Derek’s Law: No home project will take less than two trips to the store

I’ve attempted two “minor” homeowner projects in the last couple of weeks that should have been breezes. The first – replace the nasty stove hood that was here when we bought the house, had no filter, and which I had repeatedly super glued the light knob back on to. The second, add adjustable wire shelving to the closet in my wife’s office. Neither of these tasks should require physical strength, specialized expensive tools, or more significant brain power.

Here’s a quick work breakdown structure (yeah, someday I’ll take that PMI exam) on how to install a stove vent hood:

  1. Turn off power
  2. Disconnect electric from old hood
  3. Remove old hood
  4. Install new hood
  5. Turn power back on and test

Here’s how the project actually went:

  1. Order hood online and have it delivered. This will save time!
  2. Turn off power
  3. Power is still on, try a different circuit breaker
  4. Nope, that wasn’t it, try again
  5. Hmm, maybe it’s the one marked “general lighting”
  6. Nope, still not it. Try every kitchen appliance’s breaker.
  7. Ah, of course. It’s the one marked “fireplace.”
  8. Disconnect electric from old hood
  9. Unscrew old hood from bottom of cabinet… done!
  10. Think, “That wasn’t so hard!” < - Key mistake
  11. Test fit new range hood
  12. Come to realization that mounting hole locations are apparently not an IEEE standard
  13. Try to fake it
  14. Give up on trying to fake it and drill new holes in vent hood to line up with wood on bottom of cabinet
  15. Check to make sure new holes line up correctly
  16. Drill two more holes, since the damn cabinet must have moved after you marked the first set
  17. Screw hood in place
  18. Watch crappy cabinet wood completely splinter, making in incapable of bearing the weight of the hood
  19. Give up and go to Home Depot for 1″x1″ wood, wood glue, bolts, washers, and a larger electrical clampdown grommet, because the one from the old is too small for the hole on the new hood
  20. I’ll be damned, the new grommet is too big. Turns out the old one would have worked if it only had a nut.
  21. Go back to Home Depot to get correct size grommet
  22. Upon return from the store, cut wood to fit under cabinet, giving us a new surface to screw to
  23. Trim off the extra 1/8th inch, because no matter how hard you try, you just can’t hammer it into place
  24. Glue and clamp new wood into place
  25. Let dry for 24 hours
  26. Decide to use bolts/washers to give new wood extra holding strength, just in case
  27. After drilling holes, realize there is no way you can get the nut on the other end of the bolt since there’s like half an inch of space between the two cabinets.
  28. Decide to just use wood screws instead
  29. Realize the holes you just drilled are too large for the wood screws to grab anything
  30. Shove toothpicks in the holes to replace the wood you drilled out
  31. Mark location for new screw holes, which incidentally now line up with the hood’s original intended mounting location, making the six new holes you drilled for naught
  32. Install new grommet
  33. After yanking for five minutes trying to pull the wire sheath through the new [smaller interior diameter] grommet, give up and just clamp the bastard down
  34. Screw hood into place
  35. Hook up electrical
  36. Turn power back on
  37. Test. Success!
  38. Wait, is the fan supposed to be that loud?
  39. Flip filter around the other way
  40. Success! No, really this time!
  41. Reset the 18 now blinking clocks from switching off all the wrong circuit breakers first

After the vent hood fiasco, we figured we make sure to do things right with the closet project and get someone to help us make sure we have all the correct stuff before we left the store in the first place. He cut the shelves to size, pointed out the correct brackets, gave us tips on how to mount them to the wall, confirmed we had everything we needed, and off we were. Back at home, everything went great… except for the fact that my 2″ carriage bolts were just a teensy bit to short to open inside the wall given the extra depth of the rails. No worries… Home Depot also has a 3″ carriage bolt that should do just fine.

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  1. Ah, see if you had your project mgmt. certification, you could have cut that task plan down to 10 steps! 🙂

    I’ll Six Sigma it for you….

  2. Any project can be completed in 23 minutes, no matter how big. No trips to the store are needed and hide-and-seek for the exact tools for the job is not needed. Watch any home-improvement show to see what I mean. They always get it done with time to spare.

    Also, “pimping” your ride, landscaping and cooking fancy meals are also quick, and there is no need for clean-up of any kind. I know, I’ve watched ’em.

  3. You know that 30 minute meals thing by Rachel Ray? My wife got one of the cookbooks for Christmas, and after a little practice she can get one done in just under 45 minutes!!!!

    But those meals ARE quite good, believe it or not.

    And Derek, the beauty of so much home improvement work is that you’ll generally never forget how to set the time on the 3124 appliances that you accidentally turn off…

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