My earliest memory is of me on our back porch, probably 3 years old, swinging my plastic hammer while my dad was adding on to it. My parents tell me stories of how I was sitting in my bouncer while my dad worked and I was covered in saw dust. Those moments have to be what got me started on my life as a handyman.
I remember constantly having projects in our childhood home. Anything from crawling into the crawl space access in my bedroom closet to help pump water out from under the house to reroofing the house, my early years were spent helping my dad with projects.
As a first grader I had a bit of a temper. I remember one morning playing kickball before school and the class bully came and took one of the balls I had caught. So I punched him in the mouth! By the time we were both sitting in the principal’s office we were friends however I still got suspended. When I got home I don’t remember my parents getting mad, what I do remember is going out on that hot summer day in Northern California and helping my dad reroof the house. Now that may not be what actually happened over 20 years ago but that’s how I remember it.
That project stands out in my memory most of all. After all how many boys get to climb on top of their house, tear off the roof, find possum skeletons, and jump off the roof as an elementary schooler? I can tell you that now there is no way I, or my boys, would be jumping off roofs but it did show me that doing hard work can still be fun.
As I continued to grow there were always new projects for me to help out with. Digging trenches seemed to be a reoccurring job. We laid giant flagstone in our back yard, built an awesome workshop, poured concrete countertops before they were all over DIY Network. We installed hardwood floors and stair treads, painted more walls than I could possibly ever count, installed lights and ran electrical, hung drywall and doors, remodeled bathrooms and kitchens and all of this and more before I turned 18.
I will forever be grateful to my father and grandfather for teaching me these skills. If it were not for them I would never have been able to do the things I have done since then. I use the skills my dad taught me on almost a daily basis and would be a much different man than I am today.
After turning 18 I left on a service mission for two years and during that time I was able to use those skills to help other people. Little projects mostly, like fixing lights and ceiling fans, but because I had those skills I was able to touch the lives of many other people.
When I returned from my mission I got married fairly soon after. I remember living in a tiny apartment, east of San Francisco, and it drove me nuts not having anything to work on. It was about two years later that my wife and I bought our first fixer upper and I was able to get back to my roots. This time however I had a baby to work around. Projects became more difficult not because I didn’t know how to do it but because I didn’t have time! I laid flooring, installed trim and mouldings, built furniture, painted more, and did even more projects before selling that house and buying and even older home that needed more work!
Our next home was built in 1951 and hadn’t been updated since maybe the 70’s. There we rewired the house, ran new plumbing supply lines, gutted almost every room to insulate and update, drywall, more paint, gutted and remodeled another kitchen and bathroom and countless other small projects. It felt like it would never end! All of a sudden I missed that small east Bay Area apartment where I could actually relax.
Well that’s about when we moved again this time to a new state and into a townhouse where my projects are small but enjoyable. Now I have time to help others again and begin teaching my boys and I must say, there are not a lot of things more gratifying than watching my 3 year old use a socket wrench to help build a crib for his little brother. My dad taught me and now i hope i can teach my sons and help others with the skills I have and continue to develop.