your life back
Common projects you
can do in 2 hours or less
your weekends back?
two-word phrase, the deadly combo (with or without fries), the description that
makes the end of the week suck for many of us weekend project
-- is innocuous in pronunciation and almost un-American to deride. Why,
all dying to cram in 40, 50, or 60 hours during weekdays so we can come home and
fix plumbing, teeter atop ladders fixing gutters and tend to the lawn.
Whose idea was that, anyway? Where is it written that in front of the house must
be the lawn, and yea, the lawn must be not washed out but of a vibrant green,
free of intruders of any other color or texture, of exactly the same height,
edged, and all of this must be done prior to 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on weekends,
accompanied by a leaf blower that could keep a four-person plane in the air for
40 minutes, whether it is needed for the job or not?
the outdoors is so swell anyway, then why did God make an indoors? Anyhow,
thats not what were here to discuss. Were here to give you your
thinking about the things you have to do around the house as weekend
projects. In reality, and with a couple understandings up-front, many of the
jobs you need to do are two-hour fixes. That means you can get home on weekdays,
have dinner around 6 p.m., get started around 7 p.m. and still get to watch
X-Files at 9 p.m.
weekend suddenly opens up.
hours and under
Mike Frentz identified several jobs around the house that you probably have to
do, or have been putting off, that can be done in two hours or less. However, he
attached a couple conditions to that statement: First, be honest with yourself.
That doesnt mean you have to take off all your clothes and stand in front of
a full-length mirror. It means you know, deep down, whether or not you scoff at
Tim The Tool Man Taylor, or if one day you hope to be as good as he is.
you can follow fairly simple directions, be coordinated enough to envision the
project and get to the hardware store to get parts during the day, say on your
lunch hour (and thus save yourself that trip in the middle of the project), have
basic tools and a little patience, you probably can, on a weeknight:
a new garbage disposal. Were talking a basic swap out here, bad for
good, not a completely new installation. This is largely due to Plastic P
piping, which you can cut with a hacksaw and tighten by hand.
most conditions, plastic is fine, Mike says, meaning it isnt necessary to
go for metal because while the water is going to get hot, it isnt going
to heat up enough to melt the plastic, unless youre working on a
Estimated time two hours.
a sink faucet, again because you dont have to use metal piping. The
Reinforced Faucet Hookup Tube, as it is properly called, is almost as long
as your arm, already has the proper connections on the ends, and bends like
a Gumby. If you buy one and its too long, you just tie a loose
loop in it, thus no cutting needed.
Estimated time about an hour.
a new fill valve on a toilet. Its all one piece now, and connected by
a Reinforced Toilet Hookup Tube (not kidding).
Estimated time under an hour.
you can always run into problems, Mike says, which is why a) its a good
idea to do your work when Frentz is still open, and b) thats why Frentz stays
open until 9 p.m. (They dont want to miss 24 either.)
the air filter on your furnace. Its probably the same gray as Regis
Philbins complexion. This is a small but important job, particularly if
someone in your home has asthma or allergies. Frentz has two types of
special filters that catch the mold and pollen, one made by American Air
Filter, called the Dirt Demon, and the other by 3M, called Filtrete, which says its electrostatic
fibers catch particles of less than one micron.
Estimated time: 5 minutes.
in a window air conditioner. Start it up before you haul it into the
window, just to make certain everythings working well, and get a new
filter. Mike says if you use a window air conditioner regularly in the
summer, he cant see going through the season without changing that filter
at least once. Otherwise, youre blowing around a lot of nicely chilled
bacteria and other goo. When you have little kids and you send them to
bed in the summertime, air conditioning is a must, Mike adds.
Estimated time: under two hours.
a lock. Again, were talking a one-for-one swap, not doing something
like replacing a skeleton lock with a new Kwickset. Something you may not know
if youre a landlord, or if you were just out late last night and
deeply, deeply regret giving someone a key to your house, take the lock out
of the door and bring the entire mechanism to Frentz. For $6, they will
repin the lock (most incorrectly call this process rekeying a lock), which
means they will put in new pins and cut you new keys, because the old ones
wont work now.
Even with travel time, repinning and replacing the lock when you get home,
the estimated time is still two hours.