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Reality Checklist for Aspiring Home Improvers

05/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

So you're finally going to tackle that big weekend project you've been putting off. Spring is the time for new beginnings, right? All winter long your confidence level has been rising. Perhaps you've been inspired by those TV commercials for a hardware chain that promotes the mantra, "You can do it. We can help."

In my world, that slogan would be changed to, "You think you can do it. We'll try to help you put the pieces together and get some counseling."

Honestly, I'm not against the do-it-yourself philosophy. But you have to be realistic about the potential outcomes. With that thought in mind, here's a genuine no-nonsense checklist to assist in preparing for the upcoming ordeal. Be aware that unexpected complications always pop up after you get started. Life is full of surprises. Just remember the formula "P to the 5th Power." Proper planning prevents pitiful performance.

So grab a pencil, complete the information below, pull on some work clothes, be sure your insurance premiums are paid up, and start making some home improvement magic!

PROJECT TYPE

_____ Indoor

_____ Outdoor

_____ Buffer Zone

_____ Twilight Zone

_____ Underground

_____ Not of This Earth

PROJECT SIZE

_____ Small

_____ Not So Small

_____ Voluminous

_____ Maze-like

_____ Let History Decide

SURFACE TYPE

_____ Wood

_____ Petrified Wood

_____ Plastic

_____ Metal

_____ Mineral

_____ Magma

_____ Bone

_____ Soft Tissue

SURFACE TEXTURE

_____ Smooth

_____ Coarse

_____ Flaky

_____ Wrinkled

_____ Jagged

_____ Blistered

_____ Hairy

SURFACE CONDITION

_____ Stable

_____ Flaccid

_____ Undulating

_____ Decomposing

PROJECT PREPARATION

_____ Drop Cloth

_____ Mineral Spirits

_____ Distilled Spirits

_____ Spirit of '76

_____ Brushes and Rollers

_____ Rolaids

_____ Band-Aids

_____ Masking Tape

_____ Mixing Bucket

_____ Bucket to Throw Up In

_____ List of Expletives

_____ Rubber Gloves

_____ Geiger Counter

_____ Gauze

_____ Rags

_____ Goggles

_____ Stomach Pump

_____ Safety Harness

_____ More Gauze

_____ Stain Remover

_____ Coagulating Agent

_____ Fire Retardant

_____ CPR Handbook

_____ Book of Common Prayer

PROJECT CLEAN-UP

_____ Broom

_____ Vacuum Cleaner

_____ Soap and Water

_____ Bleach

_____ Agent Orange

_____ Power Washer

_____ Blowtorch

_____ Acid Bath

_____ Wood Chipper

_____ Decompression Chamber

MISCELLANEOUS

_____ Shovel

_____ Police Scanner

_____ Body Bags

_____ Grave Marker

_____ Passport

_____ Alibi Witness

_____ One-way Airline Ticket