Preventing Summer Injuries

Life Lessons
From Home Remodeling

From the editor

You can learn a lot about life from remodeling a home. It’s one of those micro experiences that translates on a grander scale. I’ve tabulated that I’ve spent easily 10 years of my life remodeling. We call our current home the Money Pit - we are six years in and by the time we are done we will have transformed every square inch of it - not cheap. The first home we remodeled was a nightmare with a leaky basement, rotting wood and a carpenter ant infestation. In the end, we brought that home back to life making it safe, solid and pretty again. It was both exhausting and rewarding. I vowed never again but kind of like childbirth – here we are again.

Here are a few life lessons I’ve learned from remodeling homes:

Work smarter not harder.

You need a plan, and to be well organized. A one-hour project can turn into an eight-hour project if you keep having to go back to the hardware store for something you forgot, lost or broke. And not doing proper research could result in struggling through the process or worse, redoing what you’ve already done. Do your research, make a plan and create a supply list. Then get after it.

Planning is great but you have to eventually start.

You could literally spend forever planning if you are determined to procrastinate. Usually this is a confidence issue. If you catch yourself doing it, try to dissect why and then either abandon the project or bite the bullet and do it, but don’t waste precious time being stuck in the planning phase.

First things first.

I received some really good advice early on: tackle structural and safety items first. These are usually the most difficult and expensive things to tackle but without a solid foundation nothing else will be as good. As in life, your mind, spirit and physical health should come before focus on other things. It’s hard to enjoy vacations, material treasures or even other people if you aren’t holistically well. Likewise, that beautiful new kitchen isn’t going to be so beautiful after the fire because you didn’t fix the outdated wiring.

Know your strengths and weaknesses.

As an example, I am a good painter but not so great at taping and mudding sheetrock. So obviously I save money painting and hire out sheetrock work. I know what I can do well and I what I can’t, which leads to the next point on the list.

Know when to hire an expert.

Yes, it will always cost more if you are only looking at money. But there’s also value in the peace of mind that comes from knowing it is done right. If you have to pay to have something fixed, then it is a major loss. Whether it is a home inspection, your taxes or even a health check-up, third party expertise is oftentimes worth it in the long run if you weigh the value of things being done quickly and correctly.

Use the right tools.

Having the right tools is critical in both remodeling and life. If you want to be as good as a pro, you have to use what they use. It is nearly impossible to do great woodworking with a hand saw - you need a slew of special saws and equipment. Likewise, imagine job hunting without the internet or finding that reclusive B&B without your smart phone navigation. Having the right tools makes outcomes better and usually much faster. Purdy paint brushes, by the way, are the best.

Problems ignored become bigger problems.

You know that small drip under the cabinet? Well, now it has caused rot and mold in the subfloor, so what was a $300 bill is now a $3,000 bill. If you recognize a problem, get it fixed. Practice self-discipline and the same self-care you provide your children. Problems with lifestyle and relationships can over time turn into addictions, disease, depression, even divorce. The sooner you deal with your problems, the easier they will be to overcome. Wait and you could be dealing with a domino effect of new problems stemming from the original.

As fun as carrying on about how remodeling relates to life is – I actually have to work and since practice makes perfect, my Purdy brush and I have a date right now.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Black Hills OBGYN

Dr. Bernard Eye Doctor at RC Medical Center

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