• Jeff Ediger, Oak Brothers

Murphy's Laws of Home-Work


1. Concerning Dropcloths. The drips will drop where the dropcloth ain’t.

2. Concerning the Cleaning of Window Glass. The smudge you see is always on the other side. Corollary: The smudge you don’t see is on the side you are working on. But you won’t see it until you turn the glass around to clean the other side.

3. Concerning Sun Glare. No matter what side of the building you are on, if the sun is shining and you are working on a window, it will be in your eyes.

4. Concerning Work Surfaces. No matter how many horizontal surfaces you have, you will never find a clear space on which to set something down in the middle of a project.

5. Concerning Tool Retrieval. If you go down to the basement to retrieve a tube of caulk from your workbench, you will come back with sandpaper, blue tape, a roller cover…but not the tube of caulk

6. Concerning Putting Things Away. Nothing will ensure your need for some material or tool more than having thought you were done with it and having then put it away.

7. Concerning Project Entropy. A project that has gone bad will want to keep going in the same direction, from bad to worse.

8. Concerning Small Projects. The smaller the project, the more it will exceed the time you thought it would take.

9. Concerning Dropped Screws. They will fall further away from you than you ever could have ever imagined they could fall.

10. Concerning the End of the Project. The closer you get to it, the further it will recede from you.

The Moral Concerning Murphy's Laws Despite your best intentions, little things will go wrong. Maintaining a sense of humor, however dry it is, helps to lighten the load.

Jeffrey Ediger © 2011

After our Wood Window Restoration seminar, presented by Jeff, we asked attendees to suggest more Laws! Here were your suggestions:

"If after homework, education and dialogue, the project seems too complicated for you to tackle, it probably is. If it feels risky, it is risky." - Sherrie Myers

"If I do it myself it will cost twice what I originally thought and take me at least three times as much time. (Of course, I'll have to do things over a few times to get it right!) But, I'll get experience and way more satisfaction." - J. Zolot

"If I can't succeed in solving the problem and improving things to my satisfaction, then put my pride away, get my wallet out, and call an experienced person for the job." - J. Zolot

"If you think it will take an hour to complete, plan on tripling it." - Don Choy

"You don't have to be very skilled, you just have to be motivated and have patience." - LaThica Long

"Just when you budget and schedule for a project, when you start you find out it cost twice as much and takes twice as long." - Janet McMahon

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