This is Why We DIY
Did you catch what I did there? I rhymed “why” with the “Y” in “DIY,” which is essentially the same as rhyming “I” with “FYI” or “IDK” with “OK” or any other equally un-clever device.
Also, it doesn’t even make sense. Why would we do it yourself?
It’s grammatically incorrect.
It should say, “This is Why We DIO.” DIO, of course, meaning “Do It Ourselves.” But then it wouldn’t rhyme. And no one would know what that means. You’d read it and be like, This is why we… dance in offices? Dine in orphanages? Do it orally?
And although I probably could write about any of those things, it turns out that office dancing, orphanage dining, and anything-lingus is not what this post is about.
And, come to think of it, it’s not even about why we DIO. If anything, it’s about why we shouldn’t DIO.
And it’s about this teeny, tiny, eensie, weensie little project that involves ripping up the flooring in the main living space of our home, and the fact that we decided to take it on ourselves. To save money.
Which kind of brings to mind that little rant I made about Black Friday and the other one about couponing and how if people valued their time as much as the cash in their wallets, they wouldn’t do silly things like… say… spend 4 solid days installing laminate flooring just to save the cost of paying a professional.
Well. I’d like to point out that I’m not a hypocrite, clearly, because Justin is the one doing the majority of the work (with the help of some neighbors on Sunday). All I did was spend a couple of hours painting baseboards.
Don’t judge me.
It’s not that I didn’t want to help — it’s that my help wasn’t wanted.
See, clearly I’m way too intelligent to waste my brilliant brain cells doing
collaborative menial labor with the boys, and my criticism suggestions input wasn’t appreciated. So. I stuck to the undervalued-yet-still-completely-necessary tasks that no one else wanted to do, like painting baseboards and pulling staples from the sub-floor. And I took photos of the boys as they compared ball size were totally awesome and installed my floors.
Which brings me to the first reason you should probably think long and hard before taking on a major DIY project.
Reason 1: It will test the limits of your marriage/partnership/friendship. And not in a good way. Seriously. When we tiled our guest bathroom and laundry room floor, the work for which was much more evenly distributed, it almost ended in divorce. Especially when, after Justin had spent a good 45-minutes intricately cutting the last of the tiles so it would fit around the door frame between the bathroom and laundry room, I knocked it over. Onto the other tiles. All of which were porcelain.
FYI, porcelain cracks when it’s dropped onto porcelain. Into like… a million tiny pieces.
But it wasn’t my fault. I was delirious after 2 straight days of measuring and stooping and troweling and why the hell would you lay such an intricately cut tile — the last tile — up against the frickin’ door frame anyway??!
Even if you think your relationship is solid — if he asked you to be nice to his mother during your last visit and you didn’t even react when she said that she better get cooking because he’s too skinny and clearly no one is feeding him — if you forced him to watch Titanic because you just couldn’t believe that the fact that he’d never seen it was a conscious decision on his part and he actually stayed awake for its entirety without making a joke about Rose’s weight when Jack couldn’t fit on the floating board — if he asked you to try that thing with the feathers and the ball-gag and the nipple butter just that one time to “see how it went” and you did it because you love him and you forgave him when you couldn’t stand straight for several days — even if you’ve survived all of those things, do not, under any circumstances, fool yourself into thinking that a collaborative home improvement project will be easy.
I’d be willing to bet that even John and Sherry sometimes want to smother each other while they sleep.
Aside from the relationship turmoil they invoke, which I’m willing to risk, DIY projects are worth the time they take, right?
Reason 2: DIY projects always take more time than even the maximum amount of time you could possibly imagine. Does that sound worth it to you? If you think a project like laying a click-and-lock floating laminate floor in a small rectangular room and hallway should only take you a couple of days, think again. First, there’s the prep work: Remove furniture, clip dogs’ toenails one last time on carpet since you don’t have to vacuum it ever again, run around blotting and spraying carpet cleaner on blood spots because you clipped one nail too far then realize you don’t even have to clean up the blood spots because they’re getting removed with the carpet, run to Lowe’s to buy a table saw, tapping block, and various other supplies that somehow add up to way more money than you expected, cut and pull up carpet, cut and pull up padding, pull eight-and-a-half-million staples out of the sub-floor, realize sub-floor is uneven, run to local hardware store and find it closed, go home because you forgot your wallet anyway, run to Lowe’s again to buy floor leveler, level the sub-floor, start painting baseboards, realize the baseboards haven’t been cleaned in about 9 months, clean baseboards, paint baseboards, then, if you’re lucky, you might be able to start the actual work.
The point is, any major project — especially one where you might be exposing the sun-deprived underbelly of your beloved home — will likely result in the discovery of a hair-riddled muffin top where you thought for sure there would exist a 6-pack of baby-butt smooth abs.
So don’t be surprised.
Okay, so I might lose my marriage/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend and it will take me running through all 6 seasons of Dexter plus 4 showings of Titanic plus every single episode of every Real Housewives show that’s ever existed to finish it, but it’s worth it to save the money, right?
Really? You think you’re going to save money?
Reason 3: After you buy all of the sh*t you need to finish the project, you may as well have swallowed your pride and paid for a professional. Really. Table saw. Floor leveler. Any other tools you don’t already own (many were used for this project). Did you take time off from work for which you might not get paid? Not to mention the time, my friends. The time. Oh, I mentioned that in Reason 2? Well it’s worth mentioning again.
Reason 4: If you screw up, there’s no one to blame but yourself. Enough said.
I do have some tips for not evading, but at least minimizing the DIY effects described above:
1: When it becomes difficult to work together, stop working together. Period. Take a break, and step away from the stress. Appoint one of you the role of tool-grabbber/back-rubber/wine-drinker, if necessary, and try your damnedest to keep your mouth shut as much as possible.
2: Plan projects before a major holiday/event/guest arrival so that you are motivated to either finish the project or forced to explain to Aunt Geraldine exactly why you keep feeding her Jell-O shots while pulling staples out from the bottom of her foot.
3: Okay, so you had to buy a few tools, and when you add up the cost of said tools and the time it took to complete the project, you really didn’t save any money at all. But. You’ll at least have those tools for the next time you take on a similar project, which will probably be a cold day in hell.
But at least your neighbors will think you’re cool.
And the good news is, not all is lost. There’s a certain feeling one acquires when finishing a major house project — a sense of satisfaction that doesn’t come with hiring a professional installer.
It’s like when veteran mothers try to explain the feeling of motherhood to non-mothers in that annoying habit they have that they can’t seem to help. (Kidding, mothers! You know I love you for perpetuating the human race when I’m too lazy to do it.)
That is, you just have to experience it to know how it feels.
And, by the time you do, it doesn’t really matter how it feels because it’s too late to turn back.