Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DIY Disasters . . .

Spring has arrived and with it comes a primordial need for fresh starts. For reorganizing, restructuring, renewing and above all remodeling. Spring just begs you to embark on a whole new batch of Do-It-Yourself projects. Hardware stores and lumber yards love people like me – I just wish my family understood me the way the folks down at Sune’s do!

“Candis, you know they don’t sell common sense at the University”, my father-in-law was fond of saying as he would survey my latest home project or review my plans for said project. Unfortunately, he was right – despite 4 degrees and a healthy start on a PhD –my DIY schemes have always been fueled by nothing more than sheer enthusiasm and grandiose visions. And our home on Drummond has endured more than its share of  Do-It-Yourself home improvement ventures.

Take, for example, the time I decided to single-handedly change out the light fixtures in the kitchen and living room. I taught physics right? I know about electricity, okay eh? What was there to know about pulling out two decrepit fixtures from the 60’s and replacing them with stylish Hunter ceiling fans? How hard could it be? Lesson learned – when you decide to break for a quick run to the hardware store it is not always smart to turn the power on so you can check your make-up before leaving the house. When you return to the job site you might not always remember to turn the power back off before clamping down on that last wire with your needle nose pliers. The floor can come at you pretty fast sometimes.

And power washing a home is no big deal right? It’s just water – no possible risks involved with this one right? Wrong. Dirt does come off wood siding quite quickly with one of these time saving devices - so quickly that if you are not in full control so will the first several layers of wood under said dirt. Lesson learned – skin cleans and peels much quicker than wood siding when exposed to the same high power blast. This whole job – meant to cut down on the time it would take to stain the house – actually added weeks to the entire job. Weeks spent hand sanding the aforementioned swirlies left behind by the simple to operate DIY home power washer. The one my husband has since sold – right after I mentioned I thought I had gotten the hang of it and could easily power wash our windows and deck downstate by myself.

While we are on the subject of common sense, I should mention that most of my projects start as dreams. I will be somewhere in that no-man’s land between awake and deep REM sleep when it will dawn on me – yes, the door would look good painted green to match the roof. (Note to self – buy paint in morning at Sune’s.) Three coats later I still don’t have the shade I like or wanted to say nothing of the fact that painting a steel exterior door with either a spray can or a brush does not exactly fall within the realm of my expertise. Not one family member likes the green door – but the door has stood there proudly wearing her green splotchy coat for several years now. This spring I am ripping her out and replacing her with a pre-painted deluxe model – in a burgundy tone – one that will match the new French door that went in last year where the old slider use to reside. I dreamt about them both one night . . .

Our home on Drummond is my respite – where I go to renew my soul. It is also the catalyst that fuels my spirit, gives wings to my imagination and lets me feel as though I can accomplish anything. No “I can’t” allowed. But there are days I would gladly trade my university degrees – my bushel of learning – for a handful of common sense! While I wait for that to happen, however, I am going to get started on a spice rack for the kitchen and I might add a real drawer to the false front under the sink. Hey, it’s spring right?!

“Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are,
and doing things as they ought to be done.”
- C. E. Stowe

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