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Sun Aug 31, 2014, 02:24 PM

There really is no such thing as a simple household project.

Today, after 21 years of living in my house, I decided we needed a new mail box. The old one was very rusty and the door no longer shut right. We are on a rural route, and as soon as we installed this one after moving here, someone came by playing mailbox baseball and dented in the side. Shortly after that, the entire bank of mail boxes was covered in a drive by spray painting. Yet it still served its purpose until today.

At first, I was going to get one online, finding irony in having our new mail box delivered through the mail. I looked on line and the shipping was as much as the box itself, and I did not find humor in paying double, so I headed down to the farm and home store. They have everything. Finding a mail box and one made in America was quite easy. But, they were out of the exact numbers I needed for it. I went to the Dollar General down the street and I bought a pack of numbers. But, they were black numbers, even though the package made it look like they were black on a white back ground. So, that wouldn't work for a black mail box.

I decide to save time and gas and go to the dreaded Walmart. I find numbers with a reflective background. I buy them because they were made in America, instead of the other package of smaller numbers made in Taiwan. I get home and go to stick them on, and they are too big. Turns out the not made in America ones would fit the made in America mail box better. I decide I will just wait until I go out tomorrow to visit my mom and where they have more stores.

But then my husband informs me that he has already removed the old box and now he has lost his crow bar in the process. I start looking around for the crow bar, because that is something I am skilled at after years of household projects with him. I couldn't find it. In the meanwhile, I get an idea. I can use the black numbers if I put on a strip of contact paper and put them over that. While I was reaching for the contact paper, I got a splinter down my finger nail. Despite the pain, I put a piece of the contact paper on the mail box door and affix the black numbers. Looks pretty good. Husband goes down to put it on the bank of mail boxes we share with the neighbors. He finds his crow bar sitting right next to one of the other boxes.

So it is up. And now the mail won't even run until Tuesday!

There is no such thing as a simple household project.

I bet even here on DU there are a million stories of how "let's just fix this" turned into a major ordeal!

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Reply There really is no such thing as a simple household project. (Original post)
logosoco Aug 2014 OP
NV Whino Aug 2014 #1
logosoco Aug 2014 #5
The Velveteen Ocelot Aug 2014 #2
logosoco Aug 2014 #6
NJCher Aug 2014 #3
logosoco Aug 2014 #7
Populist_Prole Aug 2014 #4
logosoco Aug 2014 #8
NJCher Aug 2014 #9
Chan790 Aug 2014 #10
logosoco Aug 2014 #12
trof Aug 2014 #11
logosoco Aug 2014 #13
Scuba Sep 2014 #14
logosoco Sep 2014 #15
Phentex Sep 2014 #16

Response to logosoco (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 03:01 PM

1. Oh yeah

Fixing a leaking faucet involves at least five trips to the hardware store.

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Response to NV Whino (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 04:21 PM

5. ^This!

This is where I see 3D printers coming in handy! Although then you might run out of the material they use!

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 03:12 PM

2. Projects breed more projects.

When you strip wallpaper you discover that the wall underneath needs patching. When you remove carpeting you find that the floor needs refinishing. You change some pictures around and you have to get something to patch the nail holes with, and when you put up different pictures they don't cover all of the patched nail holes so you have to buy more paint to cover the patches and you hope it matches the existing paint because if it doesn't you'll have to repaint the whole wall, which means you also have to get tape, dropcloths and brushes. No matter what the project, it always happens that you discover that you don't have the right materials or tools and you have to go to the hardware store. Again.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 04:22 PM

6. I warned my daughter about this very thing when she bought her first house! nt

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 03:20 PM

3. fix-it-man advice

This comes from my brother, certainly not me, as I can barely fix anything. I do try, though, and on occasion am successful.

My brother says the way one looks at any handyman project is key. He says to look at it like a "process," not a job. Approach it with the idea that you are going to put time in on a project, not do a job. That way one is less annoyed if there's a failure to complete the project.

I adopted his attitude and it works for me. Of course, there is sometimes a price to pay for that, like projects can stretch on longer than what some people might be able to tolerate.

My brother is Mr. Laidback. Nothing bothers him. If he discovers a hitch in the project, he just walks away from it and does something else. While he is doing something else, a good idea might come to him.

I enjoyed your story, logosoco. It really does communicate the nature of household projects. Now, however, frustrating it might have been, you have a new mailbox to enjoy.


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 04:25 PM

7. That is a good philosophy!

This project today was one I did on the spur of the moment. Usually I/we see what needs to be done, and we think or plan for a while. Sometimes having time to think about and even visualize the process makes it go smoother.

And I will enjoy the new box!

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 03:38 PM

4. Oh man oh man, don't even get me going!

It's been said thus far up-thread but damned if it isn't so true it's a law of nature. Home project "mission creep" has been the rule now that the "new" has thoroughly worn off my house or contents therein.

