Q: In an attempt to modify my home for my needs, I've been thinking about installing some handrails in the shower. I know where I can get the parts, but I haven't done any home projects in years. I don't quite know how to start but think I can do it by myself.
What are some good resources?
A: There are many online tutorials, which will instruct you how to install shower bars step by step.
Your best resource may be videos. One great method is to watch a video of somebody explaining the process. Watch the entire thing before starting yourself — this will help orient you and tell you what equipment you'll need.
Keep the video handy, but also have a physical list of steps handy so you can consult it while doing the installation.
If you're more traditional, there are also many books on home improvement. You can find these online, at a bookstore or maybe even at a local Goodwill.
Before you start your project, make sure you have everything you need, including tools. There are few things worse than starting home repair prematurely and having to live in a nonfunctional home.
If you run into trouble, your backup plan can be to recruit someone else to do the heavy lifting! Children are especially useful for this, but a younger neighbor or friend will do in a pinch.
Another great backup plan is to contact a home improvement store and ask for a contractor recommendation. — Doug
Q: It's getting close to Thanksgiving, my husband's and my favorite time of the year. After downsizing and moving to Arizona several years ago, I no longer host but like to help out with the cooking, as I don't often cook at home.
We love getting to see all of our children together and spending quality time updating one another on our lives.
Unfortunately, last year's celebration wasn't stellar: Two of our daughters got into a screaming match, and the rift hasn't yet been patched over.
Our eldest daughter, who usually hosts, is making plans and told me that she doesn't want to invite her sister. I'm afraid that our son also won't attend if this doesn't get fixed — he recently remarried, and I think his wife might convince him to do something else.
How can we fix our Thanksgiving?
A: Encourage your daughters to heal the rift by addressing the root of the problem.
Holidays often bring out either the best or the worst in us, as they are times of high emotion. Buried conflicts often come to the surface. But because these months are so busy, it is difficult to address them.
Although your daughters may have gotten into an argument about something that seems trivial, they could be venting about a deeper issue. And addressing the surface problems without considering the causes rarely ends well.
It's tempting to fix the situation by demanding peace — you want to enjoy your holiday as you always have. But what has worked in the past may not be the best solution for now.
Telling them to get along for the sake of the family may work in the short-term, but family conflicts can span years. As a parent, one of your main goals is to assist your children in having a stable foundation for their relationships.
Open up the lines of communication, and be open to changing your plans.
Sometimes deviating from your traditional holiday plans can be a turn for the positive. If one sister is always stuck hosting (or wants to have her turn at it instead), a change in the established order could be welcome.
Communication and compromise are key! — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.