Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yeah, I Did it Myself

Yesterday was a Big Project day. I don’t do a lot of Big Projects. I’m more of a Sunday afternoon handyman rather than a guy who takes on extended fixer-up jobs. But yesterday I returned to the task of making the nasty little back part of our yard useful—specifically, I worked on repairing an old gate and finishing the sandbox I began a full year ago.

The last Big Project I undertook and actually finished was the complete renovation of the kitchen in our DC condo. The result was quite nice but getting there did involve a small fire, a minor electrocution and the need for a tetanus shot. Not a bad accident tally for a month of unskilled labor.

My wife enjoys amusing guest with the laundry list of injuries I sustained. But, for me, the best part of that kitchen was telling visitors, “yeah, I did all this myself.”

Yesterday, I did a hack job fixing the gate. But the sandbox looks great. As I dug out all the earth that had collapsed back into the hole since I did the initial digging last year, my 3-year old helped with his little plastic shovel. He even managed to get a few clumps of dirt into the proper pile.

We finished the digging and then I finished the framing and the anti-weed tarp laying. My wife applauded the end result and was even kind enough not to mention it had taken me a year to build something most people could complete in a weekend. It was nice to see something useful appear in that section of the yard. But the best part came that evening.

As I was tucking the boy into bed, he looked at me and said “you make me a sandbox.” I said, “yep, and you helped.” To this he grinned and replied, “yeah, I did it myself.”

I could have hired some day laborers to build the sandbox. Heck, I pay people to mow my yard, I’m hardly adverse to spending money to save myself some labor. But there’s a solid satisfaction in do-it-yourself projects. I don’t think once-a-year Big Projects keep me real but they keep me at least a little more connected to my home.

That’s of value. And I’m glad I was able to share it with my son.



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