Well ok. I will start with the embarrassing story.  Let’s get it over with sooner than later. Also because it’s the reason for my tale about the value of being handy.

Not Enough Coffee?

I was really excited to go skiing one recent Saturday morning. I do love to ski. The plan was to meet some friends at the ski resort at a specific time and I was just a tad behind on my departure. I ran out to the garage to back up the car for loading. When I started backing up there was a very…very loud explosion like noise. I stopped the car and exclaimed something equivalent to “what in tarnation” was that.

Low and behold when I got out of the car I noticed that the garage had stopped two-thirds of the way up. Upon closer inspection I noticed the garage door stopped perfectly at the height of my car roof. After the amazement quickly subsided I noticed that my “shark fin” car antenna was the cause of the explosion like noise. The garage door being of perfect height ripped the antenna right out of the car roof! After a few more “what in tarnation” shouts and some deep breathing I decided I best get going to ski. No duct tape in the area, so I “adhered” the antenna with packing tape…a short term solution.

Tick, Tick, Tick – The Dollar Signs are Spinning Up

A few days later after getting over being mad at myself I headed to the car dealer figuring that was the best place for a repair. I scheduled an appointment for a few days later when the replacement part arrived. At the appointment the dealer estimate was $575 for the repair. After

big, big swallowing and wallowing I said go for it. Thankfully, they found more damage than they could handle and advised me to go to an auto body shop. The dollar signs started spinning up in my head. What seemed a lot already was going to get even worse. Ugh.

The Big Shift…and the One Hour Fix

I really didn’t want to spend that kind of money for my stupid mistake. It was like adding insult to injury so I decided to shift my approach. What if I could assess the situation myself?  What if there was another way to a solution? I jumped on that thought, got out my tools, and put on the MacGyver theme music. [Side bar – I’m referencing the ORIGINAL MacGyver from 1985 – 1992 and not the new version which is rated worse on Imdb. ]

Using my mad MacGyver skills I was able to quickly open the headliner (squishy part) on the inside roof of the car. I found the antenna connection and unscrewed the nut holding on the antenna housing, then detached the antenna wire and pulled off the shark fin. I found a broken piece which I super glued back together. Then once more sourcing my best MacGyver, I reassembled everything and caulked up the shark fin housing to the car roof to prevent water leaks. This has been since tested by two snowstorms and one car wash. To date the fix holds. Reminder: No duct tape was used in the making of this repair.

The Value of Being Handy

Let’s bring this home. First thanks for hanging with me on my self deprecating story. The point of this tale? By my math I just “earned”  a whole lot of money. In fact, a cool $1,150,000 per year, but just for an hour. (One hour at $575 x 40 hours x 50 weeks = $1,150,000.) Yes, there would be taxes, etc. etc. but let’s not quibble. The fact is one hour of being super handy “brought home” a lot of bacon in money not spent! In addition, to the money not spent I had the thrill of the chase for figuring out how to fix the outcome of my stupidity moment. Overall it was satisfying and fun! Not that I want that to happen ever again.

MacGyver Opportunities at home?

What do you have around your home that could use some mad MacGyver skills and would demonstrate your value of being handy? Within your skill scope and safety protocols is there something that you could fix yourself instead of paying for professional services?  How would you feel to make the repair yourself? Where could you shift your approach from there’s only one way (like an expensive way) to what are some other possibilities?

By the way, it was great ski day despite my morning adventure!

Community Conversation Questions:

Please share some of your thoughts, stories, and perspectives around house repairs experiences that worked or didn’t work.

  • What have you fixed at home that you didn’t expect you could?
  • When do you decide to hire a professional versus doing it yourself?
  • Have you had success getting neighbors or friends to pitch in their talents to your building or repair efforts?

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Doug Drenckpohl