Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do it Yourself Dangers

My faucet issues seem to have triggered both my independent streak and my curiosity about how things work. I've consulted with friends and watched a few how-to videos on the Home Depot web site, and now I'm starting to think this might be something I could do -- except that my set-up seems to be rather archaic. And that really triggered my curiosity about how things work, so that I'm dying to take it all apart to see. There's a reason most of my tools and all my wrenches have to live in the garage, which isn't attached to my house. That gives me a cool-down waiting period before I can act on those whims to take things apart, especially since those whims tend to come late at night, when I don't want to go outside and cross the courtyard and a driveway to get to the garage to get the tools. I may have to padlock the tool box and hide the key or turn it over to a neighbor because it would be really stupid to take something apart right before a holiday weekend when I wouldn't be able to get a professional to come set everything right in case I can't fix it or put it back together again on my own.

This is something I'd really like to learn to do on my own, and not just out of frugality. I like knowing how to do useful stuff. Being able to replace a faucet would definitely fall into the category of life skills. I also don't like dealing with the hassle of calling a plumber. It would probably take me less time to do it myself than it would take to call someone, set an appointment, then wait for the plumber to actually show up. I've taken photos of the set-up with my digital camera, and I may take my camera to Home Depot, and if I can get the attention of an employee without performing a striptease in the aisle (it varies -- sometimes I get great help there, but there are times when I don't think the striptease would even work, when I can be right in front of a group of employees saying, "Excuse me?" repeatedly without them so much as acknowledging my existence) I can find out what I might need and if it's a doable DIY project. It probably needs a bit of an overhaul, and when I ever have money, I have plans to re-do and update the bathroom, but right now all I want is to not have to brush my teeth in the bathtub.

So far, my life skills include driving a stick shift, doing minor toilet repairs, opening champagne bottles, putting together furniture, painting and related tasks and making jam. I can also hang sheetrock and vinyl siding, thanks to Habitat for Humanity. I figured out how the garage door opener mechanism works from a time when it broke, but that required a professional to fix it because those are high-tension springs that require special tools. I did once make a repair when it was just a bolt that had come loose. I've also taken apart my clothes dryer and put it back together again when something fell into the lint filter opening and I had to retrieve it. The sense of achievement from doing something like that on my own is practically a high. I think that's one of the main reasons I like the do-it-yourself route. You don't get the same sense of accomplishment from calling someone to do it for you.

Oh, and I know how to write a book. And I should finish another one today.

1 comment:

Debbie Woods said...

Hi Shanna. When our sink went on the blink a couple of years ago I was so tempted to try and do it myself but the husband wouldn't let me. When the plumber came out, he simply took the pipes out and we watched a whole host of peas, pasta and other food come spilling out into our kitchen cupboard! Just a blocked pipe! I could have done it myself, a lot of people are worried about trying to get into electricity and plumbing D.I.Y but it shouldn't be a problem if you're careful and sensible. Your toilet repair talent is intriguing, I wonder how you discovered that?