I am a do-it-yourself junkie.

By Mike Jastrzebski

I hate to admit it, but I think I’m addicted to do-it-yourself projects. I was in my twenties when I was bitten by the bug. My first wife, my two-year-old son, and I moved from Detroit to the Maine woods where I planned to build a log cabin, write, and live off the land. After all it was the 70’s and living off the land was a big thing back then.

We lived in a tent for seven months while I built the cabin, and after that I wrote about a dozen short stories which didn’t sell. Unfortunately, it was not a very good place for growing our own food and the jobs we were able to find paid little and satisfied even less. Eighteen months later we were back in Michigan, but neither the writing bug nor the do-it-yourself bug died.

Here are a couple of pictures of that cabin. I built the stone foundation, cut the logs, peeled them, and moved the family into the cabin in seven months. This took some help from my wife and a little help from our neighbors when it came time to put the roof on.

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Between the log cabin and moving onto our sailboat, Rough Draft, I gutted and remodeled a 100 year old farmhouse and then gutted and rebuilt much of Rough Draft. I don’t have any pictures of the farmhouse but here are before and after views of the starboard interior of the boat, and of the exterior. And if you’re wondering, yes, I made the cushions and did the paint job.

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Of course, living on a boat has resulted in a series of other do-it-yourself projects from installing davits and solar panels to putting in a watermaker, just to name a few recent projects.

But I didn’t stop there. When I began publishing my own books I not only wrote the books, but like many other indie writers I formatted the books, contracted the covers, and I am now in the process of redoing my website and several other projects that are above my current skill set. Fortunately, I have friends to turn to for advice, and when the going gets tough there’s always the internet, so I know I’ll get things done. After all, I’d never built a log cabin or worked on a boat before I started those projects. I guess like any other addiction, you have to want to quit, and I’m just not there yet.

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About Mike Jastrzebski

In September of 2003 my wife, Mary, and I moved aboard our 36-foot Sailboat, Roughdraft. It was our intention to take the boat south from Minnesota to warmer climates where I would write a novel. Six years later I have completed 3 mystery novels. I have published the first two books, The Storm Killer and Key Lime Blues as e-books and trade paperbacks. The third book, Dog River Blues will be released in early 2011. It is my intention to use this blog to share what I’ve learned while trying to get published. I will also blog about the trials and tribulations of living on a sailboat. We sailed the boat from Minnesota to Mobile, Alabama where we lived for two years. We also spent three months living in Key West. Currently, the boat is docked in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In 2011 we plan to take the boat to the Caribbean where we plan to drift until it is no longer fun.
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