Sometimes You Need To Do Things That Scare You

Sometimes You Need To Do Things That Scare You

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said “Every day you should do something that scares you”

I don’t know about you but I get too comfortable in my own little world and get fearful of getting in over my head.

But for the past few months I have this rotting deck in my backyard.

I first called a big box hardware store to come out and give and estimate and they did and it seemed expensive.

Here’s where I get brave, see I’m so cheap fear flies out the window if I think I can save a few bucks.

So I figured I could fix the deck, give myself another year and then get it replaced.

Yes this process scared me.

I checked my favorite do it yourself magazine and videos and they said you could just cut what wood pieces you need to replace and patch it up.

Sounds simple enough right?

In two trips I loaded up my SUV with 15 replacement deck boards that were eight feet long, bought a new jig saw, blades and screws and I’m good to go.

I waited a few weeks until the weather cooperated and then I got started.

Why does do it yourself usually mean you should have hired a pro?

It took me forever to get the old rotten board out and then get the replacement board in, I kind of knew then I was in deep doo-doo.

And when I really did was when I realized the replacement board was too thin.

The original board was 1 1/2 inches thick and the replacement I bought was 1 inch thick.

I could have measured the stairs (the ends are exposed to show thickness), to be sure but I thought I had it, well almost.

Anyway in the midst of replacing the first board I saw how rotted this 22 yeard deck old was.

And I powerwashed and stained it every summer but its just age (the previous owner did not maintain it to the level I did), and Chicago weather.

It was so rotten in one place a mushroom was growing right in the floorboard and wasps were living well in one of the corners.

So after spraying a can of killer for the wasps and them chasing me around and me screaming like a school girl.

I tried to get back to work but being on my hands and knees checking out this deck man it was in really bad shape.

Not to mention I also realized I’d make a crappy carpenter.

My step grandfather was a master carpenter and my dad was good with wood projects like birdhouses, I didn’t get that gene.

So I sat on the floor of the deck and realized I needed to get another estimate and that this deck was toast.

Also that I needed to return those 14 boards (since I used one), back to the home center and take good measurements and inspect the rest of the deck so I know what I’m talking about for replacement.

And I did, I loaded up the SUV, got my money back (I got there a lot and I think they felt sorry for me), and the next day went to another home center and talked with a manager about what would be needed to rebuild this deck.

I was out of my element but I did my homework and I know enough that this is way beyond my skill level but I won’t get ripped off either.

I feel better about myself having stretched myself to do this but wise enough to know my limitations.

Oh well, now I’m just making the preparations for replacment and trying not to be too over zealous about the next project, yeah right.

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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email

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