It’s always something. Whether it is a leak in the window, carpenter bees boring holes in my wood (I’ve killed over 15 at this point) or a light burning out, there’s always some bullshit that needs attention.
Back home, my family owns a hardware store. I’ve worked quite a few times for my uncle doing some home improvements, backsplashes, bathroom demolition… you name it, and I’ve been a lackey for it. So when my new town home requires something, a little Google goes a long way, unless it’s electrical in which case, I give my guy Peter a call.
The one trend I’ve noticed is no matter how prepared I feel for a job, there always seems to be something missing. Even the smallest repair or improvement takes several trips to Lowe’s. When my buddy Peter put my garbage disposal in, we went to Lowe’s three different times due to the wiring, pipe fitting, etc. and the dude is a master electrician. When I was growing up, if I needed batteries, a lightbulb, some mulch or whatever, the family store would hook us up. Need to borrow a sander or a jigsaw? A reciprocating saw? Hell, any tool I needed, I could just ask and my dad would bring one home. If we ever needed any tools or materials, we knew someone or we’d do it ourselves. My one uncle was especially handy. Now, I either have to buy everything or borrow it from a friend, and I am very fortunate to have people like my man Peter.
Everyone has something they’ve always wanted. Some people want a sports car, to go backpack Europe or to do two chicks at the same time. For me, it’s to have a home garden. My backyard is tiered by hills, so I spent a long time digging into the hill to make the garden, cutting the wood, nailing in spikes and putting in gravel. But as the project nears completion after 5-7 trips to Lowe’s, I couldn’t be happier.
The thing is, I’ve been to Lowe’s so frequently that I’ve started going to the other one across town so the people there don’t think I’m incompetent. It’s been a very pleasant experience, working together to get this thing from giant pile of dirt in the ground to an actual garden, but I’m pretty tired of going to the hardware store, to Lowe’s, the lumber yard, the nursery for grape vines, etc.
On other occasions, it’ll be something random, like the dishwasher mysteriously not going to the right settings (I’m still battling this) or a random code on the washing machine that Mrs. Madoff fixed. Don’t worry, I only felt a little emasculated, but I’m confident Google and I would have figured it out. She’s been on a painting kick lately, and seeing how the previous owners painted our house a weird mauve color and another room as Tennessee Orange (the kind that looks like a garbage worker convention and one you can’t sit with), we’ve been in a constant, never ending battle to update our humble home.
My biggest issue is that there are only so many hours in the day after work and I’d much rather hang out and drink a beer. Something I never considered when I was renting was how much upkeep a house is and that you can’t really ring up your landlord to come fix your shitter when it breaks. Even my meager backyard gets overgrown with grass and weeds three days after mowing it. Screen doors need to be replaced, light bulbs burn out and paint chips. I know it’s all regular maintenance, but it is still always something to do. We worked in the backyard in the rain and in the dark last week just because we needed to keep moving on our project.
Doing your projects yourself takes a lot of patience, time and money (you’ll generally save money if you are competent in the project). It is super rewarding as well. Rather than pay someone, Me and Mrs. Madoff, along with help-for-beer from our friend Paulie, did our entire garden ourselves. That included two grapevines, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. It may have been easier to hire someone to do it, but the sense of accomplishment, coupled with my new knowledge of where everything in Lowe’s is located, is quite fulfilling..