A New Years Toast to the True Grit of DIY Dreamers
So the holidays are over…
Somehow we managed not to have any drywall dust flying around during Christmas dinner, just a little grit from the sanded grout we applied to the newly tiled kitchen wall. SOMEONE managed to get grout in the kitchen sponge so that the plates made little scratchy sounds on the island counter top as we ate, the one we had buffed out last Spring because it was scratched…the irony!
We did fit the tiling project in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we postponed the mud room project until after the New Year so it was nice to have a clean house and even some guests over during the holidays. But I can feel the next project breathing down my neck as I write. It’s promising to be a bear.
We have a lot of wet here, and five acres worth of mud. So we need this mudroom. But we’ve got to replace glued down wood flooring with tile, bust out drywall, reconfigure plumbing and possibly electrical, install new drywall, paint, cabinets, fixtures and backsplash tile, and build a dedicated space for wet jackets and shoes.
Piece of cake…NOT. But after forty years of projects, we’ve got real DIY chops. We can handle it.
Of course I say “we” a lot but truth be told the old man does most of the heavy lifting.
I’m the designer. Kind of like the wedding planner. I’m there to plan, to direct, and to place flowers in vases.
And to spend his money.
I am, of course, exaggerating. I’ve been known to install insulation, drywall and tile. I’ve painted more rooms than I can count and have the blown out right shoulder to show for it.
And I do a lot of clean up. I keep the sponges organized.
One DIY skill I excel at is making suggestions. The old man knows this and generally ignores me, which is something he excels at. This tends to make me pouty, like that wedding planner when you ignore her suggestion to purchase several hundred books of personalized matches for all your non-smoking, mostly vegan wedding guests.
But every now and then I make a suggestion that he actually agrees to. I can’t think of any examples right now because it happens so rarely, but when he does implement something I suggested, especially if he was scratching his head trying to figure out what to do, you know I have to strut around like a rooster and say things like “See, I DO have some good ideas now and then. I DO help you figure things out sometimes.”
Which he ignores. So much so that he forgets that the person who figured out how to make that transition in the siding where the contractor screwed up the foundation tie-in look intentional and not like a mistake, was me.
So I think I know how that wedding planner feels the day of the wedding, when everyone is complementing the bride on what a beautiful wedding she pulled off.
She just stands in the shadows, glittery wedding clipboard in hand, smiling demurely as she downs her fifth cocktail and third piece of cake.
But does she give up? Does she quit planning weddings and start driving for LYFT? Of course not. She keeps going. She keeps planning, directing, and making inane suggestions on ways to spend money her clients don’t have.
So I’m not gonna quit planning, puttering and making suggestions just because I’ve been largely ignored for the last forty years. Somehow, my projects have taken shape and come to life. Maybe it’s all the drawings I’ve made, all the heaps of fixtures, cans of paint, carloads of cabinets and piles of tiles I’ve picked out over the years, or the hundreds of suggestions I’ve dangled out in front of the old man to get him to buy into my vision.
Because we do have the lightest, brightest, loveliest little home now. It reflects who we are and the way that we live, and that, is reason enough to go on.
So, onward into the New Year, into the next plan, the next project, the next brain numbing conundrum that gets your critical thinking faculties moving in over drive. This DIY stuff is not for the faint of heart.
So here’s a toast to all the DIY’ers out there, who design and draw, demolish and re-build, who make things work and make it their own and make it fabulous!
The world is a better place because of you!
Copywright 2020 by Ilona Elliott