the man has a point
Photo: Michael Lewis
Right before I left work for the weekend, I picked up my mail and sorted through it.

Bill...bill...bill—even at work I get bills—and finally, last in the stack, a letter!

I worked my finger under the flap, slipped out the note, and began to read.

"Dear Mr. Scott Omelianuk, Or should I say: Dear Mr. Kook; Mr. Magoo; Mr. Screw-up Everything???"

At first I thought, Why's Mom writing when she usually calls? But I read on. And as I did, I realized this missive was from a man, a This Old House subscriber named William, who was also a builder.

"How did you ever become the 'editor' of the wonderful world of This Old House, which has been going on for over 30 years with RESPECTED people?" Those are his quotation marks around the word editor.

William, it turns out, doesn't appreciate that I often use this page of TOH to confess my home-improvement mistakes, which—to his point—are legion. But then, unlike William, it's been a long time since I worked as a carpenter. Now I'm just an average homeowner with an above-average love for home improvement. I strip screws, bend nails, and make that second trip to the hardware store each Saturday because I bought the wrong thing on the first trip. And I always need 1 more hour—or 8—than the weekend has in it to finish a project.

My guess is that you're not so different, which is why I'd rather sympathize than self-aggrandize. Plus, William is right: TOH is, in fact, wonderful. Take, for example, the DIY trellis. Or, of course, the expertise in the Ask This Old House section.

I hope that's plenty enough to please anyone—including William, but he seems a particularly tough customer. The rest of his letter went like this: "Enough is enough! I think it is time for your retirement party!"

Retirement? He clearly hasn't seen my 401(k).

"It's a shame, because I am sure you are a very nice person; at least your wife puts up with you."

Oh, Willliam. I hate to disappoint you again, but…

Scott Omelianuk
Ask TOH users about Befores and Afters

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