Let’s face it. I’m cheap. Really cheap, but not as cheap as I used to be. After all, the women in this household have gotten me hooked on a variation of the foo-foo coffee they seem to consume in ever-increasing quantities. I’m sure there was some cunning master plan involved there, but maybe not. To be honest, I can’t even understand what they order most of the time (double-pump soy what?), so I just let it go.
Just let it go. However, I digress.
Anyway, since I mentioned being frugal, when it comes to Do-It-Yourself projects around the house, I usually step up to the plate if I have any time at all to spare.
I look at it as therapy. And saving money, of course.
But I’ve also been known to get in over my head with a few of these deals over the years. The kitchen remodel comes to mind. The head gasket replacement on the old pick up –things of that sort. It’s not that I don’t have the intellectual ability to complete the projects; it’s either the real-world know how or the particular tools necessary that I usually lack.
While Zen-me’s War Cry is “No Professionals!”, I’ve learned enough over the years to apply what I euphemistically call “The Rule of My Father” to any potential project I contemplate tackling. That particular benchmark was developed as I was growing up, and it roughly equates into whatever time span I think is going to be required for project completion, I simply multiply by three to achieve an estimate much closer to reality.
By now you’ve probably guessed it came from my Dad and his inability (planned or otherwise) to provide a best guess for knocking things out around the house.
“Go ahead and clean the garage, son. It’ll take about an hour,” (I knew that meant three minimum, and so on).
Well, I’ve made mention previously of Daughter’s prime time ride — a VW Cabrio, which she has orphaned this semester since she kidnapped my truck and brought it to school instead. To be fair, I wouldn’t allow her to take the convertible cross county because: a) I didn’t think it would make it out of California, and b) See a).
The convertible top on her car, no doubt, helped give rise to the phrase “rag top,” because it is, indeed, very raggy. Very raggy, and holey, and ripped.
Rather than spending seven hundred bucks for someone to replace it, I bought a decent used one a few months ago for one-third the price, and I’m now just getting around to trying, yes, trying to install it.
Today was the day — at least part of the day. To prepare myself mentally, I watched some show on the Discovery Channel last night about excavating tombs around the final resting place of King Tut. When the Dog Archaeologists finally opened the main sarcophagus, it did not contain a mummy. Rather, it held a cornucopia of trinkets, jewelry, and eleven herbs and spices. Far from being disappointed, the Diggers were overjoyed, because it provided important historical context for the entire complex.
Removing the top off of Daughter’s car today was something like that. Applying the aforementioned RoMF, I figured this job was going to take two, multiplied by three, so six hours.
I’ll know more in 24 hours, but I think that estimate is fairly accurate. I’m about half-way done today.
I jumped into the thing head first, and as I peeled back layers of carpet and unhooked seats and panels, various objects of wonder came to light. In no particular order, I found a complete set of blue earrings, a remote control for a solar system mobile, eleven cents, three pens, two bags of clothes in the trunk that were supposed to be given away several months ago, one pencil, one Nintendo DS2 stylus, a cassette tape iPod adapter, one pair of sandals, and one pair of shoes.
Sure, the objects provide a somewhat sad commentary on Daughter’s transportation life, but the main lesson I took away is the entire automobile exuded a slightly musty, filmy vibe. Maybe not as bad as Hoarders, but getting there, I think.
After much wrangling and gnashing of teeth, I did finally manage to remove what was left of the old convertible top. And because I had a few hours of sunlight left, I launched Plan C, which was to get a head start on tomorrow’s work by at least nominally installing the frame for the new (used) top.
At this point, my Significant Other wandered by, looked and the expanse of tools and bits and pieces scattered about and commented, “Don’t you need a book or something for help? Do you know what you’re doing? Wouldn’t you rather pay someone to do that?”
Great encouragement around here, I tell you.
My reply was simple: “The book is on my shoulders.”
However, that doesn’t take into account the 2,359 nuts, bolts, and fasteners that are now strewn around the driveway and car.
I think I remember where most of them go. Maybe not. But time will tell. Stay tuned.
After all, tomorrow is another day.