Saturday, May 19, 2012

To Have a Fantastic I mean Fantasy Summer DIY

Every May it happens.  I suffer from seasonal delusion disorder.  My older children get done with school and I suddenly think they're not only skilled free labor, but artisans of the first order. 

It starts innocently enough.

The deck needs to be painted.  I know that I cannot do this on my own. Toddlers will walk onto the deck asking for Mom. Older siblings will need a judicial ruling from the responsible adult. No one knows where the skim milk is, even though I've called to them that there is a gallon in the second refrigerator in the garage. So while I cannot do this task...I do have teenagers!

So I think, my oldest two can handle this, shoot...if the oldest three do it, it can be done in a day.   The interest in, skill level of, and dedication to completing such a chore of my children to whom I have deligated this task, does not factor into my daydream.  It will look great. It will be easy. It will be quick. It's a great summer project for them.  It will create great memories and stories too!

Then I promptly go nutty. 

Hey, they could do the front stoop too...and the bathrooms upstairs.  Our driveway needs to be resealed.  I bet the two boys could handle that over the summer...and I could learn and then teach our new high school daughter how to caulk.   The shower curtains upstairs need to be replaced and I know my other daughter could handle spackle.   My list of chores grows ever increasingly complex and impossible as the delusion takes hold.  My offspring are suddenly terribly interested in their summer math packets and book reports.

I regret to admit that often a trip to Home Depot for instructions and supplies is insufficient to help me regain sanity.  Only after actually purchasing multiple supplies, bribing some of the chosen kiddos with pizza and a trip to Barnes and Noble and taking away computers, tv's and all other entertainment, do we then get midway through the messy process and discover how radically unskilled everyone in my household is.  Regrettably, my children have learned to still demand promised rewards even if the results create diminished returns.  Even more regrettably, I have to agree, they've earned them.

After the professionals come in via my emergency phone call to do damage control, I see how utterly in the preschool of home repair I and my offspring remain.  They are done in minutes. It is perfect. It is sparkling. It is expensive.  Most importantly, whatever we did, has been mercifully erased, repaired or covered up with a neat bit of paint.

What is the lesson of these large checks written to contractors that come after a two day call back and 8 hour wait?  What message do I internalize?

Don't do this? No. 

You severely overrate yourself? No. 

You cannot become a capable DIY'er by watching Restaurant Impossible, reruns of Home Improvement and the Home and Gardening Network?  Again, no. 

I learn that we quit too early.  If I'd just been tenacious and held out a bit longer, we could have saved ourselves some money. We could have done it ourselves.  Next time, we're sticking to it. Next time, we do it ourselves. We win!

So for this June, July and August, I bought a book from Home Depot entitled "How to Fix Everything."  I've made my list and I'm thinking, we'll put down some flooring in the back basement and turn it into a college student bedroom.  It will need shelving and I'm thinking we could create a closet and a utility room for a spare washer and dryer.  It will be fun for everyone!  I'll promise them pizza.

 After we paint the back deck.

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If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!