I have a spotty record when it comes to home improvement. Small electrical jobs like replacing light switches or outlets I can do. Larger jobs like replacing a ceiling fan? Yeah, those tend to turn into blog posts – long, drawn out blog posts documenting every assumption I made at the beginning of the project and later disproved, every step I missed in the directions, and every step that was just flat out wrong.
Thankfully, I have yet to endure the embarrassment of calling in a professional to finish whatever it was I started. Somehow, even when things are at their darkest, my wife manages to talk me down off the home-improvement ledge so we can finish it ourselves.
Last week, I decided that it was time to repair the railing for the stairs leading to our basement. I had taken a few days off of work, and both of my girls would be out of the house for at least the mornings those days, so there didn’t seem to be any better time. Two out of the railing’s three brackets had been slowly pulling free of the wall, and that was putting stress on the third. I figured it was only a matter of time before someone lost his or her footing, grabbed the railing to stop themselves, and realized half a second later that the railing was in free fall with them. It needed to be fixed.
What I had going for me was that there would be no ceiling fans involved. What was working against me was the very tight time frame. My wife was only allowing me to start this if I could give her some assurance that I could have it back in place that day, ideally before the girls were home. I was pretty confident that I could make this work somehow. I feared it would turn into something that was worthy of a “look at the mess that Mark got himself into” blog post, requiring several days of work. In fact, halfway through the project I even made a comment to that very effect – “I just hope this doesn’t turn into a blog post”.
As it turned out, I needed two attempts to get the railing brackets remounted, and a trip to Home Depot for a replacement piece of wood, but otherwise it went back together fairly smoothly. What’s better is that it is now solid – no more wiggle when you walk down the stairs. The middle mount doesn’t blend in as well as the previous one did, but I was really going for function rather than style.
Yay for no “long construction blog post”.