Thursday, July 18, 2013


A pause, a deep breath, before the new life. It took some reckoning, and I'm still piecing it slowly together. But basically, I'm going to become a handyman, and I'm going to spend a few years doing things as cheaply as possible. We're living quite cheaply now, but we're making no headway, and we're not going to make any headway if maintenance expenses keep periodically dinging us for hundreds, or thousands, of dollars at a time. I have to learn to do my own work maintaining the house, to fix the place on the south side of the house where shingles are coming loose; dig out the earth & possibly pour a little concrete to keep the house walls up out of the dirt & of course to scrape and paint, scrape and paint, scrape and paint.

I will enjoy this work, I think, if I go into it mindfully and deliberately. I've always liked working with my hands. I only ever shied away from it out of embarrassment, a conviction that as a man I ought already magically to know how to do all these things. But with the glory of the internet -- how-to videos about everything under the sun -- and the recently-discovered resource of ancient hardware-store guys, who basically know how everybody in the neighborhood has rigged everything, from boat-dolly wheels to curtain rods, for the past sixty years -- I think I can get over that hurdle too. What's the point of being a whiz at learning things if you can't learn to do what most needs to be done?


Sabine said...

Oh yes, you will enjoy it all. Just don't fall into the Martha Stewart trap of perfection.

Zhoen said...

Just stay off ladders. Seriously.

JMartin said...

Yes: ladders are the must-avoid province of young and fearless, per Zhoen.

Otherwise, we're all rediscovering the essential questions, eh? What do you know? What can you do? These questions are the core of sustainability. Cash constraints paradoxically place us ahead of the curve.

I'm not feckless enough to take on electric wiring, but definitely seeking to learn either basic plumbing or sewing in the next year. Wish that I'd taken up the latter when hands still steady, and eyes free of floaters.

mm said...

Start small. Nothing too ambitious, then gradually work your way up.

Shells68 said...

I love this. Googling a dn how to videos have saved me from feeling even more vulnerable this year.

Anonymous said...

The way I learned was getting a house ready to sell. My dad had me help him, so learned about lawn edging, and windows, and doors, and plumbing. But if it is something serious, get a professional. That way, you aren't embarrassed when you have to if you really mess something up.
If you really feel up to it, try to get your house ready to sell, then enjoy living in it.