The Fixer-Upper

Somewhere between falling interest rates in the nineties, a workforce with little interest in building trades (therefore few available tradesmen) and easy-to- use remodeling products-we became a nation of fixer-uppers. Homeowners take on some fairly large projects now although I think most shy away from anything that is subject to building codes.

We even have complete television networks built around the remodel, the flip and the perfect tiny house. I recently saw a quote on the internet that went like this: “I just binge watched five episodes of Fixer-Upper, Now I need to go buy a magnolia wreath, tear down a few walls, install a farmhouse sink and SHIPLAP EVERYTHING!” It’s meant to be funny but it is vaguely true as we all run the risk of public shaming for not installing reclaimed metal ceiling tiles, failing to include barn wood on a project or even-gasp!- not pull up the carpet and sand down those wooden floors.

Lisa and I were bit by this bug years ago so we are no different than anyone else. This summer was pretty mellow although we did stain our concrete patio and build a pergola in the same space. We also power-washed the porch and stained it. This final item is a task I really hate. It is so boring to power-wash for hours only to have to re-take the same ground just won in order to stain it. Each task requires the patience of a statue. The correct position for either of these tasks is a ¾ bent-over stress position taken directly from the CIA field manual for interrogation. We used a product this year called Deck Correct. It fills gaps and creates a surface that is very smooth and even. It worked equally well on concrete or wood and even makes either surface less slippery.

I just finished a large overhead door this fall. Most of the work was finished last spring but I needed help connecting everything to very high ceiling of the building. I just recently adjusted the torsion springs to make the door move a bit more smoothly. Adjusting torsion springs is a little like wrestling and anaconda in a phone booth and really kicks-in my adrenalin. The combination of adrenalin and fear of heights manifests itself in tremors that start in my hamstring then radiate out until the ladder is even vibrating. At some point I reach a point at which I have to quickly tighten the set-screws or I will lose everything and have to start again so I must perform quickly. It is the intersection upon which fight show flight the door.

I believe home repair and improvement is worthwhile as you get to enjoy the improvements as your greatest financial asset gains value. It’s also a nice thing of which to obsess, especially about that shiplap siding and those hardwood floors.

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