Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The "I" in DIY Stands For Internet in My World

Like an ever growing percentage of the population, I buy almost nothing these days without first doing my online research. Our house is about nine years old which means we are beginning to see items that need repair or replacement.

A couple of months ago, the sump pump needed to be replaced. It was easy-peasy since I added a battery backup model a couple of years ago and that required a bit more know how than a simple pump installation. As a visual learner, I find online videos better than the manuals and instructions that come with most products. Two weeks ago, it was time to replace the garbage disposer. A couple of visits to DIY store web sites and I knew my options and the best offers. It's been a few years since I installed a disposer, so to be on the safe side, I checked out a couple of YouTube videos to be sure I didn't install the new product incorrectly.

The same week, the ice/water dispenser on the door of our refrigerator died. An online search revealed numerous suggestions but most advice centered on the master control board. The online price seemed good and the product arrived in 48 hours. It took about 20 minutes to replace. Unfortunately, it didn't solve the problem. I posted a help request on a couple of web sites looking for instructions on how to get into the dispenser front panel. Hope burns eternal that I can fix the fridge myself.

This past week it was time to tackle trenching and then burying a new sump discharge line. The past couple of winters the line has frozen and we've had a flooded backyard when the drain tile backed up. Either the original was somehow clogged or it was buried too shallow and froze.

A neighbor lent me his pickup truck with a trailer. The local equipment rental place had a sod cutter and a three foot trench digging machine. Having used sod cutters before, that part wasn't an issue but the trench digger was a very intimidating monster. However, I was determined not to let it get the best of me. The weird part is the trencher is made to be operated walking backwards. Each time I stared from my house to the edge of the pond beyond our backyard 140 feet away, I began to question why I took this job on instead of hiring a professional.

After a few minutes of coaxing the trencher beast I became comfortable, but was still cautious with the machine. It's a self propelled model so all I had to do was use the dual shifters with one hand to steer and use the other hand to grip the clutch control. At times, the machine got away from me and I had to call a neighbor over a couple of times to help me get the wheels out of the ditch I was digging. Two days of hard work went easier than they might had I not spent an hour or so investigating the project online, first.

The Internet has given me the courage to tackle projects that I might have once considered too challenging just a few years ago. Now, there's almost no DIY job I won't attempt as long as I remind myself that the Internet is my first stop.