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Remodeling your home not at all like ‘This Old House’ repair

JANE STEBBINS
Special to the DailyJane Stebbins
ALL |

My friend – I’ll call him … “Jim” – and I are going to start a new self-help television program called “This Old #$!@* House.”I know, I know. There’s already one out there. But this is going to be entirely different because it’s going to be based on reality, which will result in it being placed in the Reality TV genre, which is a very lucrative field. God alone knows why.You’ve heard of PBS’s “This Old House,” in which Kevin O’Connor – “The Host” – works with “Experts” in various fields who show you how to repair and renovate your home.They make repair look so easy! They have obviously never cleaned their home of mouse doots – by the pound.The key to our show will be reality. Real reality. Not “go live on an island and get along with people and see who gets hired to be a millionaire” reality. No, ours will be “stub your toe and cut the wrong piece of pipe” reality.We began with Jim’s house because it was built prior to many prehistoric caves and, in hindsight, we probably should have just torn it down. Alas, he lives in the historic district in Breckenridge, and the town does a little more than frown on people who tear down historic homes. Not much, but a little.Jim did most of the work, and because I helped by locating the tools he throws and applying pressure to stop the bleeding, we feel well qualified to direct such a show.

First, you pull all the necessary permits. Once you’ve secured them, rip them to shreds! Do not continue in your pursuit!Fine. Ignore us. You have been warned!Wield a sledge hammer and bring down the old drywall. The hammer will glance off the wall, you’ll lose your balance and drop it. It’ll land on your toe. You’ll hop around, trip on a stack of tile, fall onto the woodburning stove, fly off the stove and step on a nail. You will know the EMTs in the emergency room on a first-name basis.And that’s just Day 1.You get the drywall down and realize there’s a layer of “Historic Fabric” beneath. This has to go, too, but it has to come down in one piece because it must be replaced or the town will throw a fit. The town lives for its “Historic Fabric.”While carefully peeling off the “Historic Fabric” with your carpet knife, you find electrical wire. You accidentally cut through it, sending a pretty shower of sparks over you just before the house goes black. You then trip on the cameraman’s electrical cord that tightens, tripping a man delivering a large pane of glass who falls into the road and gets hit by a bus.Reality check! This would not happen on Mr. O’Connor’s show!Once that layer of “Historic Fabric” is off, you realize there’s a second layer of “Historic Fabric” beneath it. Repeat the removal process 17,290,487 times until you get to the framing of the house.

Ha ha! That’s not reality! When Jim’s house was built, they didn’t have things like “framing,” or “foundations” or “doors” – things that really help sell a home when you become frustrated with home remodeling and put it on the market.You get to build your own framing. Measure the wood. When you let the tape retract, it will cut you, the equivalent of a paper cut on steroids. Take your circular saw – carefully! Just ask our friend “Nine-Fingers Rick” – and cut the wood to that length. It will be a half-inch too short.”Measure once, cut twice,” is Jim’s motto.Try again. The saw will kick, forcing your elbow into the lens of the camera man who will fall through the plate glass window into what is supposed to become the pool. That alone is going to make your “Costs Go Through The Roof,” which is something the bank doesn’t like even more than the town doesn’t like you messing with its “Historic Fabric.”Reality Check! This would not happen on Mr. #$!@* O’Connor’s show!Other tips: Plumbing: There will be a fitting you forgot to solder and you won’t realize it until you turn the water back on. Know where your pipes are before banging nails in the wall.Soldering will always start a wall fire.

Gas shut off. Electricity shut off. Water shut off. Know where they are.Insulation. It itches. For days.Mouse doots reproduce overnight.Jim and I have since re-evaluated undergoing all this mayhem again, this time in front of a camera.That was just the reality check we needed.But don’t miss our next program: “This Old #$!@* Car.”Jane Stebbins writes a Wednesday column. She can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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