Hey, if they're going to bury us with "reality shows," let's have one where they are doing home projects -- you know, adding a deck, a porch, a room or a patio without the cast of "This Old House" looking over someone's shoulder.
And let's forget about that junk where you have a budget of only $50,000 to build that deck. This is not a fairy tale. This is just you, God and Home Depot.
There will be no budding starlet bimbos. The only wet T-shirt you're going to see is on the person who is mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow with a shovel. And I doubt this person is going to be a turn-on wearing a nail apron and with enough grit and sawdust on his brow to start a sandpaper factory.
I get truly amused at those projects they show on television where they build that deck in one day and then get cleaned up in time to go out to dinner and celebrate. Everything is square, level and plumb on the first shot. Give me a break! God has a much greater sense of humor than that! I've spent half a morning just looking for my level and trying to piece together enough extension cord to reach my circular saw.
There's an old saying in carpentry -- measure twice, cut once. Well, many of us guys who are not professionals at this have ruined a perfectly good two-by-four because we were looking at the "9" upside down which made it a "6." But we don't throw away that piece of two-by-four because we might need it to prop open the door to let the smell of glue evaporate.
And after cutting off a two-by-four at six inches instead of nine, chances of hearing someone say, "Ah shucks!" are rather slim. Layman carpentry has its own vocabulary. And it might be good to warn the neighbors that you will be working around the house in a do-it-yourself mode just in case they have small children. How far down the street you should give notice is in proportion to how many times a "9" looks like a "6" or how many two-by-fours were delivered that look like they were meant for rockers on cane-back chairs.
In the current TV shows of this nature, there obviously are some off-camera handymen standing ready to short circuit screw-ups. Well, get rid of them. This is "reality."
Those handyman shows are similar in credibility to bass fishing shows. You don't really know how much film was spliced to make up that one segment. I've fished enough to know that there's not a lunker behind every stump. And I've done enough home projects to know that a lot of time would have to be taken out of the footage for "bleeps! and explaining to your spouse why one-end of the deck is much higher off the ground than the other because your lot slopes a lot more than the naked eye reveals. And of course, one must factor for the cousin dropping over to tell you how he would have done it. Remember that "ah shucks" thing?
I've been working on a small patio for about six weeks now. To say it's a work in progress is an understatement. Had they filmed this thing from front to end they would have used more footage than they did in "Gone With the Wind." Ray Charles will have found Waldo by the time I get through.
In this process, I've discovered a lot things I would have done differently if I had to do it over again. One of them was to haul in top soil and plant sod there.
But I have found that such projects can be therapeutic. You learn a lot about yourself. You also learn where the gas lines run, where an old grease trap was covered over years ago, how many roots one pine tree requires and how long it takes to mix a ton of concrete in a wheelbarrow. None of these questions qualify for "Jeopardy", but hey, this is "reality."
A word of advice: An "8" can also look like a "3" if the left side gets a little worn. But don't throw away that piece of two-by-four. You may want to run your cousin out of the yard.
Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: email@example.com
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