Saturday, August 30, 2008

How it all began

Our first house was a small ranch. Something we could afford that didn’t look like it needed any work. It was perfect! Silly us, we should have been suspicious when the sellers jumped on our counter offer like a pair of hungry wolves. Let the buyer beware. As the band-aids started falling off, we soon saw how much work this little money pit really needed. The only thing I had going for me was the desire to do it all myself – the fact that I couldn’t afford to pay anyone might have had a little to do with it. On a positive note, this is the only way to learn about how to make maintenance repairs, home improvements and remodeling. Add to this that little fact that you can save a king’s ransom by doing these projects yourself and that sense of pride when things get completed.
“How do I start? I have no tools, no experience and I cannot afford to hire contractors. This house is beginning to overwhelm me. I didn’t realize all the repairs that would be required when I bought it.”
Does this sound familiar? For many it does. Not many of us can afford a full time maintenance man to take care of the day to day repairs of a house—that’s what you’re there for! Well, that’s what your wife thinks and we all know, whatever your wife thinks—is! So, what’s the solution? Either make more money or do what I did—learn how to repair stuff! If you’re reading this, chances are you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. That’s a good first step. Let’s hope you don’t faint over the sight of your own blood. I’ve had to make more than one trip to the emergency room during my home improvement projects. Actually, I’ve sustained more injuries working at home than I have in over 25 years of working in construction.
Still here? OK, for those of you who were not scared away, let’s get started. When I bought my first house, I was still working as an electrician. I did not have much experience in the carpentry field, but I loved the smell of wood—cutting it, sanding it—I just like to work with it. All I had was a circular saw. You’d be surprised what you could do with just this one tool.
Let’s talk tools; do you like them? Want to have a wood shop with an impressive assortment of tools? Yea, every man does – it’s like shoes to women! Every time I drool over, I mean need a new tool for my next project, I just explain to my wife how much it would cost to hire a contractor and voila – another power tool in my stable.

Well, that’s how it started. That first house gave me the confidence to perform all my own home repairs. Actually, by the end of the ten years we lived in that little ranch, I completely renovated the entire house and added a playroom in an unused attic. Then what did I do? Sold it and bought another house twice the size as the first with twice as much work. Yep, time to start all over again. This time, with four kids that are very active in sports and dance. Yes, this is going to be very interesting.