They say hindsight is 20/20, and looking back, I definitely wish I would’ve paid much closer attention whenever my dad fixed or upgraded something in the 130-year-old house I grew up in (which he did – a lot). Maybe then I’d know more about home repair.

But, alas, I am not particularly handy. Unlike many of our mechanically minded readers – who have probably been tinkering with radios, electronics, and small motors since they were in diapers – I’m pretty much lost every time something breaks or needs to be upgraded in my home.

So, when my new Nest thermostat arrived a few weeks ago, I seriously doubted my ability to install it properly by myself, since the only thing I’ve ever installed in my home is the tension rod for my shower curtain. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely inept. I do know how to use a power drill, and I can follow directions better than an IKEA employee with a pocket full of Allen wrenches, so there was at least a small chance I could figure this one out. But still, this kind of stuff is clearly not my forte.

But I did it. It took almost an hour, and I nearly lost the wires inside the wall, but I followed those directions to the letter, and it works great. In fact, it’s already saving energy in my home.

In figuring out how to install that thermostat, it made me wish I had taken the time to learn these things when I was younger. I had plenty of opportunities to help my father and learn from him how to build and fix all sorts of things, but I didn’t, and I regret it now.

But perhaps it isn’t too late. Perhaps this do-it-yourself project was just the first of many for me. And while I seriously doubt I’ll be the next Norm Abram or Mike Holmes, I’ll settle for not having to call in a professional for every little thing.

Now, who wants to walk me through installing a new ceiling fan?

Readers, is there something you now wish you would’ve taken the time to learn from your parents when you were younger? Is there a skill or knowledge you want to pass onto your own children? Let us know at