Ever since we bought a house, I have done the vast majority of my own work. With the rare exception of having roofs replaced and air conditioning systems installed, I have tackled everything.

I just enjoy doing these things but I occasionally I wondered why. Lately I’ve been figuring out why.

The short answer is that I simply enjoy it. I used to say that I was saving money and that’s certainly true but it’s mostly because of the feeling of self sufficiency and competency that it gives me. I like the independence.

I’ve been noticing this more lately as I have grown less interested in some things. Mowing grass has always been hot, dirty, and boring to me and this year Mel decided to give me a break from it as a birthday gift. I hired someone and he started in May. Generally speaking he’s done the job but the fact that I’m no longer in control of the output has been slightly stressful such as when he calls and says he can’t come for some reason and the lawn looks really bad. Earlier in the summer my mower was broken and so I couldn’t really do anything about it and this bothered me. He also agreed to clean out my beds but that was two months ago and he’s delayed the job many times to the point where they look horrible – almost as if the house is unoccupied. I almost wish now that I had just done them myself because they’d have been done when I wanted and the way I wanted.

About five years ago I hired someone to paint the house and was quite happy with that. I have attempted to hire someone to haul away my old fence but nobody seems willing to do it for less than $265. The roofer who replaced the roof about 12 years ago was a nightmare but that’s probably my fault for hiring a cheap guy. I was happy that I hired an installer for my new garage door but it’s doing a bit of squeaking now which im not happy with. So my track record with hiring is mixed but it seems to suggest that one should never go cheap. I’m also happy with my hot water heater installation even though I could totally have done that job.

I have also noticed that I dislike having to come home and stand over them. Tradesmen are often looking to get out as fast as they can and sometimes I don’t like the way they do their work. They’re not as neat as I would be or whatever but again that probably tracks with their cost.  Nonetheless, I often have to be there with them anyway so I wonder why I don’t just continue doing everything. 

I can see the day coming when I can’t physically do certain things any more. I guess I’d better get used to interviewing tradesmen.

I did not ever try to fix the cars by the way. I long ago decided that I need those to be operational every day and they need to be perfect so those need to be done by a professional. Around the house I have the luxury of time in which I can take things apart and study them and figure out what to do. With the cars I can’t take them apart and then go to the store for something.  Perhaps I should adopt a similar way of thinking as regards the house; just think of everything as a magical black box that does something.  Then perhaps I won’t be so reticent to call someone nor will I be so inclined to second guess them.

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