A few months ago, our garage door opener stopped working out of the blue with my car stuck inside the garage. I mentioned to my husband I was just going to buy a new clicker but he stopped me, insisting that he could fix ours. I love him dearly, but he doesn’t have a handy bone in his body. Although he thought this was his chance to shine – he went so far as to call me a damsel in distress – I knew from past experience we were going to end up with a pile of tools on the dining room table, a still-broken item (see also: the blender, our stereo), and his bad mood after well-intentioned repair efforts failed.
After a heated argument, my dear husband gave in and we replaced the garage door opener instead of trying to fix it. We had a long talk once he’d calmed down and I stressed the importance of honesty with oneself. I used myself as an example: I love to run but I’m not ready to attempt a marathon. I made sure he knew that a lack of skill with electronics repair didn’t mean he wasn’t a good provider, a loving spouse, and the funniest person I’ve ever known. Should you know someone similarly determined to fix everything in his/her path, here are some criteria for evaluating what they can handle and what should be handed over to a professional.
Consider the difficulty level
Many home improvement projects don’t require the help of a professional. You can find lots of do-it-yourself guides and videos that explain exactly how an inexperienced person can do the project. Keep in mind that your aspirations might be bigger than the project at hand. If you’re installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen, you can probably finish the work on your own. Ripping out the plumbing in a spare bathroom is another pursuit entirely. Know your skill level and your limits. It’s wonderful to want to be the handiest repair person to ever live on your cul-de-sac, but you also don’t want to place an emergency call to a plumber if you get in over your head. [Read more…]