glad you learned to let others fingers do the hammering...Or painting!

  9. At least you do these things. Some men i know won't even try!

  10. I've moved from guilt to gladness on having someone else do the big projects.

  11. wow that is los of impressive stuff dear Joe :)

    i adore and respect such people (men specially) who try to do such jobs by themselves ,i believe that this is another way express themselves for them and to say " they love and they care"

    my mom did everything by herself mostly instead of my father .
    hubby is totally opposite ,he seem to look for opportunity and does the job as nicely and perfection that leaves one in wonder .but that would make me annoy in early years .