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Tools With Tools

September 30, 2010

I’m as madly skilled in the home reno realm as I am in the garden. That is to say, not at all. Not being handy in my family is a bit of a genetic defect – I grew up in a house that was constantly being repaired, rebuilt or restored by my dad. Workbenches, power saws and enough tools to stock a Rona surrounded me, yet none of the talent – and definitely none of the desire – to use any of it was passed down to me.

Living in the same city, it never really mattered – my dad was happy to come over and tinker with wonky lights or poly-fill any holes in the wall. But now he’s thousands of miles away and talking me through these tasks is, well, no easy task.

And where is my husband, Mr. Affleck, through all of this? Most likely he’s off playing with the kids (they don’t call him ‘fun daddy’ for nothing). He, too, grew up with a dad who knew his way around a tool kit, and if my fella starts a project, it usually turns out okay. The challenge is getting him to start anything because we can both think of a thousand things we’d rather be doing. Working on our home is something we have neither the patience to carry out nor the knowledge base to do properly.

Case in point: when we first moved to a new city in 2001, we attempted to install an IKEA light in the kitchen. It went pretty well at first and we marveled at our natural affinity for such projects. Then the ceiling caught on fire.

Another example: our first Christmas in the ‘burbs, we were tasked with putting up Christmas lights for the first time (wrapping them around a balcony railing doesn’t count). I had a vision of them lining the garage door but we couldn’t figure out how to attach them. So we decided to nail them. To the garage. With nails. Fortunately, we didn’t get very far before we realized the folly of our plan (and yes, we now use those little plastic clip thingies).

Granted, these examples were a long time ago. Since then, my husband has installed new light switches and faucets, and the house is still standing/hasn’t flooded, so we’ve definitely improved in our home improvement prowess. We’ve even painted a couple of rooms. The problem for us is, we didn’t particularly enjoy doing it.

Now the main level of our house needs to be painted and we’re bringing in the experts. And while the paint dries, I’m totally gonna get them to re-caulk my shower.

This is not us. But it very easily could be.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 2:54 pm

    DIY projects scare the bejeezus out of me. I know nothing and my husband knows next to nothing about anything in this realm. He has two friends how ‘helped’ him ( I think the my husbands job was to hold the flashlight or something) install all of our ceiling fans and I still cringe turning them on for fear they are going to come flying off the ceiling.

    We’ve been talking for about 18 months about getting handles for our kitchen cabinets and still they stand bare because we don’t know what to do. That is how remedial we are.

  2. September 30, 2010 3:26 pm

    If nothing else, know that you’ve made me feel better about my ineptitude… 🙂

  3. September 30, 2010 4:35 pm

    lol – everyone has made some mistakes at some point. Just be safe and learn. If you don’t know how to do something seek out those that are in the know for some help.

  4. September 30, 2010 6:07 pm

    I can paint, but, like you, I don’t really enjoy it. I’m banned from electrical projects after I electrocuted myself twice before I figured out not to put both wires on the same screw when “fixing” a lamp.

    And I wish I could find my adorable photo of MathMan. He’d fallen through the ceiling quite like the photo above and I have a shot of him flipping me the bird through the whole in the ceiling.

  5. September 30, 2010 11:24 pm

    ‘then the ceiling caught on fire’ – ha! I am right there with you (and Andrea for that matter). And my husband too. We literally save projects for when his dad comes to visit. Who do you think expertly strung our Christmas light last year? In fact, every time I see a picture of my sister-in-law’s gorgeously painted rooms or her beautiful crown molding (she obviously lives in the vicinity of her father), I get a jealous rage coming on. And then I go sit down in the TV room with the burned out light bulbs and watch something mindless and it subsides.

  6. October 1, 2010 7:45 am

    Frig. My sister also has a place in great shape…

  7. October 1, 2010 10:28 am

    I bought new hinges for the bathroom cabinet yesterday. AND I put them on myself. One door – it opens. My work here is done. Call me if you need hinge help because I’m now a pro.

  8. October 1, 2010 5:34 pm

    When I visit my family they always have a list for me to do. Of course they bribe me and tell me what a talent I am (talented at replacing a toilet, hmmmm….) and how grateful they are. When I try and teach my sister how to do these things she mutters something like, ‘I think the kitchen is on fire, gotta run!’ and leaves me to do the nasty work. Keep naive on the DIY, it sucks to know!

    • October 3, 2010 10:41 am

      My goodness, Molly – that’s a beautiful sweater you’re wearing today…and did you do something with your hair? It looks fabulous…

      Any chance you want to stop by and impress me with your fantastic DIY prowess…?

      • October 4, 2010 4:21 pm

        I am so NOT showing off (hee, hee, yes I am!). But I will not hem your jeans, copy and sew your favorite dress in 4 different colors, weld your porch railing back together, put new shingle on your roof or install a bigger window so you can see your roses in the backyard!
        And by the way, thanks, I just got the Brazilian Blowout done on my hair- glad you noticed…….

  9. October 3, 2010 10:24 am

    I did not paint one room in our current house. And while I didn’t feel the same satisfaction I did when I completed the white picket fence mural on my then 5-year-old daughter’s pink sponge-painted room (I painted that part too), I’ll was able to walk without a stooped back, so that’s a plus! Oh, and I have photos of the mural, so there is proof that I once sacrificed my back for daughter’s enjoyment, am thinking that gets me out of ever having to do something like that again.

    • October 3, 2010 10:40 am

      Ha – I did an under-the-sea mural for my son’s room. It looks like something from one of those Hostel movies and gave him nightmares for a year.

  10. October 3, 2010 11:29 am

    MY dad is a dismal handyman/Christmas light stringer/novice plumber/hammer-holder. When I was a kid, if we saw my dad with a tool, we ran for the hills. I can’t even tell you how many times he nearly flooded us out of the house trying to “fix” a pipe.

    This SHOULD mean that I would take an interest in handywork or fix-it-ness, but I am worse than my dad. And my husband is worse than me (it takes him 12 hours to hang a picture).

    So me and my house are totally screwed.

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  1. Welcome To My Nightmare « Lori Dyan
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