Monday, April 03, 2006

The hazards of home ownership

When you buy a house, the only important things you won't change are the subatomic particles that hold the house together.

"I'd like the couch here, the ceiling fan removed, the living room carpet ripped out and burned, oh, and that hydrogen atom next to the end table ... no, the one with the gimpy orbital. Yeah, could you move its electron a little to the left?"

Everything about your new home is slightly, if not completely, exactly how you wouldn't have done it.

Either the living room is too dark, the kitchen is too small, or every wall is painted just the wrong color puke.

But, unless you're a carpenter, engineer or just surprisingly lucky, while making repairs around your new home there's a terrific chance you'll break more things than you fix.

For example, let's see how much you know about tools.

A hammer is used for:

a) Opening beer bottles.

b) Scratching that hard to reach place on your back.

c) Protection.

d) Driving nails into wood.

The answer is, of course, e) breaking into cars. See, without me, the first thing you'd have done with a hammer is try to put up a shelf. Your beer would still be in the bottle, your back would still itch and you wouldn't have this new car stereo. Shows what you know.
To help you avoid these carpentry gaffes, here's How to Get Out of Doing Home Repairs in Five Easy Steps:

- Convince yourself, your wife and your cat that the house looks great the way it is. This can be accomplished by hypnosis and a heavy dose of barbiturates.

- Bring home so many carpet samples, paint brochures and linoleum strips your wife gets discouraged and decides to do it all herself.

- Talk carpenter friends into helping you, then break your hand with a cinder block and watch them work through a haze of Vicodin.

- Attempt the home repairs yourself. By this time your wife, friends, giggling neighbors and anyone who watches the local news knows you're an idiot and will talk you out of it ... let them.

- Set your house on fire.

There. That's all you need to know about home repair.

What? You actually want to fix up your house?

OK, follow these stupid rules:

- Plumbing and electrical work ¬ unless you actually know what you're doing or aren't afraid of a sudden fiery death, leave this work to professionals.

- Painting ¬ use masking tape to cover the edges of shelves, woodwork, fixtures and other items you don't want to slop paint over. Use old sheets and/or newspapers to cover bigger items. Then remove all the outlet covers. Don't be a moron.

- Installing carpet/linoleum/tile ¬ make sure you sand and clean floors before applying anything sticky. And, just because a room is exactly 10 feet wide on the east end doesn't mean it'll be exactly 10 feet wide on the west end. Measure everything.

- Safety ¬ wear gloves, boots and goggles at all time, No matter how much you laugh at cartoons, a nail gun is not a toy.

- Finish everything you start ¬ such as the room you're painting, the shelf you're installing, the floorboards you're staining, that bottle of Crown Royal, that half-gallon of vanilla ice cream ... you get the idea.

Happy headaches.

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