DIY or Die Trying

by Abby on May 23, 2011

Woman paintingAs I teetered on top of the stool, plaster dust filling my lungs, the clock ticking ever closer to preschool pickup time, I thought, When will I learn I am not a do-it-yourselfer?!

It’s not that I lack the skills to sand and paint a ceiling. I do, however, lack the time, tools, and apparently, brains. Who else would start a project like this 45 min. before they’re supposed to pick up their kids? With no mask or ladder?

Me. And here’s why: I have tiny, precious windows of kid-free time in which to accomplish anything. The ceiling was supposed to be my husband’s job, but he has even less time than I do. And when weekends roll around, he always says, “Do you want me to do stuff around the house or do you want me to take the kids?” And after 5 straight days with my precious offspring, I say, “TAKE THE KIDS!! Please, dear God, TAKE them!” And that’s why nothing ever gets done around our house.

However, as you may recall, we recently embarked on a home improvement project in our family room. Because we are cheap and/or delusional, we hired a contractor to the major work, but convinced ourselves we’d do the finishing touches like sanding and painting. IN ALL OUR FREE TIME. So, basically, we’ve been living with plywood on the floor and spackle splotches on the ceiling for 3-4 weeks now.

With the new carpet installation approaching, this weekend was now or never to get the painting done. So on Saturday, C. tackled the ceiling while I wrangled the kids. (We wisely borrowed a ladder from our neighbors.) Thankfully, my 4yo went to a friend’s house for part of the time, so I only had my 2yo. (Which is like saying “I only ran a half-marathon.” Still freakin’ hard!!) We did errands and went to Chick-fil-A where he ran around like maniac and neither of us ate our lunch.

On Sunday, I worked on the walls while C. wrangled the kids. Because I had been so flustered with my toddler the day before, I had forgotten to pick up paint samples. So at 11 a.m., I headed out to Home Depot. Tip: don’t start a home-improvement project at 11 a.m. on a Sunday. Real DIYers are probably laughing their heads off right now: “What?! They hadn’t even picked out the paint yet? Or prepped the walls? Or circumvented the scoffits?!” (I have no idea what that means. I just made it up because it sounded home-improvementy.)

Two trips to Home Depot and 8 hours later, we finished the job. That’s with C. taking a shift to paint the high parts, me almost killing myself on the ladder several times, and the kids sword-fighting with the paint rollers and trying to mummify each other in masking tape more times than I could count. All this just to PAINT ONE ROOM. Can you imagine if we were real DIY-ers? Maybe when the kids go off to college. If the house is still standing by then.

LINK O’ THE WEEK: I read in the Washington Post a while ago about this couple that turned their DIY blog into a full-time job. While raising a 1-year-old. With no childcare. I can’t decide whether I hate them or admire them.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Mizzell May 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm

That chick on the ladder looks like you. But she looks showered and refreshed. And she looks happy to be there. And I don’t see any kids running around. So I’m guessing she’s your doppelganger.


Abby May 23, 2011 at 7:27 pm

What are you trying to say, Angie? I never look showered or refreshed?! Well, fine! … OK, you got me. I never do. 😉


Angie Mizzell May 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Well, I’ve never seen you in person… 🙂

I’m just taking a wild guess that this happy woman on the ladder does not have kids.


Lou Mello May 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Very funny post, I can relate a bit as I was totally remodeling a very big, very old brick farmhouse when my daughter was 4yo. Thank goodness for Grandparents or it would have been impossible. What you need to do is wrap the kids up in paint brushes and set them free in the room to be painted, then all you’ll have to do is a bit of touch up. 🙂


Abby May 25, 2011 at 12:14 am

Good idea, Lou. But I have a feeling more paint would end up on THEM than the walls!


Frume Sarah May 25, 2011 at 1:03 am

I blame Home Depot. They make the average person feel so empowered that folks like you and me get it into our heads that “yes, I could…say…build a house. No problem.”

A delightful account of an experience that, I’m just guessing, is much funnier after the fact.


Abby May 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Yeah! Let’s blame Home Depot! Boo, hiss…


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