Pillars Of Excellence

We have had a couple of wooden pillars in our possession since my days of working at the Home Depot. I bought them for $5 for the pair- which was a great deal considering they were a custom order at $200/each but got cancelled and just sat in the store. The pillars just stayed unpainted and in the way in our last two homes. I never knew what I wanted to do with them.

My wife came up with an idea to finally put them to good use. So I painted them with a couple coats of flat black yesterday. I was glad to see that even after two moves and nearly 20 years- there was no damage done to them.

Now that the columns are painted, I put a piece of tile on the top of each of them and set them up at our front door. We bought a couple of small trees to put on the top. Next week we are planning to buy bigger (and nicer) pots for them.

In the end, I’m happy that the pillars got put to use. I like the idea of using them as a plant stand. They look great outside our front door.

DIY Dads

My friend Greg is a lot like me. He is always on the go with new projects and building stuff. Recently he began a project that was a far bigger undertaking than I think I could handle. But I’m impressed with his skills and the work done so far.

On Saturday I stopped by to offer some help. I was also curious to see how the project was going. He and his wife were given a travel trailer that needed a bit of work. There was a few bad spots where some leaking had occurred.

Instead of just throwing some duct tape and caulking on it, Greg peeled back the layers and began the challenge of fixing the trailer- from the frame out. What he has done so far is throughly impressive. He is hoping to have the outside of the trailer back together by fall. At the pace he is going, I imagine it to be completed.

Our buddy Matt has also been helping Greg along the way. Something about Dads and power tools… Building and creating makes us feel like providers you our families. Plus it’s fun to see sparks fly.

I now know that if I have a big project to do, I will summon the DAD PROJECT POWERS of Greg to assist me. I can already think of a project that will need his help.

Making a home.

Just a short drive from our home is a new housing development.  Recently I wandered through five of these new million & a half dollar houses.  They had all the modern features you’d expect: stainless steel everything, outdoor kitchens, huge media rooms, a bar, heated garages, vaulted ceilings, open floor plan… & no yard.


A million here, a million there, pretty soon it’ll add up to real money.


These new houses were filled with high end furniture and staged to give an illusion of being lived in.  After wandering these houses, it occurred to me that it isn’t what I wanted in life.  New may seem nice.  It’s fun to show off and pretend like you have your shit together, but who are you trying to impress?

Is this still the dream?


Needless to say, I came home to my place and felt partly defeated.  My home is from the 70’s.  We bought the house in 2007 and have done many changes to it.  It has gone through many upgrades and renovations over the years.  It has character.  It’s not a cookie cutter design, it was custom made by a bricklayer- and it shows.  Because it was custom made in the 70’s , I’ve run into many problems.  Electrical and plumbing are high on that list.

I love doing home renovations.  Walking through the new housing development, I got some ideas to update my home.  Most of my knowledge comes from personal research (mostly on Pinterest) and my time spent working as a sales associate at Home Depot.  During the slow times there, I’d wander to the different departments and ask questions. I learned that the staff at my local Home Depot are extremely knowledgeable in their given departments.  I also learned, don’t ask for help on a weekend, it’s always busy.  Go in mid-week during the day and you will be able to truly learn something of value.  There are also plenty of great how-to books and seminars available.


Screw it.


Over the years, I learned the hard way that you need the right tools for the job.  Never cut corners.  I take pride in the work I have done around my home.  The hardest part I have found is finishing my projects.  I’ll get about 90% done, and stop.  It’s the little finishes that I need to do: baseboards, or hiding wires, or adding that little bit of caulking.

Here’s the thing: I’m not building my home to impress anyone.  I’m building it because I enjoy what I do.  My home has a yard.  A yard that my kids and dogs have made good use of.  A yard that I enjoy looking at and hanging out in.


Our door is always open, unless it’s closed.


As much as a new house would be nice to own, I’d lose my little bit of tranquility.  I’d be bored not having a project to work on.  I’m not ready to do that.  My home is a place that we welcome friends and future friends to visit.  You’ll find unfinished walls, dog hair on the furniture, and smiles on our faces.

Just remember to bring the white wine and beer as we fire up the grill this summer and create memories that will last a lifetime.  That makes my home worth more to me than a million bucks and I’m not ready to sell.