Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I am not a do-it-yourself kind of guy. Home improvement is not an unguy thing. It's not that I can't do any repairs or fix-ups around the house. I just don't find much pleasure in doing it. In fact, most of the time I do end up taking care of a lot of household maintenance on my own (or often with the assistance of my dear wife, who is generally more talented in this area than I am.) The reason for this is that, although I don't enjoy DIY, I enjoy even less paying good money to have someone else do it. I'm Scottish by heritage, you know, and it still shows. Frugality is a quality instilled in me quite deeply by my father.

I did "build" a nice wall for a flower bed on our back porch this evening. I say "build" in quotations because all I had to do was put  in position the bricks that my daughter and I had earlier pulled up. Nothing too complex. But it does look nice. That's my kind of project.

Soon I need to tackle the unpleasant job of recoating our roof. I did this once before years ago when we owned our own home. It's not a particularly difficult task. Mostly it's just a lot of work. Here in Arizona many houses, including this one, have flat or lightly sloped roofs, which are not shingled but are coated with some type of elastic coating, which you roll on like paint. Once it dries it makes a weather-resistant, reflective coating, which is great for southern Arizona's sunny weather. Before painting the roof though you have to give a good scrubbing to remove all the dirt. Ours also needs some patching, as the previous owner apparently didn't do any maintenance for years. I don't look forward to this project, but I can handle it. As a bonus my father will be helping me and I may recruit a friend just to make the job go faster.

I envy those who are talented at building things. A friend of mine has been describing in his blog his work at constructing cabinets for his kitchen. I wouldn't even know where to begin. Building tools and I have never had a great relationship. One of the worst grades I ever received in school was in shop class. While they didn't exactly tell me that I was hopeless, the teachers didn't exactly encourage me to pursue my studies any further. As an adult I have stretched myself and learned to do repair jobs I would have avoided in years past. But I recognize that this is neither a gift nor a hobby for me.

At the same time I do have an interest in being creative, so I have had to explore other interests in order to indulge this aspect of my personality. In years past I have enjoyed painting and would like to take it up again someday. I dabble in photography as well and enjoy that. There is something satisfying in working on something and producing a work of art and beauty, whatever it may be.

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