Gut Rumbles

July 12, 2005

cry me a river

I have no sympathy for this guy. Yeah, it's a manly-man thing to attack home-improvement projects, but when I do it, I usually end up working twice as long and doing half the job that a professional could do.

Plus, it usually costs me about the same amount of money.

Don't get me wrong--- I KNOW how to do most of this shit. My daddy tried to make me his carpenter's apprentice when I was a boy and I worked in a chemical plant for 24 years. I can fit pipe, lay brick, do elementary electrician work and operate everything in a good-sized tool box. I was well-trained. About the only thing I DON'T have at least a half-assed grip on is knowing how to make a good weld.

But I don't LIKE doing that stuff.

My father always LIKED working with his hands and he was good at everything he did. But he ENJOYED doing it. I think I was a big disappointment to him because I didn't share his enthusiasm over that crap. It was pure-assed WORK to me, and he always wanted to do it on Saturdays, AFTER I finished my newspaper route collections, so that I busted my ass all day, instead of having a chance to play with my friends.

I'll pick up the phone and call somebody rather than do that stuff myself today. If I can't solve the problem in 30 minutes, fuck it. Call a PRO.

That's what money is for, and I'm too old for that kind of aggravation.
(Maybe I'll call HIM next time. He IS a pro.)


"About the only thing I DON'T have at least a half-assed grip on is knowing how to make a good weld."

I own/operate 2 residential construction companies. In my shop, I have an arc welder and a MIG welder. I'll be damned if EVERY freaking weld I have tried to make on trailers or equipment in the past 10 years doesn't look like a pile of half-melted BBs.

For some reason, I just can't get the hang of welding. It's a running joke to stay out of the way when the boss tries to weld something. The metal is either going to fall on the floor or get thrown across the floor.

As to calling a pro to do the job, I can't count the number of times I have been called to fix a "homeowner delight" or a "ham and egger's job* "

Invariably, it ends up costing the customer MUCH more money to have me tear down the shitty job and start from scratch. Not to mention the pussy his wife is going to withhold because she, "told him so".

And people bitch and moan about how much a good contractor costs. Guess what? The joy of a cheap price lasts a lot less longer than the satisfaction of a quality job.

* Ham and egger = the dude you see driving around in a '74 pickup with rusted roof racks, shitty tools and a sign that says "Jobs Big or Small: We Do Them All"

Posted by: rightisright on July 12, 2005 11:25 PM

Even after a two week course at the Hobart school I hate mig welding. I'd rather let the robot do it. I passed the course and my test pieces were good welds, but they looked like hammered shit before I ground them down.

The guy in the next booth made beautiful velvet welds.

You need to hire somebody like that, RiR.

I'm not a welder either.

Posted by: StinKerr on July 13, 2005 02:19 AM

Laying a perfect bead with an E6011 or 6013 using a highend Miller or a Lincoln is an art form and requires a steady hand and a knowledge of how to remove any slag that's left behind. The strength of a weld lies in its beauty. Like anything else, it takes lots and lots of practice. It runs in the family here in Texas.


Posted by: PJ on July 13, 2005 03:06 AM

Verily, A-man. Leave the larger projects to the Pros. Especially painting. Easy enough, but what a pain in the ass - set up, then paint, then clean up. Ugh.
Neighbor: "Wow! Nice job on that textured plaster! What'd you use? Brush? Roller? Sprayer?"
Me: "Checkbook."
Leaves more quality time to concentrate on Bourbon research. Priorities, Sir.

Posted by: Pete the Streak on July 13, 2005 07:02 AM

Must be nice to have that kind of money. Every time something breaks around here that requires a pro, it's a HUGE amount of money. I'm still recovering financially from a septic repair that had to be made in Nov. $1500 worth. Fuck the pros, I'd rather do it myself. I'd do a better job.

Posted by: Kelly on July 13, 2005 09:25 AM

I spent over 30 years building and repairing multimillion dollar yachts and workboats. I can make or build almost anything. (When you can do it, it ain't braggin')

I'm retired now, and I feel the same way as Rob. If something of mine breaks or fails, the first thing I grab is the telephone. I haven't got time for that shit anymore, I spend my time fishing.

Gerry N.

Posted by: Gerry N. on July 13, 2005 08:58 PM

The older I get, the more willing I am to pay someone to do it for me. For various home projects in the past, I've done plumbing, roofing, framing, wiring, painting, buillt fences and decks, landscaped, hung doors and drywall, and tiled.

I can do it; I prefer not to in most cases. Of course, I got bit having a hot-water heater replaced by a big outfit earlier this year. Saving up money to have a handyman do it correctly this time.

Posted by: wheels on July 14, 2005 12:30 AM

Every so often I will grit my teeth and pay a contractor to do work I need done. But there's no way I would have considered calling a professional to clear a blockage in the dryer vent!!

Plus, didn't he say it was some pro installer in a hurry that did the half-assed job in the first place that required him to tear apart the ceiling to fix it?

I manage construction contracts as part of my job. Don't kid yourself people! In too many cases, putting the label "Contractor" behind one's name does not guarantee much of anything about how the job will be done. Sometimes it has felt like babysitting.

Not everyone is cut out to do their own repairs, and not everyone should. But if you have the tools and the knowledge (or are smart enough to acquire a proper grasp of what is required *before* you start), you can probably do at least as good a job as a contractor would, at probably half the cost. The trick is knowing ahead of time what you ought to realistically tackle yourself.

In my case it is only when time and/or energy is lacking and money is plentiful (which is almost never) that I will pay a pro to do work that I could do.

I know this will change as I get older though (the energy thing, y'know...)

Posted by: Desert Cat on July 15, 2005 07:57 PM
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