Some guys like to gamble on football games. I like to gamble on home improvement projects.
Here’s what I mean. Say you’ve got a leaky faucet, which, in fact, I did last week. Well, you know the plumber is going to charge you a service fee just to come out.
So, instead of just calling a plumber, which your significant other, if they’re like Anna, has already told you to do, you wager that there’s a good probability that you could learn how to fix the leaky faucet and do it for less than the cost of the service call.
There are two ways to win this bet. One, you can complete the project in a reasonable amount of time for less than it would cost a professional to come do it. That’s obvious, right?
We’ll get to the second way to win this bet in a minute, but you need to know going into this story that my goal was option No. 1.
Six or seven months ago, Anna asked me to fix the faucet in her bathroom. The problem was one of the knobs had gotten a little loose and the faucet would not turn off all the way.
Well, six or seven months ago we were still in the middle of winter and it was easier to let the faucet drip than worry about a frozen pipe.
Then the next thing I know it was last week. And, allegedly for the 200th time, Anna asked me to get the faucet fixed. There were some other words in there, but this is a family-friendly column.
I got home from work, watched a couple of YouTube videos and proceeded with tools in hand to dismantle the faulty knob that controls the spigot.
On YouTube, these things just pop off. I mean you have to pry a little bit, but ultimately, they just pop off.
There I am – prying – when I notice there’s a little screw in the back of the fixture. The problem was that this screw was obviously installed before the vanity was set in place, because there was no way to access it otherwise.
This is a pain because now I’m going to have to clean out the bottom of the vanity, unhook the drain and detach this thing from the wall in an effort to slide it out far enough to access the screw.
I was hungry and I was hoping to have this job done before Anna got home from work. That way, when she got home, we could go get something to eat.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.
When Anna arrived home, she found the entire contents of her bathroom sink sitting on the kitchen table. She found tools strewn across her bathroom. She saw that the vanity had been thoroughly detached from the wall.
And there I was, with a hammer in mid-swing, locked in on that knob.
Turns out the screw wasn’t the problem. It was also that moment, with the hammer in my hand, that I realized this endeavor had gone horribly wrong.
That brings me to the second way to win the aforementioned wager.
If the total cost of the damage you cause is greater than the service fee, then that counts as a win too, because at that point it’s worth paying the service fee.