Sunday, 26 November, 2006

Long weekend activities

In the past 20 years, Thanksgiving for me has always been a four-day weekend. Prior to that I was working in a bank and, since federal banking regulations prohibit a bank from being closed more than three days in a row (something about depositors wanting to get their money, if you can imagine), Friday would find me ensconced in the computer room banging away at the keyboard. I guess that was okay because my wife at the time was working retail and you can bet she had to work on the day after Thanksgiving.

I tried the "Black Friday" shopping thing once and decided that it wasn't for me. Shopping makes me jittery on the best of days. The crowds on the Friday after Thanksgiving scare the heck out of me. Can you believe stores were opening at five in the morning yesterday? What kind of craziness is that? I can just imagine the employees and customers at each others' throats because they didn't get enough sleep and haven't had enough coffee. Most people I know don't even know that 5:00 AM exists. If they do, they're convinced that there isn't any air in the world that early.

For me, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a day of rest. An entire "me" day for lazing around, maybe watching a movie on DVD, puttering at the computer, and generally being a wholly unproductive member of society. I get very upset if somebody tries to make me actually do work on that day.

The next two days, though, are usually spent on some home project. One year it was replacing a dishwasher and a few other minor chores. This year I'm hanging doors in a room that we're remodeling. There's a trick to hanging doors--especially the double closet doors that I'm working with (two sets of double doors). I'm hoping that I don't have to hang so many doors that I figure out what the trick is. Both sets of closet doors are up now, as is the hallway door--a 30-inch pre-hung door that was very easy compared to these double door units.

I've done a lot of remodeling in this house over the years, including turning the garage into an office, laundry room, entry way, and pantry. I've come to the conclusion that doing your own home repairs or remodeling saves you money only if you don't count your time. It's taken me a whole day (spread out over two days) to install those two closet doors. Somebody who does this stuff for a living would have had both doors installed and perfect in about three hours, tops. And I'll bet the trim would look better than mine, too.

So why do I install these doors rather than pay somebody? Because sometimes I like doing something completely different. I sit behind a computer all day long, thinking and pounding out code or writing articles. It feels good to get out the tools and build something physical from time to time.