The Right Tools

Earlier I said I’m not dedicating my blog to chronicling all the DIY projects my husband and I do around our new house. This example from a couple weeks ago is kind of why.

Our bedroom gets a lot of afternoon sun through it’s two windows which, naturally, can make it uncomfortably warm. Solution? Shopping for thermal curtains! My husband, like most men, loves shopping for window treatments, so we spent some time at his favorite hardware store first to be fair. He had a list of things in mind that he needed for projects “in the coming year,” so he thought it would be a good idea to stock up. Plus, he had two coupons. We’re savvy shoppers that way.

Picking out curtains consisted of me mulling over what would match our bedding, decor, and future painting plans, while he chipped in with the occasional, “Sure honey, whatever you think,” as appropriate. (I have to give him a little more credit — he did honestly prefer one pattern over another and picked out the curtain rods. For the latter, he chose the kind that gave him an excuse to use the drill he thought would look better.)

We took everything home and my hubby-handyman set to work. He measured, marked the wall, and tested the curtain on the rod for length to be sure. (We wanted them to skim the floor, but not drag or be too short.) He did all this methodically and carefully. Then he hung the curtains for real. They weren’t only too short, but also crooked.

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Puzzling, no?

Turns out “we” checked the length with the curtain flipped upside down. (I love how he was thoughtful enough to include me in the error.) As for the crookedness, he used the window frame as reference when he installed the rod. After he measured from the floor, we had this exchange:

Handy Hubby: The frame is crooked!

Me: Did you check it with your level?

HH: I don’t have a level.

Dear reader, do you remember where were we earlier that day? That magical store with products for all your leveling needs? I’m pretty sure I saw at least 10 different level selections on the shelves. Still, Handy Hubby usually earns an A+ when it comes to building/fixing/installing, so this was more amusing than frustrating. Besides, I would have assumed the window frame was level too, wouldn’t you?

He installed the curtains on the other window even more meticulously. He measured from the floor, tested a curtain hanging right side up, and … drumroll … it was slightly crooked. The second curtain he hung was a little shorter than the one he used to test the length, he insisted.

Sure it is, honey.

OK, yes, slightly different lengths on the same curtains do happen sometimes, and it’s really not a big deal. You don’t notice unless you get down on the floor and examine the darn things.

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Bet you can’t even tell … that much.

Lessons of the Day:

  1. Don’t begin home improvement projects after 8 p.m. It was approaching 10 p.m. when Handy Hubby finished curtain #2. No one wants to go to bed cursing window frames and fixing curtain #1 was postponed till the following day. (It remains untouched. Hey, they’re still serving their purpose — it stays much cooler in there now.)
  2. Buy a level. Especially if you’re “stocking up for the coming year.”
  3. Measure twice, drill once.

As for the extra holes we’ll have in the wall, fortunately, we have yet to paint the room, so spackling is in the future anyway.

So there you have it. I sort of broke my no DIY rule to bring you this anecdote with sage home improvement advice and pictures, no less. Also, my mom wanted the photographic evidence and she is a devoted follower of my blogging. (She’s married to a handy hubby as well. She understands.)

Oh, and in case you were wondering, “we” have since bought a level.

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