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Somewhere along the way, all our fathers became the same. Anyone who laughs at Chevy Case in National Lampoon Christmas Vacation, John Candy in The Great Outdoors, or Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story recognizes those iconic fathers as representations of our own. Each one of our fathers is determined to fix things himself, come hell or high water, and when I started Do-It-Yourself stuff around my own home, I had visions of my own "Old Man" tinkering with things around the house to "improve" them. However, when he came to visit a few weeks ago, I was reminded how I learned the value of home-improvement from my Dad. A lesson that is not easily forgotten.

Within two days of entering my house a few weeks ago, my father was shopping at Lowe's. To him, improving my house shows his love and concern for his married "little girl". For instance, our downstairs toilet never had the oomph it often needed. So, he spent an entire Saturday afternoon in the downstairs bathroom watching the water flush.

"It's an efficiency toilet," he puffed, "uses less water to flush. I'll see what I can do about it."

He proceeded, with my mother in tow, to watch the toilet flush for another hour. Only a father would be willing to watch water flush for three hours in order to prevent his daughter's toilet from overflowing. He ultimately decided that in order to fix it, the whole toilet would have to come apart, and since he only had a few days left visiting, he decided it was best not to mess with it.

So, how did he fix it? "Just don't use it often." Advice, which we followed like holy law, and which, has worked.

His dedication is touching and contagious. I have inherited his snicker-of-pride every time I do something notable around the house. He has taught me the value of having a well-designed and maintained home. Whenever I just want to ignore a problem in the house, his pride comes to mind. He showed me how doing things yourself creates pride naturally, and allows for a sense of accomplishment, like you have control over your house, not the other way around.

My father's DIY mentality also re-enforces the value of understanding your house. So few people understand how things function and thus become wasteful. Like a dripping faucet; losing water becomes an ethical dilemma as well as a structural one.

Every father has inspired us in some way. There are many things I learned from my father's home-improvement dedication that I am eternally grateful for. I only hope some day I can pass this along; someday I'll be the one downstairs, cursing at the broken furnace. Do you have a DIY-with-dad moment like this? Please share it with us in the comments below!


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