Whether you’re assembling furniture, upgrading your home network, installing a bathroom sink, or tackling virtually any other home improvement project, there are certain laws of physics and human nature that invariably apply.
You can’t avoid these rules, so you might as well familiarize yourself with them now, before you break out the power tools.
1. No habla. The instructions that came with whatever you’re installing will be written in a language that vaguely resembles English but isn’t, accompanied by diagrams drawn by a 4-year-old. But that doesn’t matter, because you probably weren’t going to read them anyway.
2. The natural state of wires is tangled. No matter how carefully you untangle and rewind cables into a perfect coil that would cause a merchant sailor to turn green with envy, those same wires will reassemble themselves into the Gordian Knot the moment you turn your back.
3. There will be blood. While a visit to the emergency room isn’t a strict requirement of household repair, you should expect to donate at least some bodily essence to the greater good. Consider it a ritual sacrifice.
4. You cannot go wrong with duct tape. This miracle invention fixes pretty much everything, including that nasty gash you just got when the X-Acto blade slipped.
5. Cursing helps. Don’t ask why, it just does — especially if you’ve just experienced rule No. 3. You’ll want to send the kids to Grandma’s house until the storm has passed.
6. You will need to start over. A project is not truly under way until you realize you’ve installed a key piece of equipment upside-down and backward, forcing you to dismantle the entire thing and begin again. Be sure to budget extra time for this.
7. You’ve got bigger problems. The thing you thought you were fixing will result in the discovery of a much larger problem requiring thousands of dollars of repairs and the expertise of a dozen skilled laborers. (But if you slap some duct tape on it, it should hold until you’re able to sell it to some other poor slob or die, whichever comes first.)
8. There’s no visible means of support. When your project has reached a complete impasse and you don’t know where to turn, it will dawn on you that there’s a phone number you can call to help you figure out what to do next. You will realize this five minutes after the support line has shut down for the weekend.
9. It will never end. At the point of greatest despair, when you are lamenting the decision to do this yourself and seriously considering dropping everything to become a mule for a South American drug cartel, your adoring spouse will arrive with a list of 10 other projects for you to tackle once you finish this one.
10. It’s not worth it. You will be tempted to brain your adoring spouse with a rubber mallet. Resist this urge if you can. Even the most onerous home repair project is better than prison. With your luck, they’d make you fix the toilets.
Questions, complaints, kudos? Email Dan Tynan at ModFamily1@yahoo.com.