What's most responsible lately are replacement parts that are not compatable with aging appliances or fixtures. This causes me to either engage in a search for parts that will work, or to have to update the fixtures, structures, or appliances ( as the case applies )

Then there is the small project "creep" that upon closer examination reveals itself beyond by capabilities/resources. The white trim is looking dirty and faded. A reasonable amount of it looks pretty snappy after scrubbing off the mildew and rinsing it. The rest needs some paint here and there. The simple paint touch-up job of the trim with a quart of paint and some brushes and a tube of caulking. Then after scraping some loose flakes the flakes get bigger and reveal some wood rot. Off I go for some wood filler. Back to it I discover the wood rot is more pervasive, the paint in worse shape the closer I get to it. Worse than that, it extends higher than my ladder will safely take me. But what I am able complete looks pretty good. So good in fact, everything else looks pretty ratty by comparison. Hire a guy to pressure wash the house. Looks better except the paint looks thinner and flkes off everywhere. The house looks like holy hell.

Fast forward: A few thousand clams lighter in the wallet after I hire someone to replace some rotted wood and paint everything else. Looks really nice now, the neighbors give me compliments, which make me feel good. However I can't get away this all started with 5 dollars worth of paint, a little can of 'Plastic Wood', a tube of 'Dap' caulking, and a coupla' cheap paint brushes. I should have spent that paltry sum on beer and hire someone from the get-go.

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Response to Populist_Prole (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 04:31 PM

8. Everyone thinking about buying a home needs to read this!

My worst story in this vein started with a darkish look on a base board. I swept past it with a broom for months, then realized I needed to take care of it further. Armed with a wet cleaning rag, I thought "If this doesn't do it, I'll just paint". Turns out the darkness was from termites eating all of the wood under the paint! Whole house had to be treated for termites, which entailed moving every SINGLE thing away from the outer edge of the house so they could drill into the slab and spray the poison.

That was many years ago and we haven't had termites since!

I think hardware store clerks understand how this works, too.

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Response to Populist_Prole (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 07:11 PM

9. yep

replacement parts that are not compatable with aging appliances or fixtures.

We just went through that on an aging toilet. A local plumber told us that it would cost $121 for the part!

A friend took on the research for us and discovered we could get by with an $8.50 part! And my plumber put it on for a very modest cost. All in all, I probably only spent $60 on the whole affair.

And guess where the friend found out how to do it? Youtube!!

BTW, I went through that paint thing earlier this year. We just hired some guys to sand it down and cover the whole house with one coat. They missed a few spots, though, so I have to go out and finish up.


Cher

p.s. a friend whose home is impeccably maintained told me to spend 30" a day on home maintenance and I would be OK. It sounds like good advice, but I haven't been able to do it yet. I'm going to try, though.

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 07:51 PM

10. I'm a chef from a family of chefs.

 

Small projects that become large are our stock-in-trade.

Today's was "We've got a lot of tomatoes. Let's put some of them up as sauce." so we're now on gallon 80 of the day...and we've barely dented Mt. Tomato. Did I mention, this isn't for a restaurant, nor catering? This is home-stock. Disposition of the contents of the garden patch. Right around this time next year, we'll run out again and repeat.

Last week, we were converting a pile of unused brand-new 55gal drums into: a steamer-cabinet, a hot smoker, a cold-smoker, a barbecue grill.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 09:34 PM

12. That is a home project with delicious dividends!

Just got into gardening food a few years ago...the kids are grown and the yard is mine now!

Much learning to be done, to improve results year after year.

Someday I hope to have my own Mt. Tomato and all my neighbors can share with me (or politely avoid me as I push produce onto them!).

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 08:01 PM

11. When you own a home "It's always something".

The seemingly simplest tasks/fixes almost ALWAYS blossom into something more complicated and more expensive.
It's just a given.

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Response to trof (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 09:37 PM

13. Over the years I have tried to "foresee" as much as possible before

diving into a project.

Thinking to myself...hmmm, I am tired of those curtains, such and such would look nice...but then I would probably have to paint, or get a new cover for the couch. If the energy and money to do the other things are there, I can start the first "domino"!

But many complications are unforeseen, which results in profits for the local home stores!

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 08:25 AM

14. Every job is harder and takes longer than it should.

 

I generally add 50% to the time estimate, but even that is often not enough.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 08:56 AM

15. That is true. It used to be that having the kids around the house that slowed the

progress (even more than the job itself!). Now it is just old bones and even more of a tendency to set things down and forget where that spot was. We should add about another 20% to the time factor for that!

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Response to logosoco (Original post)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 10:46 AM

16. So far, we're on the second holiday of this little do-it-yourself project...

so yes, I agree nothing is ever simple!

Before July 4th, a certain project in our house was started. I objected. I KNEW this would not be something quick or easy and was also something better left for an actual carpenter. But no. My wonderful I CAN DO ANYTHING husband decided he really wanted to do this himself. Otherwise, he said, months would go by and we would end up not doing anything.

That was June 25th. I have stuff displaced from one room to another. I have a ladder, tools, sanders, caulk, etc in a room that we use every day. Not to mention DUST from said project.

Patience. Patience. I love him but he has no time.

Will this project see Halloween and Thanksgiving, too?

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