Mike Putz

By my own admission, I’m not the handiest guy around the house when it comes to doing what I like to call “man things.”

By my definition, man things make up odd jobs around the house that many people are capable of doing. They include, but are not limited to, the following: small construction projects, painting, plumbing, electrical wiring and automotive repair. Man things are not done exclusively by men. I know many women who can do any of the things I’ve listed above.

But when it comes to my talents, I’m not good at doing odd jobs around the house. So it made perfect sense that less than a week before Christmas, armed with Youtube do-it-yourself videos and a few tools, I tore apart our small bathroom with hopes of putting it back together again before our family arrived for Christmas. I tore out the toilet and the sink before ripping up the linoleum. With any luck, I figured I’d have the bathroom put completely back together in 48 hours. Never mind the fact that I had never done any of these tasks before. The videos I watched made it look easy.

I was an overconfident fool.

Things did not go as smoothly as the do-it-yourself videos led me to believe they would. First, I discovered that my water shut-off for the stool didn’t shut all the way off. So I had to go downstairs and turn off the water to the house. After that, I removed the stool with no problem. Next I set my sights on the flooring. The linoleum came up easily enough, but I discovered that a leak had compromised the floor, requiring a new floor be put down before I put new linoleum squares down. This was something I had not planned on doing. This hadn’t happened in any of the videos I watched. I figured my 48-hour completion goal would now be pushed back to 72 hours.

Since I couldn’t continue replacing the floor, I set my sights on the sink. I removed the sink easily. Unfortunately, I failed to account for how I could turn the water back on without it gushing out of pipes I had no way of capping off. So that meant there would be no running water in our home until I could get a plumber in first thing the next day to cap off the pipes.

When I told my wife this, she took the news quite well. I also admitted to her that I was not as confident in my ability to finish this project, and that the bathroom project might not be finished before six additional people joined us (and our one remaining working bathroom) for a few days over Christmas. Aggie took this news well, too. It was then that I realized that I may be married to the most patient person in the world.

The next day, a plumber came and worked his magic so we could enjoy running water. He agreed to come back and set the stool and sink once I had the floor finished and the bathroom painted. An area carpenter put the new flooring down in the bathroom, thus allowing me to put down the new linoleum tile.

The week after Christmas saw me painting the bathroom and then gluing tile in place. I must admit it looks pretty good. Hopefully by the time this column makes it to print, my plumber will be back and will have the rest of the bathroom put back together.

I still wish I were a bit handier at tasks around the house. I did notice the other day that my truck brakes seems a bit off. I found a do-it-yourself video that shows how to fix them with just a couple of tools I think I can borrow from my neighbor. Fixing it myself would save a few dollars and give me a feeling of satisfaction. What could possibly go wrong?