Friday, April 27, 2012

Earning my Mancard

Many men have fond memories of growing up helping their dad build a shed, or fix the plumbing, or possibly working on the family car together.  I was never of much help with such projects, not due to an inherent inability to work with my hands, but more because dad didn't demand it and those things didn't really hold my interest.   I learned to change the oil in my car, but that's about the extent of the skills I acquired in 17 years at home.

An unfortunate side effect of this is that I find projects that require handyman skills to be daunting, even if they are simple to do.  At my last home I had a set of blinds in the bedroom that hung crooked for weeks (dare I say months?) after one of the screws holding them in was pulled out of the drywall.  I asked several friends for help, and even offered to pay one guy to install some new blinds, but no takers.  Finally my friend Jenny kindly pulled the blinds down, and I was able to overcome my inertia and install new blinds (thanks Jenny!).

When I bought a somewhat damaged foreclosure as an investment property, I got the opportunity to punch a few holes in my man-card, although I left many tasks in the more capable hands of an excellent Jack of all trades (his name literally is Jack).  I did caulk the bathtubs, removed wallpaper, did some drywall repair, fixed a gate, and a lot of painting.  In the end I was feeling considerably better about my man skills.

This week I got to take another baby step towards manliness by installing a couple of ceiling fans by myself.  I've had the opportunity to help a couple of friends as they installed fans in my homes, but this was the first time I did the procedure solo.  In all fairness the existing light fixtures already had the bracing for installing a fan, so it was fairly simple, but it still made me feel a bit more competent.  Although it was a bit disconcerting when I threw all the circuits in the garage and the dryer in the room next to the bedroom with bare wires I was about to find myself grasping was still chugging along.  Apparently it's normal for a dryer to be on a separate circuit in a box on the outside of the home.  Mental note made for future reference.

The best part of the ceiling fans is not the fact that I feel more competent at home improvement, however, or even the gentle breeze they create while whirring overhead, although those are both nice benefits.  The part I'm enjoying most is the extra light they cast.  I'm not sure who at D.R. Horton ok'ed the crappy light fixtures that came standard in my home, but I'm glad to be rid of them.  It's nice to be able to read in my office without squinting at a dark page.  That will come in especially handy when I'm reading "Man-up!  10 things every guy should be able to do for himself".