Ah, home repairs. So much fun. I finished my outdoor to-do list last week and rather than doing any actual work, I decided to make another list: indoor repairs. List making is my go-to procrastination tool.
I don’t know what it is about home repairs that makes them so hard. Most can be done with a quick YouTube search, a trip to Ace Hardware, and less than an hour of my time. But for some reason the thought of taking action leaves me paralyzed. It seems like there’s always something more important to do — like check my Instagram feed or toast a bagel.
On the other hand, I could make lists all day long. Rather than starting with last year’s list (though I probably haven’t checked anything off) I’m making a brand-new list. The first step is deciding where to write it. I can jot everything down in a notebook, but a spreadsheet might work better. Yes, a spreadsheet. Actually an entire Excel workbook with a separate page for each room. Or maybe a separate page for each month of the year. That way I can prioritize everything, with the most urgent repairs listed in the first months of spring. Or I could arrange them according to temperatures and weather patterns, with things like window washing and wall painting for the dry summer months, and weatherproofing saved for the cooler, monsoon season when I won’t mind crawling around the attic or slithering through the crawlspace.
Once I have all the pages set up, I’ll need to decide on a color-coding scheme. I’m thinking that anything involving a hammer should be red and screwdriver work should be yellow. If I have to use both, I’ll go with orange. For paintbrush work, I’m going with blue. Pliers are purple, saws are green, and drills are … I don’t think I own a drill. Anything that requires messing with the electricity is off limits and off the list. I will need a new list for that stuff.
The next task is deciding on a font to use for my list. Times New Roman makes the work look too serious, while Comic Sans adds a touch of whimsy. I need something in the middle. Home repair is somewhat serious business that should never be taken too seriously — not Times New Roman serious. I’ll go with Verdana.
My workbook is looking good. There’s a tab for each month of the year, and each spreadsheet has headings: Room, Repair, Tools, and Prerequisites, because some tasks can’t be done until I do other tasks first. Like, I should probably wash the windows before I paint the window frames. Looks like I’ll have to work out all the dependencies, determine the critical path, and make a Gantt chart.
I could probably put all this into a database, transfer it to my phone, sync it with my calendar, and create a schedule for getting all these repairs done. I’ll set reminders too — dings for today’s tasks, dongs for upcoming repairs, and a siren and flashing lights for everything that’s late. This home repair stuff is going to be a blast!
On second thought, maybe I’ll skip the list. It seems like a lot of work and reseeding the front yard — the first item on my outdoor list — is beginning to look pretty darned easy by comparison. I’ll just print this out and tuck it into my tool box for another time. Say, the fall.
Like the old saying goes, the grass is always greener … on the other list.
Susan Joy Paul is an author, editor and freelance writer. She has lived in northwest Colorado Springs for more than 20 years. Submit your local columns for print consideration to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.