Some things never change – like, for example, the simple satisfaction from a job well done. When there is a problem with something, and you are able to fix it and make it better again, or build something from scratch, that is some powerful sense of accomplishment right there. I can think of only one thing better than being a successful “DIY”er. It would be being a “DIYD”er – or a “Do it Yourself – Director”. I’m awesome at that. Our new place is great, but, let’s face it – there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. We tackle things as a team. My contribution is as follows: Identify projects. This can be done in a number of ways, but I tend to go with:
Conspicuously staring at imperfections while subtly shaking my head and with an occasional heavy sigh thrown in. For effect, this is best done while spouse is trying to point out something unrelated and usually pleasant.
“Hey, Darling” he says. (He sometimes calls me ‘Darling’, and I figure – hey, if the shoe fits.) “Look at that crazy dog!” He points at our pooch, laying upside down, sleeping adorably on the floor.
BUT I of course, can manage only a fleeting glance at the right-upside-down-dog, but then my gaze drifts over to a missing piece of wall trim nearby. I adopt a sad, melancholy face, not at all what he was expecting when he pointed out the cute pet … and then BOOM, fixing piece of trim just moved up the priority list.
When that doesn’t work, another subtle tactic is the unnecessarily loud phone conversation with my sister that lists all the things that need fixing/are unbearable, and always hinting that I would be much happier (and some might even think, nicer) if only these projects were done.
Sometimes I perpetuate the myth that “we” do jobs, by accompanying on a trip to Home Depot. Once there, I usually
a) Complain that I’m hungry because I can smell Subway.
b) Fill the cart with a bunch of stuff we didn’t intend to buy, like plants and mops and organizers.
c) Lose him at least 3 times, and zoom around up and down the aisles like a crazed mall walker.
d) Act bored, possibly even climbing a rolling staircase to the top, or laying on some plywood stacks just to pass the time while he does tedious stuff like “calculate” and talk to old guys wearing orange aprons and shorts and workboots, during which time I’m trying not to laugh when they say stuff like “caulking”.
We get out to the truck and I sometimes have to sit there for 10 minutes while he figures out a way to fit everything in and on top of the vehicle. During this time I play with the radio and
creepily stare people watch. I always perk up on the way home, with the truck loaded down with mysterious ingredients like concrete and wood and “caulking” (too funny).
“How long do you think it will take us to get this done?”, I inquire, eagerly.
He always plays along … and goes into a Mike Holmes-esque recitation of all the things that have to happen:
“Well, first we have to sand and then I’ll cut out those old pieces of wood and cut news ones and put them in and then it will all have to be caulked (I’m dying!) and then we can paint with the primer and then paint with the nice new paint that you picked out…” , but by then I’ve glazed over so badly there’s no coming back. AND – we both know that I’m not doing any of that. He will do it, and it will be perfect, consistently way better than I could have imagined. I will wander into the room where the work is going on and cheerlead, “That looks AWESOME! I love that colour I picked out!”
(It’s always some variation of beige.) I may even deliver a well earned beverage.
When the job is done he will call me in to admire it. Sometimes I take before and after pics. It is without exception, done equal to or better than if we had hired a professional. His talent at doing absolutely everything never ceases to amaze me. I’m always impressed. However, sadly, my satisfaction is always fairly short lived. If for example, he tries to bask a little too long in the warm glow of accomplishment by a couple of days later by saying something like, “Remember how that room used to look?” I usually say something sensitive and motivating like, “Yes, but … have you SEEN that laundry room? Let’s not live in the past”.
Here’s a pic of OUR latest DIYer project. I heard it was going to be an exceptionally hot summer, and phoned him on my way home from work a few weeks ago. I didn’t mince words:
“We need one of those pools from Canadian Tire.”
“Aren’t they expensive? Where will we put it? Aren’t they ugly? Do we have enough water?” Sometimes he’s very inquisitive. And, obviously, none of these things are my problem. He picked one up.
There was a slight delay with the installation, when he read the assembly directions and it said “you need 3 people” to set the thing up. When 2 hot weekends passed and he realized that at no point was I going to lift a finger, so the chances of getting a third party were akin to the snowball’s chance in hell, he got fed up and did what he does best. Did it himself. I arrived home from work, it was installed on a spot where he had painstakingly and perfectly prepared the ground. He called the water delivery service and got it filled up, and by the next day we were swimming.
Now was that so hard? Best part is, the kids keep raving about what a great idea I had, as they lounge in and around this pool.
Well, I can’t take all the credit. It’s just not my nature. I’m a team player. And, it may sound corny, but in my case it’s especially true … there is no “I” in team.