Do It Yourself? Maybe…

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My wife and I just completed yet another home improvement project.

Several years ago, we took up all the carpeting in the house, except for the living room and replaced it with laminate wood flooring.

But the living room carpet got pretty gross so Mama suggested we take that up and put 3/4 inch hardwood flooring in the living room.

The laminate flooring is fine for the bedrooms but high traffic areas like the kitchen, dining room  and hallway were starting to show some wear and tear.

So the oak hardwood replaced the laminate flooring in those locations, too.

We figured out the square footage we wanted to complete and ordered nearly 3 dozen 8 foot boxes of this oak flooring.

Now, you just can’t order the wood and start to install it.

It has to acclimate to the atmosphere in your home.

Directions tell you to open the boxes so the wood can breath.

Now I know why some people refer to snoring as “cutting wood”.

So, we stacked the wood in our dining room and let it get used to where we live.

It also requires some special tools we’ve never needed before.

A big pneumatic floor nailer that drives in the 2 inch nails that look like the number 7.

If you watch any of the current crop of “do-it-yourself” or home improvement shows on the tube, those “pros” make it look easy.

Too easy.

Even the YouTube videos can be deceiving.

The flooring pros grab one of these nailers and just slap their way through an entire room in next to no time.

For even the experienced “do-it-yourselfer” as we like to believe we are, there’s a noticeable gap between TV perception and the do-it-yourself world of reality.

I was helping my son-in-law with a weekend garage wiring project to install some new lights in the dark confines of the domestic auto storage facility.

It’s not really difficult work but if you watch the TV gang, they don’t show you the dropped tools or the ones you leave on a rafter AFTER you move the ladder or the wire that comes unattached after you’ve closed the box up.

Or the piece or part that breaks.

Screws and nuts, when dropped, seem to go as far as they have to prevent you from easily reaching them.

It might not make good TV but it is my reality.

Some of those shows when these first time “house flippers” get featured are more like it really is.

We find them amusing and, at times, death-defying.

Some of these individuals should never be allowed to even look at a power tool, much less hold one or use it.

I also chuckle when they give their “guesstimate” on the completion time and the expected profits.

It makes me say, “Now THIS I gotta see!”

Now, don’t get me wrong.

Doing home improvement projects can be very gratifying.

But even the good ones create moments when you want to kick a small animal.

Over the years, my wife and I have gotten better with experience.

But the most important fact is having the right tool for the job.

We’ve accumulated a nice collection of “gear” that reduces the grief factor considerably.

One of my favorite stories was telling the story of trying to cut crown molding.

There was a time that I personally kept several wood trim factories working overtime replacing the crown molding I ruined attempting to cut it with a hand saw and a miter block.

After throwing away the equivalent of one Amazon rain forest in botched cuts, we discovered the the mitered chop saw.

Suddenly, we became better builders.

All sorts of battery-powered tools makes it so much easier to handle projects when you don’t have to run extension cords from here to Korea to get the work done.

Little “gimmicky” things like my Kreg tool has made our picture frame and cabinet door work top notch.

I’ve fallen in love with a router because you can put en edge on a cheesy piece of wood and with the proper stain and finish make it look like a million bucks.

However, my wife will testify to the fact that a router bit not properly secured can become a dangerous projectile.

My wife and I differ on wood glue.

I’m a “gluer and screwer”.

I like to use glue liberally while she prefers skimping on it.

But she’s normally the “stainer and finisher” and knows too much glue, “sloppily applied”¬† can mess up a project.

I learned from my Father but more from my Father-in-law when it came to striking out on my own to build things.

I only had a few years of working with my Dad but Ted, my Father-in-law was pretty handy with the tools.

Although he tended toward the automotive side of things, he still guided us on our first bedroom and bathroom project years ago when my best buddy, Charlie and I dug the footer for the 12 foot room addition by hand.

Powered by cold beer and sloppy Joes, we were unstoppable.

In our current house, we’ve completely remodeled every room at least once and we’re currently wrapping up the second pass through on the living room.

My Father-in-law also taught me “If I yell, ‘You’ve got it…You’ve got it!'” and that was something learned while moving furniture, especially bedding or things up from the basement.

You also learn the “pick-up shuffle” so the other guy has to walk backwards when two lifters are needed.

They never show that on “Property Brothers”.

But, don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.

Start small so you can make mistakes and learn.

It also helps if your partner has different skill sets.

She’s the artist, the visionary.

I’m the “nuts and bolts” guy.

Creates some lively discussions on projects.

Just ask our kids.

But just like Larry the Cable Guy, we “Getter done!”

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