He then made hundreds of cement blocks from gravel and sand he shovelled and carted home out of a nearby riverbed. He designed and built the mold he made them in. He designed and built the house and fitted it out with joinery of his own making. The only tradesman he engaged was the electrician who did the wiring, because the law didn't allow him to do it himself. He even did his own plumbing and drainage, having convinced a registered plumber to inspect and sign off his work.
Building the house was only a part of his my father's DIY effort. He lived it every day of his life, feeding the family by buying live sheep from a farmer and butchering them himself to catching trout and salmon on homemade tackle and canning them. He was not a miserly man; he had simply learned to live and provide for his family on a shoestring because it was the only way he knew.
Yesterday my car needed a wash, so what did I do? I drove a 12km round trip to the petrol station, paid $14 for the privilege of waiting 35 minutes in a queue to have my car washed less perfectly than I could have done it myself at home for free. My dad just wouldn't have understood. I'm not sure that I do, either.