Idle hands spend too much

Note from Kim: This guest post was written by husband who discovered that writing is another good alternative to shopping!

I never really understood the old adage 'Idle hands are the devils tools' until I took some time off before starting a new job. Finding myself bored and puttering around the house after the kids left for school and my wife for work, I found a new hobby: shopping.

Yes, I am secure in my manhood and can comfortably say I do like to shop when it is just me and involves stores like Best Buy, Radio Shack, or Home Depot. This is manly shopping and involves practical purchases yeah right.  Luckily, my wife caught on quickly, and even I realized we really didn't need two printers for every computer. (Good thing I saved my receipts!) Being the frugal-minded gal she is, my wife was able to redirect my misguided spending into something positive. The solution allowed me to shop at my manly stores, but also got those home chores checked off the honey-do list.

Since it is too cold to fish, over the last few weeks I’ve been taking care of the neglected home maintenance. Also since I’m going to be starting a new job soon, it was time to reorganize my office for a fresh start. Out with the old and in with the new!  By refocusing me on the tasks at hand, instead of shopping for pricey electronics that I really didn’t need, my wife has saved us from sure financial ruin. Let’s take a look at the projects I’ve been tackling and the last big one still to do.

The bench in the kitchen needed the water-damaged top replaced. We had already gotten the replacement top free of charge from the cabinet company, but the work was yet to be done. A quick trip to Home Depot and a $2.97 purchase of liquid nails and I was quickly able to cross that one off the list.

The next chore was reorganizing and cleaning out the home office. This was one that was really past-due and the cables and clutter had started to pile up. Nothing a quick trip to Office Depot for some storage boxes and new file folders couldn't solve. For under $20 I was able to move all of last year's files into storage boxes and get my 2011 filing system in place. Radio Shack was next on the list to pick up some batteries for my wireless keyboard and mouse so I would be ready to start my new job. $3.99 later and the inevitable "out of batteries crisis" was avoided.

The last project was the most gratifying so far. I was tired about hearing how the chair in our living room needed its leg fixed. I had tried to fix it once halfheartedly and in my mind had given up on the chair. I was just waiting for that one unsuspecting guest to sit down just right...

Well, since I wanted to keep my hands busy, and my wife had this on the list, I figured I would give it a go before hurting our guests and throwing away the chair. A trip to Home Depot for wood glue, screws, and some L-brackets cost $7.97— a lot less than a new chair!  The first step was to removing the backing under the chair to get to the legs. Grabbing my trusty flat head screwdriver I made quick work exposing the belly of the beast. Now I must have been really lazy last time I tried to “fix” this chair. Tightening the four screws holding the wobbly foot and now we have a chair that anyone can safely sit in again. The best part I get to go return my unneeded supplies to Home Depot!

As you can see, my wife has cleverly distracted me over the last few weeks. Not only do all our light bulbs work, but our door knobs got tightened and the faucets don't drip.  The best part is that we saved money in the process.

Now she has one last project on her list. She wants to hang a new light in the living room. Time is running out as the new job starts soon. Guess I would save a lot of money doing this project myself thoughand we all know that idle hands aren’t good for me!

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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