Introduction

I used to say I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler, and that was pretty much true.  When I took mandatory shop class in junior high, the instructor quickly made me tool room clerk, where I spent my time handing out tools to the students that could actually make use of them.  In art class, I thought cut and paste meant cut off my fingers and paste them back on my bloody stumps.

A computer nerd programmer type all my life, in 2001 we bought a small, badly outdated 1950’s tract house in Silicon Valley.  Over the last few years I have been trying to transformed it from caterpillar to butterfly doing most of the work myself- mostly because I wanted a nice house, and couldn’t afford one.  But the fact that a complete nerd, a total klutz without an ounce of carpentry in his veins could successfully remodel a house- this is not the miracle.  The miracle is that my wife didn’t push me off a cliff.  There were no doubt, several chances to make it look accidental; she probably could have gotten away with it.  I also didn’t kill myself, burn my house down, or cut off a finger.  These are the true miracles that I wish to share- and hopefully help you start down the path at least someone better armed than I was.