When it comes to fixing things around the house, I always want to be aware of my limitations. Ultimately I don’t mind too much if I’m not successful at the task at hand; I mainly just don’t want to make things worse. I don’t want to add any holes where they don’t belong; I don’t want to start a fire anywhere other than safely inside the fire place; and I don’t want to be frantically calling the plumber as water shoots out some pipe that I accidentally busted open while trying to stop a relatively harmless drip.

As I contemplate whether to take on a fix-it project myself or call a professional, before I get out my saw or smack anything with a hammer, I make sure not to overextend myself.

I steer clear of anything that might result in electrocution. I don’t mess with anything that could jeopardize the structural integrity of the house. And I approach faucets very carefully. If things don’t go my way as I start the project, I give myself permission to quit and call in an expert before I do some real damage.

After all, it’s not as if I have another house on which to practice and refine my handyman skills. If I put a hole in the ceiling or flood the kitchen, I can’t shrug my shoulders and just move on.

That is, perhaps, until now.

My wife purchased a playhouse for the kids, in an effort to tear them away from their screens and entice them to play in the back yard.

The detail on the house is more impressive than I’d expected. It has not only a front door, but also a working doorbell mounted right next to that front door. It has a cute little swinging gate for the side entrance. It even has a plastic sink and stove, which the kids have already used many times to cook up various delicious imaginary meals.

That sink got me thinking. I’d certainly hesitate to mess with the plumbing under our real kitchen sink, but maybe I could practice on the play house sink. If anything went wrong, it would just get the grass around the house wet – no big deal.

Soon other possibilities came to mind. If I could install some wiring, perhaps I could sneak a TV and a little fridge into that house. Maybe add a ceiling fan for these hot summer days.

What good practice it would be, I thought, to install new vinyl siding or add a French drain around the house.

I could re-shingle the roof, I could add a bathroom. I could remodel the kitchen, I could install track lighting. I could put a weather vane or solar panels on the roof. With all of these home improvement projects and more, if I put a hole where it shouldn’t be or if I let water leak where it shouldn’t go, at least I wouldn’t be destroying our actual house.

For better or for worse, I imagine that these ambitions are just that — imaginary. It’s probably better that I don’t try to mess with this lovely playhouse, in which the children have already enjoyed playing and cooking so much. I should just relax and enjoy watching them play. Though I’ll keep my screwdriver handy in case that doorbell ever needs new batteries.

BILL ZUCK is good at installing new batteries. You can reach him at wcz78@yahoo.com.

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