“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.” -Vernon Howard, Teacher/Philosopher
Doorbell chime kit: $15.97. Two tubs of ready-to-spread grout: $16.28. Four new, cut-to-fit cordless blinds: $24.00 a piece. For less than $120 dollars, I spent the weekend fixing, installing, or otherwise finishing some of the little household projects we’ve spent years sweeping under the rug. We can now wait for the ding-dong of our new doorbell to tell us visitors have arrived, instead of waiting by the door when we expect company. Our make-shift cardboard curtains now rest comfortably in the trash as the basement windows now have blinds that block out light. And after 15 years of asking, my mom can finally cook in a kitchen and look up to see a beautiful grouted backsplash. Years of unfinished work completed in a single day. Apparently all we ever needed to do it was a hammer, a drill, and a piece of string used as a stand-in measuring tape.
For the last two years or so, I’ve become pretty handy. I’ve put up shelves, built fire pits, and hung everything from pictures to curtains to towel racks. When I lived in my apartment in Madison, I learned how to put gromit holes in T.V. consoles to help organize gaming cords. Since coming back to Gurnee, I’ve started getting interested in landscaping: planting, potting, and relocating various bits of foliage around my mom’s backyard. I’ve mulched, switched out old soil, and treated plants for fungi and diseases according to advice from Anne of All Trades on YouTube. I’ve snapped shovels in half digging out tree stumps and learned the importance of taking care of the root flare while digging out mulch circles around trees. With my cousin Ethan, we learned the importance of proper ventilation while using a paint sprayer in a basement. And of checking to make sure we have enough materials in order to prevent yet another visit to Ace Hardware. And of the necessity of wearing a mask and goggles before staring up to spray paint a ceiling. And this summer, my long-time love affair with my power washer ended with the death of that well-used machine.
So I’ve been busy learning the ins and outs of handy home care. I really liked the quote I found today because there’s so much truth to it. If we are always on the lookout for new things to learn, we’ll never come up empty handed in our search. I’ve found some of my favorite hobbies, like ceramics, by taking a chance on something I thought I might never do, or else wouldn’t be very good at. And other things, like a semi-successful attempt at making perfume, that I otherwise have a greater appreciation for once I realized how much work really goes into it. No matter who you are or what you know, there is always someone out there who can teach you something new or even just a new way of doing something.
And if you’re like me, where you don’t really know who to ask about a project your working on, don’t worry. In this age of modern technology, nearly all of us have access to infinite free services like YouTube or Google Tutorials. Need to install a new snap-in vinyl flooring to make your kitchen pop? Google can guide you through the process. Have an important meeting but can’t figure out how to tie a Windsor knot? Check out “Dad, How do I?” on YouTube. His entire channel is dedicated to those “Dad’s teachable moments” some people never got in their youth. And are you trying to crochet a doll for your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s niece but don’t know the difference between knit and purl? There’s a tutorial for that too. We’ve got a place to learn everything now, so there’s nothing to hold us back from finishing that little household project that will make all the difference.
Got any skills you’ve recently acquired which you might like to share? Or maybe there’s something, a skill or hobby, that you’ve always wanted to learn but just haven’t had the time to? Share it with us! Reply to our article in the comments or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe and hopeful!