One enjoyable thing to do on Thursday evenings while blogging (what, do some of you have other things to do on Thursday evenings?) is to watch Holmes on Homes on HGTV out of one corner of your eye. Mike Holmes is my hero.

Mike Holmes in Demolition ModeFor those of you not blessed enough to be in Canada or within reach of the show, Mike is a contractor who always gets called in to deal with the mess left by a prior contractor… his tagline is “Make it Right.” The whole schtick is that they’ll feature a homeowner who has had some type of renovation project done, and done badly…. problems ensue, and Mike gets called in. What happens next is one of the best parts of the show: the demolition. This is the part where Mike looks at something and says, “That’s wrong…” then he grabs a chunk of drywall (or whatever) and rips it out, saying, “This shouldn’t come out this easily — it’s all wrong.” This will continue… once he’s ripped out one thing he gets looking at what’s behind it, then rips that out as well. Now he’s got a protege who stands around doing and saying all the same stuff, a chip of the old Mike. An endless string of comments ensues, like “It’s always more expensive to do it twice. Do it right the first time. Take your time. Get permits! Hire the right contractor… if it doesn’t look right, stop work!” And of course, there’s Mike looking at something that was done, pointing out things and then looking at the camera and saying, “Un-be-lieveable.” The best parts are in the worst jobs where he either shakes his head and looks at the floor or walks through the room waving his arms saying, “It’s all coming down! Rip it all out!” Right now he’s saying, “This is not how you do electrical — you do not want this guy working on your home! My time on this job just doubled. Oh, isn’t that cute, the whole basement’s on one circuit.” There’s also an interspersed diatribe on the electrician, how dangerous it is, how it breaks code, how it could burn down the house and he’d be responsible… and there was the line just now, “I’m pulling out everything.” I’ve seen him rip down an entire garage, completely gut a kitchen and then start jackhammering the floor to see what’s under it, and I’ve seen him replace an entire roof over a home addition, followed by redoing the interior. About three quarters of the way through the job, he decides that granite countertops would look good, then goes ahead and does that too. The homeowners are amazed, without fail… and of course, they’re thoroughly happy.

Mike does things the hard way. He also does them the right way. The reconstruction part of the show just started, with Mike walking through a homeowner’s basement with the electrician, saying, “Obviously that’s no longer a bedroom, we’ve gone with an open concept…” while the electrician is marking things left, right, and centre and Mike is spouting off instructions to the rest of his crew about how to handle particular points of the reconstruction process. One thing he does often is bring in other trades and specialists… in keeping with his mantras, “Get it done right” and “You get what you pay for.” Everyone he hires seems to abide by the same philosophy — while we’re here anyway, we’re also adding a rubber membrane…. or whatever. This time out he got called in to look at a basement window well that didn’t look right. By the time he was done, the entire basement had been basically gutted and rebuilt… fixing of course the electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning unit in the process.

Okay, hang on — we’re going to spiritually analogize this. Mike knows how to build, and takes his time to do it right. He plans, gets the right people, gets the blueprint, makes a plan, and executes it. If it was done wrong to start with, he’ll rip it out and do it over. Nothing is sacred in the deconstruction process, everything can be replaced…. and often, it is. People before attempted to build or renovate, and often didn’t know what they were doing or were incapable of doing the job correctly. They tend to cover up problems instead of getting to the bottom of them and resolving the underlying issues. Inevitably, this coverup eventually leads to other problems, and the demolition ends up being much worse than it had to be. Lesson learned, build it right, build it carefully, and do it right the first time. Too bad you usually only get one “first time” — experience helps a lot in doing it right.

Mike Holmes So, when we put our hands to building the church, we want to do it right the first time, to…. wait, it’s probably too late for that. Seems we’re already in the demolition process. Alright, we’ve lessons to learn from Mike there too: nothing is sacred, rip it all out, go looking for problems and deal with them while you’re at it. Do it over, and do it right. When we rebuild, we want to be sure we’re building well, doing the job properly. Approach it properly, intentionally, and build the best we know how — even as we’re still learning in the process. Now is the time to remodel, but build carefully, because I guess it’s inevitable: someday, someone is going to come along and rip apart what we build… and I hope we can limit the amount of demolition that’s required. After all, with too much demolition and reconstruction it starts to get personal — and when that happens I don’t much want a guy who looks like Mike saying nasty things about me. He might figure out where I live.

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