I’m often complaining about my house and the various projects it forces upon me. I find myself wishing the lawn didn’t always need mowing, or the garage floor wouldn’t get so messy. Or the shed wouldn’t get so cluttered.
In truth, I need those projects. One of the down-sides of a desk job is the lack of activity during the day. My nervous tics don’t cut it. Being a knowledge worker is not a kinetic activity, and I need a certain amount of “hands-on” in my life.
Projects around the house may be physically demanding, but there is a definite satisfaction that comes from completing them. And often, there is a repeat pay-off, as it’s work I can see, can touch. At work I get a bit a sense of satisfaction over a new block of code that works well, but there are seldom physical reminders–just the next bit of work to be done. A month later I still get a bit of a lift from seeing my completed fence looking so good. A clean garage doesn’t thrill for as long, but that’s another matter entirely. It just refuses to stay clean very long.
Home projects also often involve learning how to do something new. Before I became a homeowner there’s a lot of things I didn’t know how to do. Replace a faucet? Not a problem, now. Dig fencepost holes? I know quite a few tricks for various soil conditions now. Build a shed? Sure, I can do that. I’ve accumulated a fair amount of knowledge (and tools) over the years.
This was brought home a few weeks ago. We just got new neighbors; a nice young family from out of state. They’ve never had to worry about sprinkler systems before, and when my wife talked to them to let them know they had a broken head the husband was a bit perplexed what to do about it. My wife promised I’d drop by and take a look. Sure enough, when I did I could tell right away what was likely the problem and was able to advise him on what to do about it. I also assured him that if he ran into any trouble I probably had the tools to deal with it.
A few days later he showed up at the door, a sprinkler head in hand. He’d been removing the damaged head and accidentally snapped off the riser pipe inside the T-joint, and now couldn’t get the broken part of the riser out. I just smiled knowingly and led him out to the garage where I had just the tool to loan him.
So I do have to thank the three houses I’ve owned for teaching me a good portion of everything I know about home repairs. Being able to take care of things like that instead of having to call a professional has saved us a fair bit of money through the years, no matter how frustrating they may have been to me. I’m not quite ready to go into business as a handyman, necessarily, but I’m glad for what I’ve been able to learn.
I still for the life of me can’t figure out what’s wrong with my phone wiring, though. That’s one project I can’t quite bring myself to tackle.