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North Hills Monthly

DIY Projects Are Better When Someone Else Does Them

Aug 31, 2015 11:36AM ● By Larry Richert
This is what I call ‘crunch’ month for a lot of reasons. Football is back, it’s crunch time for the Pirates, and the Penguins are crunching it at training camp, preparing for the upcoming season. However, it is also that time of year when the calendar reminds us that summer is over…and it’s time to get acclimated to the fall schedule, which for many people means back-to-school. It’s also time for a brand new ‘Honey Do’ list—here we go, game on all the way around!

Remember that list that you and perhaps your significant other created way back in the spring? A list of all of the things that you wanted to accomplish this season. Now take a good look and see how many you really got done. Don’t feel bad; lists were meant to be abandoned. After all, that’s what excuses are for, right?

As Larry the Cable Guy might say, this is the time to recommit—to “Git-R-Done.” You can start by resetting and prioritizing that list to beat the clock as cold weather approaches. Surely there are a few items that require some do-it-yourself skills that you can actually handle. Painting is one of those. Our KDKA Radio Producer Andy Limberg recently shared one of his horror stories. He and his significant other decided to paint a backyard shed. Sounds simple, right? However, the original estimate of six to eight hours of total work time has turned into three months—and as of this writing, it is still not complete.

Fortunately, I have a neighbor who has every tool known to mankind and knows how to use them. You name it, he has it. ‘Pete’ is also available for consultation; he’s the most popular guy around. Poor Pete—everywhere he goes, all he gets are questions about fixing things or people’s detailed stories on what they did to fix something. He probably likes it best when his tractor is running and he waves and says, “Let’s talk later, I can’t hear you.”

 Sometimes, you just have to man-up or woman-up and really do it yourself. One of my projects was to pressure wash the concrete patio slab, removing the dirt and moss. I knew it was a tedious chore and tried to find a way around it, but then I determined to take care of it myself. I went to get my machine and then realized that I had lent it out several years ago. I then remembered that it was broken and wasn’t worth replacing anyway, as it was, after all, an ‘El-cheapo’ model. Either way, I didn’t have a machine to use. I considered a rental or maybe buying one, but that would require additional money and effort.

Then, as if a minor miracle took place, my oldest daughter’s friend, Tom, offered to bring his industrial pressure washer over. I was so excited to be there to supervise. He showed up in a pick-up truck with his 14-year-old son, Tommy. Together, they ripped through the project like they knew what they were doing. My patio looked nearly new. I was delighted and would have given them whatever they asked for. Even more amazing, they both said, “We just wanted to help!”

I suggested that if I could assist them with a project, I would be happy to accommodate. The return look I received was a set of wry smiles, a pause, and an expression that said, “Really?”

They said (in the kindest way possible) that they didn’t need my help—they would rather do it themselves. I envy people who can ‘do-it-themselves,’ like Pete and Tom.

I guess that’s what friends are for. Do-It-Yourself (or if you can’t, call them!)