Will Morrow (courtesy)

Will Morrow (courtesy)

Safety first

“My DIY projects have been drawing less and less blood over the years”

I sometimes joke that I’m not done with a DIY project until I’m bleeding. But hurting myself doing laundry is a little ridiculous.

I think my most serious home improvement injury came when I was building a tree fort for my kids. I twisted to pick up a board while kneeling, and ended up tearing a meniscus. As far as I can recall, that’s the only one that needed surgery — all of my other injuries that required medical care came from trying to be athletic.

Most of my home improvement injuries are pretty mild. If there were a DIY injury report, I’d be listed as “probable” after a Band-Aid and maybe an ibuprofen. I’ve skinned knuckles when a wrench slipped while working on a car. I’ve picked up splinters and a few cuts from carpentry and woodworking projects. I’ve given myself a few good bruises from bumping my head on just about everything I’ve ever tried to look under.

And, of course, I’ve smashed a finger with a hammer on a few occasions.

At a previous job, I used to get teased about coming to work with blisters after raking leaves. While I count it as working with my hands, spending all day at a keyboard doesn’t build up calluses the same way that actually working with your hands does.

I would not have considered doing my laundry to put me at risk of any of those potential injuries. To my mind, the biggest hazard is tripping over a dog I don’t see while carrying a full basket.

But, a couple weeks ago, while I was putting my clothes into the washing machine, I grazed the inside edge of one of the holes in the basket with the knuckle on my thumb. It was like scraping it on a cheese grater.

Fortunately, because I was just loading the clothes into the wash, a few drops of blood didn’t hurt anything. I just added a little Oxy Clean along with the Tide pod.

My thumb, on the other hand, stung like crazy.

I’d like to think that I’m getting older and wiser. After all, my DIY projects have been drawing less and less blood over the years. Maybe I’ve developed a little bit of skill. And I figured out the value of PPE — personal protective equipment. I wear gloves for raking the leaves, eye protection when I’m using tools, and I was well-stocked with N95 masks well before the pandemic, which I got for sanding my woodworking projects and for volcanic eruptions.

But injury-free home improvement might also be from doing fewer home improvement projects. We’ve been in our house for more than 20 years, and at this point, have remodeled almost the whole house. There’s just not that much left to do.

And that makes me think that maybe the way to reduce the risk of injury is to cut back on the activities that might cause it. I still need to do laundry once a week, but I could stop using a basket. That technique worked for my kids. Who knew, they weren’t being slobs, they were just being safe?

I suppose I could get some laundry gloves, and keep them on the shelf next to my work gloves, ski gloves, cycling gloves, and the box of nitrile gloves.

Or, maybe I should take up a new activity to keep me busy. Does first aid count as a hobby?

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

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