WOW! That was a weekend I will never forget!
Back in 2008, my wife and I spent the weekend putting down engineered hardwood. We were doing some renovations to our house in Atlanta; we chose the engineered flooring, which has the pretty wood on top but is held together underneath by plywood. We arrived at this decision after researching every flooring material ever invented.
One reason we chose this product was the ease of installation. Installing a floor is a lot like playing the video game Tetris. There are odd corners, angles, and holes, which you must fit with performed pieces. The work is not physically demanding, except for the constant bending. After doing it a couple of days, my lower back felt like somebody had been using it to keep tempo to a Barry Manilow song with a lug wrench. And I don’t mean one of those wimpy, slow songs wither. But the good news was that the floor was done.
During the course of our home renovation, my wife and I debated about whether to undertake many of these do-it-yourself projects. We consulted a variety of experts in those fields. We call them “guys” – sheetrock guys, flooring guys, roofing guys, air conditioning guys, etc. For every aspect of your home, there is a “guy” whose business it is.
He knows everything there is to know about his area of expertise. Everything that is, except what to do in our particular case. You see, the problem with our home was that it was so huge that there were more twists and curves than an Elvis Presley concert. We spoke with lots of guys.
Speaking with the guys was always a challenge for me. Unlike most of the guys, I didn’t even own an iphone at the time. (I did not acquire an iphone until recently but I still don’t even know how to use the thing). But at the time, I owned a small, practical cellular phone, which put me at a disadvantage. I cannot simply engage the simple “chirp chirp” function and order a pallet of shingles to be delivered next Thursday.
These guys had phones that looked like racecars bred with front-end loaders. Mine looked like a computer mouse dressed up for a Star Trek convention. Their phones had Nascar ringtones. Mine played, “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. So, after several lengthy episodes of phone tag, I managed to actually meet a few of them.
In speaking with the guys, I learned that a good tradesman is not one who just knows the thing. He has to know the exception to the thing. Yes, multiple exceptions even. However straightforward a thing may seem to be to the ignorant, uninitiated, the expert must explain that the reality is as convoluted and complex as the tax code. Further, each expert must offer an opinion variant from his predecessor. For instance, on the matter of flooring:
GUY #1: you don’t want laminate in your house. You want engineered hardwood. It’s easy to install and can even be refinished. (His phone rings). “Vroom, Vroom”. Hold on, I need to take this call.
GUY #2: Take that engineered hardwood back. The garbage will swell up like a dead dog in July. You want laminate flooring. It’s durable and maintenance free. (His phone rings). “Gentlemen, start your engines”. Let me grab this call.
GUY #3: What are you, an idiot? You definitely want to go with real wood. All that other stuff causes cancer and it’s made by communists. (My phone rings). Is that Vanilla Ice? Get out of my store!
So after much debate and research, we installed the engineered floor. And I have to say, it looked great! Once you finish a big home remodeling job like that its like being part of a fraternal order. It’s a man’s badge of honor, like your first shave or the first time you kissed a girl.
When word started getting out in our subdivision that we lived in that I took on that home renovation project, I noticed that other men started asking my opinion on related renovation issues such as, “If I am painting a house that’s 2,500 square feet, has T111 siding and the temperature outside is 90 degrees, how many cases of Band-Aids will it take to do the job?”
Even though I am not a medical doctor, I can usually come within two cases. Heck, now that I think about it I might even buy me some fancy gadget to use but I will have to get my 6 year old son to teach me how to use it.
God bless and go Cats!
Rev. Scott Murphy is the Pastor at the First Christian Church in Russellville