In Honor of Figuring it Out

Melissa Carlisle is one of those people who likes to figure out stuff on her own.  I learned this the other day as she was cleaning my teeth – dental hygiene being a subject she learned at the University of Kentucky and not on-line.

Most everything else, she YouTubes.  She makes do with YouTube.  Growing up in the small rural Western Kentucky town of Slaughters, where most of the neighbors made their living farming or coal mining, Melissa says you had to make do. 

“Being poor, we didn’t have money to fix things.  If something had to be fixed, my dad figured it out.  He built the house I grew up in by himself.  Poured the footer by hand with a shovel by himself.  It was a one-bath house, and he built it for $25,000.

“He did everything by figuring it out, not by paying for it.  My dad was my example.”

Melissa and her husband, Eddie, a CFO for a property management firm, live with their 11-year-old son, Sawyer, on a nice place in Hebron. She could pay someone to mow their six acres, but that’s not the way she was raised.  So she cuts the grass herself each week, if it’s not raining, on her zero turn.

The Carlisles did hire a company to put in their swimming pool, but Melissa built the retaining wall pretty much by herself.  She YouTubed it.  It took her three trips to Lexington to get all the blocks and capstones.

“I took my shovel and dug the footer first.  Then I had to backfill with crushed gravel and pack it down.  Next, I put in bigger rock.  Once I put all my blocks down, I had to put more bigger rock behind the blocks.  Then I filled that over with dirt.  From start to finish, it took me three days.”

Melissa and Eddie did hire someone to pour the foundation for their detached garage, but they took it from there.  “It hasn’t fallen down yet,” she says.

When their dryer stopped drying, Melissa YouTubed it and figured out how to install a new heating element.  When their vacuum went on the fritz, she YouTubed it and installed a new starter button.  The other day, she YouTubed how to open the pool for the summer.

“Saved me $250 to have someone come out and do it.”

Melissa hopes she’s setting an example for her son the same way her dad set an example for her.

“I tell Sawyer all the time not to marry a woman who won’t get her hands dirty.  I don’t want him to end up with a woman who thinks he’ll take care of everything.  I want him to marry a good partner, where they’ll take care of each other.  Not him taking care of her or vice versa.”