A couple of years ago, my husband and I bought a fixer upper in the woods about an hour outside of the city. I always had HGTV fantasies, so I was ecstatic ... until about the second time we visited our new home and realized the renovation was going to be a lot less fun and much more costly than we'd thought (I always tell my clients to expect this, but of course I thought I would be different). Just figuring out the order in which to attack our many problems was utterly overwhelming. It was during this time that we first watched the movie "The Money Pit," which helped with neither our planning nor our morale; this is a movie you should watch before — not after — you buy a fixer upper.
Feeling frantic and overwhelmed, I called my dad. My dad isn't a contractor or electrician, but he grew up in a small village in Turkey where people didn't just call repairmen or mechanics to fix or build things. I told him all of the things that were wrong with the place, and how we didn't even know where to begin, and he calmly responded, "I'll be there in 2 weeks." We rang in the New Year together doing renovations in a house with no functioning furnace and craft-fair windows. We re-did the kitchen and bathroom, came up with a plan of action, and I got to learn from my dad how to actually do so many "handy" things that I foolishly thought we could learn to do from Youtube videos. After about 10 days of intensive work with him, Bill and I continued on with the renovation — the hardest part was done and we were now just executing on more tedious tasks we had learned how to do (like tiling, painting kitchen cabinets) and coordinating with floor, furnace, and window vendors.
Every time my dad comes to the lake house, we make a list and head to Home Depot. For as long as I can remember, we've worked together on these sorts of projects — this caricature was done when I was about 4 years old and we had been fixing up a car that had been fished out of a lake. When I committed to making a life-sized jaguar for a rainforest project in middle school, but put it off until the last minute, he bailed me out (admittedly, not our finest work...). We built a shed and sunroom when I was in high school and together tackled all of the various repairs needed around the house.
I've learned so much from my dad, well beyond our projects. Most of all, he has always been an inspiration that no dream is out of reach if you work hard enough. To my dad and all the fathers out there, who continue to teach and inspire us, thank you and have a wonderful Father's Day!