Do it yourself

Woe to the writer who values beauty over truth.
–Adam Zagajewski

So here it is: The truth, which some people think is beautiful, and some people think is ugly, but which is really both because it can’t be one without the other. When I started writing this, I wanted to write a real DIY blog for other women who have found themselves accidentally faced with either learning how to fix the broken things in their homes or letting it swallow them whole. I wanted it to be written by a real DIY beginner, not one of those DIY Divas on TV who has a crew of people on the other side of the camera getting her out of trouble when the ladder slips from under her feet.

But it turned into something else–and I’m glad–because really, no one should be taking advice from me about how to make home improvements. They should be taking advice from those DIY Divas on TV. I mean, who needs another reason to feel like a failure? I’m just learning this stuff so how could I teach someone else? Right?

What it turned into, though, I have come to love. And since I started, I have found many real DIY blogs written by women who really know what they are doing. So for that, take their advice. But from me, just take the truth about all the mistakes I make along the way, and how I recover from them.

Those guys on TV don’t tell you about all their mistakes. They don’t tell you how many do-overs it takes to get something right because their sponsors are all the big home improvement giants and tool makers. You might never start a project if you knew how many times you had to run back and buy things to fix your mistakes. They want it to look easy so you spend all your money on the first trip buying shiny blue power tools, leather belts that hold things, expensive work gloves to protect your nails, and maybe some bottled water or Diet Coke to keep you energized and well-hydrated during your work.

The right tools are important, though, so get some good advice on that. If you do feel like spending money on something, I would suggest a sturdy, untippable ladder. Because falling down is just part of life, but falling off a rickety wooden step-ladder when cleaning out the gutters is just unnecessary.

Some of my friends think I’m just being stubborn because I want to do all this stuff myself, but I’m not. This is not like when my daughter, at age 4, refused to let me help her tie her shoes and stomped her feet saying, “I can do it myself!”  The truth is, I need the solitude, and nothing provides solitude like doing a bunch of work around the house every weekend all summer long. Because, really, most of my friends have better things to do and they’ll touch base with me later. I’m doing this because it needs to be done, especially when you have an old house on an acre of land and it’s just me and the brokeness on a Saturday night.

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