Learn How To Do Home Repairs

Sep 21, 2009

I would not say that I married a “handy man.” No. Those aren’t words that would have come out of my mouth when I got married nearly 13 years ago.

I remember a few years after we were married, we were having problems with the air conditioning control panel and I wanted my husband to fix it. He looked at the unit and told me he didn’t know what to do about it. This really frustrated me. At the time, Rob was active duty Army and so I said to him, “You can clear a land mine and yet you can’t fiddle around and fix that AC panel?”

He told me that clearing a landmine was easy. According to him, “All you do is blow it up”.

I told him, “Well, clearing landmines is not a valuable skill that we can utilize in our marriage. Fixing things around the house – now that would be useful!”

I’d like to say that Rob took what I said to heart, but since he seems to rarely listen to me (as, I hear is common with husbands), I can’t take credit for what happened next. But, someway, somehow . . . Rob became handy! It didn’t happen over night - but during the next half dozen years or so, he began to repair things.

I think it started when he became the Battalion Maintenance Officer of his Army Battalion. It was a job he really didn’t want and did not enjoy and yet, when it was over, lo and behold, he could work on our cars! That has saved us a ton of money over the years. About a month ago, I began having problems with my brakes on our minivan. I got an estimate on the troubles and they quoted me $1200. Ouch. Rob spent a weekend working on them and when it was over, he had spent about $200 on parts. Now, that charge to my credit card hurt a lot less than the mechanic’s bill would have stung!

Over the past few years, Rob has repaired our sinks, toilets, refrigerator, computers and air conditioning unit - yes, he did eventually learn how to work on that pesky thing! He, with the help of his dad, replaced our sliding glass door (which basically leaked air) with beautiful French doors and when my parents were robbed earlier this year and their back door broken down, he was able to replace their whole door, too. He’s the family’s go-to-guy when it comes to installing ceiling fans, working on electrical wiring and repairing leaking sprinkler systems. He not only tiled our bathroom, but installed laminate wood flooring in our entire family room – all by himself.

Now, as those of you who really know me recognize (my husband included) it is highly unusual for me to devote a whole blog post to singing his praises. Even he was startled by today’s topic (and I think, perhaps, he did bit of a double take over it. I am much more prone to tease him and am constantly warning him, if you do that again, I’ll have to talk about you in my blog tomorrow! ) His technical abilities and “know-how,” however, have easily saved us thousands of dollars over the years – money we have been able to save or put towards other, more exciting, ventures in our life.

How did he learn how to do all of this? Some of it came from the Army, but a lot of it came from asking questions – from his dad and people who already knew how to do the repairs. He’s read a lot of books on home improvement (there is a stack of them on his nightstand) and he’s found a lot of information on the internet. However he’s acquired it, it has most certainly been worth his time and effort.

So, why am I telling all of you this? Well, in a way, I feel kind of guilty about what I’m going to promote in this post. After all, it’s not as if I was the one who learned how to do these repairs. Oh, no. I have pretty much left it totally up to my husband.

But, I am nonetheless going to encourage you, if you or your spouse are not handy . . . well . . get working on it! Repairs cost a fortune! Unexpected expenses like a broken-down car or a leaking air conditioning unit can wreak havoc into your monthly (if not, yearly) budget.

So . . . to get to the point of this post . . . I am going to help you get started.

Home Depot offers a series of “Do-It-Yourself” workshops - and they are FREE! If you go to their site right now, you can sign up for classes such as Interior Painting, Tiling Walls and Floors, Installing Energy Efficient Doors and Windows and Putting Up Moulding. In addition, if you’re a woman (and might be a little intimidated by taking a class with a bunch of guys who are already pretty good at repairs), they have a series called “Do-It-Herself” workshops. The next class they are offering for this program is this Thursday night (September 24, 2009) at 7 pm and it’ll teach you how to create your dream kitchen by yourself. And, they don’t mean what to cook in it. They'll teach you things such as how to install new cabinets, a sink and a faucet. You can sign up by clicking below.

I really, truly encourage you – or at least, someone else in your home - to learn how to do some repairs around your house. Trust me. It’ll save you more cash than you could ever imagine!

Because, I promise you, whether you like it or not, things WILL keep breaking!


Rebecca D. said...

Oh your blog is darling!!! great tips!!! I'm a new follower from MBC!!! thanks for checking out my blog as well!!!

Susan Fobes said...

Very funny post! My husband and I are what you call "learn as you go" people, and have actually survived several repair projects. Good tip.

Kim K. said...

Kelly - you can give Rob a new resource. At www.repairclinic.com you can buy almost every part you can imagine to fix appliances and they have instructions on how to do it. If you get stuck you can call and talk directly to the guy who runs the site and he'll talk you through the repair. Once I knew what the problem was with my washing machine I was able to fix it in ten minutes and save myself about $200 in repair costs!

Kelly Seiler said...

Kim - fabulous tip! I'm going to forward your comment to him right now! :-)

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