Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just because you can DIY something doesn't mean you should

I don't like to have things done for me.  If I'm on the NJ/PA border and need gas I'll wait until I get to PA so I can pump it myself.  I can count the number of manicures I've had in my life with the ragged fingers on one hand.  I have a hard time sitting still and I figure if I physically can do something why let someone else do it for me?  Turns out my idea of "physically can" is unrealistic.

Let me back up to how I learned the lesson in this post's title.  We are having carpet installed in the boys' bedrooms and hallway this weekend which lit a fire to do all the things that will become more difficult or messier post-installation (patching walls, baseboards, etc.).  Feeling confident after replacing Brady's baseboard heater I thought I'd tackle it again in Matthew's room.  There was a strange gap where an awkward door used to be, end-caps were missing or falling off.  It was a mess.

I took my measurements and bought the materials.  Just like in Brady's room I used a reciprocating saw to detach the existing heater cover from the wall.  A reciprocating saw is a powerful tool that will demo just about anything using a back and forth motion (like a jackhammer) and a blade on the end.  It can be dangerous.  To ensure I didn't damage my eyes I used goggles.  To ensure I didn't damage my hearing I used ear plugs.  To ensure I didn't dislocate a shoulder or cut an appendage off I decided to use my entire body weight to control it since my arms are not considered impressive at any gun show.  Well my "entire body weight" is 92 lbs.  So while I was successful in replacing the baseboard cover with my fingers and feet in tact I did not take into account the damage that the full body shaking would do to my head.

I woke up the next morning to a headache and a blind spot in my vision.  Thinking a migraine was starting I took some Aleve and continued on my day.  Then I noticed an inability to read my book on my train commute.  A dull headache and a feeling of being carsick followed me for about 5 days.  Finally I saw a doctor to discover two retinal hemorrhages in my eye and a frayed blood vessel due to oxygen deprivation in my eye's blood vessel.  I had given myself a concussion.  Or my unprofessional diagnosis, I was a complete dumb-dumb.

While I was having 9 vials of blood drawn to rule out other causes all I could focus on was a spot on the doctor's dry wall that was badly patched and I wanted nothing more than a spackle knife to scrape it all off and fix it.  The first step is recognition right?

I'm retiring from reciprocating saws because what good is home improvement if you blind yourself in the process and can't see it anyway?

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  1. You can pump your own gas in NY, you can't in NJ.

  2. have you had any issues with your curtains and the baseboard heaters? (fading, staining, fire, etc...)