I'll be honest with you. I hate manual labour. I'm a born and bred city kid who buys a house based around the speed of the internet connection. I have three large flatscreens on a monolithic sized computer that is sleek, black, and looks like batman. I often text people that are sitting next to me using my iphone. I like things being easy, simple, and lacking in brain power. Give me one, big, shiney button that does everything, and I'm happy. So when it comes to things like rakes, wheelbarrows and other gardening equipment, things tend to go a little haywire for me. I HATE shovels. With a passion. The user interface is so unfriendly, and there's no button that says 'Dig hole.' I mean, come on! What is this crap?
I just bought a new house. Nicky, my beloved wife, thought it would be a good idea to save money by having me put up the fence instead of paying a professional. "Come on, it's easy!" She said. "We can get some people to help, you'll have it up in no time."
I have learned some valuable lessons in the last 37 days of this operation. Allow me to share the story of my newly acquired 'wisdom.'
Last christmas, Nicky's uncle was kind enough to give me a wine rack as a present. It was one of those kit wine racks that you buy in a box from ikea. Surely you've seen the kind, there's about 12 rungs, and 4 posts that you slot into the holes and throw a few screws in to hold it altogether.
"Thanks!" I said, and began attempting the construction right then and there in the middle of the loungeroom.
It truley was a thing of beauty. 4 hours later, I had erected a beautiful… hatstand?
"It kinda looks like a giraffe." an onlooker pointed out helpfully. "But where am I going to put the wine bottles?"
I was just about to tell him exactly where he could put them when someone else stepped in and spent three minutes building it for me.
I'm just not good with stuff like that. Lesson 1: Know your limitations. IF you can't put up a wine rack, you shouldn't even TRY to put up a fence.
I recently started a position in Real Estate that would require me to do long distance travels out into rural areas with those wanting to buy acreage. I bought a new car for the purpose, and in so doing, had a spare one sitting on the curb. The old one was certainly nothing spectacular, in fact, quite the opposite. A 1986 Toyota Carolla rustbucket. However, a friend of mine needed a car, and was happy to take it off my hands. I saw an opportunity.
"Nicky's dad is coming over to help put up a fence." I said. "If you help out too, I'll give you my old car."
Im so devious. What an excellent plan. I'll get rid of an old car that was just taking up space, and replace myself so I don't need to be there slaving away digging holes with a shovel!
Lesson 2: Father in laws don't like helping strangers and look down on you if you 'pike out.'
So there I was, feeling so incredibly judged about being lazy by my father in law that I was out in the back yard digging those bloody holes. The thought of getting on the wrong side of the man who gave his daughter away to me to marry was a pain almost worse than splintered hands and digging holes. Almost. I had given away my car in the hope I could get out of it, but I was still holding that stupid, low-tech, shovel. Nicky had hired a friend of hers to help out as well. I looked like an idiot most of the day because there was just so little I knew about putting up fences. I got the measurements wrong and had to redo all the frame work. The length between holes was wrong so we had to dig 12 holes twice. Digging a hole, we broke the water pipe underneath the house… twice. There was Blood, sweat and tears.
"Ah, isn't this grand." My father in law said over a beer in the afternoon as he wiped away sweat from his brow "This is what it's all about, some hard work, getting together under the sun, a chance to bond…"
I nodded and smiled as I visualised wrapping a rope around my neck and going for a bungee jump.
"You just need to learn these things." Nicky said to me later. "It's good for you."
"Oh do I?" I said. "Give me a microphone and put me in front of a crowd, Find me an eskimo you need to sell ice to, or throw me on the spot on live national television in front of millions of people and I'll show you skills you've never seen before. But do I judge you for choking in front of even a small crowd? How bout I say 'You just need to learn these things.'?"
"I have no desire to." She said "I have no interest in ever using those skills."
So why then do I get judged and called lazy for not being good at THOSE skills?
I think she saw my point.
For the record, I could have paid someone 600 dollars to put that fence up.
As it was, I gave away a $400 car, spent $100 on beer, paid nickys friend $140 for his time, and because I was absent for a day during the fence being put up, I felt so guilty for not being there that I paid Nicky's dad $500 to make up for it, and to ensure he never called in his favour so I had to put up HIS fence.
Total cost to do it myself? $1140 in labour.
Never again. From now on, If we can't afford to have it done professionally, we can't afford it. Period.
Oh… and it's still not finished.DWolfeParticipant@dwolfeJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 1,253PavvParticipant@pavvJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 19Benjamin Csikos wrote:I nodded and smiled as I visualised wrapping a rope around my neck and going for a bungee jump.
hahaah very funny!!! This line made me burst out laughing while at work…oops!House CallMember@house-callJoin Date: 2010Post Count: 165
You are a very good writer. You should send this story into one of those property magazines for publishing. The whole thing was hilarious.
My suggestion is go buy yourself a "renovator's dream" and then after each day's work (which you must do yourself, because as your good wife correctly points out, it IS good for you) then write a little spiel for us punters to cackle at while we relax after our day.ChizParticipant@chizJoin Date: 2008Post Count: 70
Agreed. Excellent writer – very funny…and I agree with this100%:
If you can’t afford to have it done professionally, you can’t afford it.JLMember@jlJoin Date: 2007Post Count: 110
I had a bad today. Thanks for the laugh, it has cheered me up.
JLSHalesMember@shalesJoin Date: 2007Post Count: 325House Call wrote:You are a very good writer. You should send this story into one of those property magazines for publishing. The whole thing was hilarious.
My suggestion is go buy yourself a "renovator's dream" and then after each day's work (which you must do yourself, because as your good wife correctly points out, it IS good for you) then write a little spiel for us punters to cackle at while we relax after our day.
Ah, Ben, its been a while since I dropped in here. Glad to see you are still here writing this stuff. I've made the above suggestion to you before, and I'll second House Call again now. What you've got here, what you've done in the past, that's got to be marketable man. You reckon you can sell ice to eskimos. Sell this.
It's just an outlet to anyone that'll listen, maybe Steve will bring out a magazine of some sort and pay for my stories or something. ha!patrickhakeMember@patrickhakeJoin Date: 2011Post Count: 5
Ahahahah, good laughs Ben. I guess it'll go more smoothly next time…