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Thoughts on DIY Projects


Why is it that do-it-yourself projects are always depicted in beautiful pictures? Why isn’t Home Depot’s motto: You can do it yourself. It will be wrong. Then you can come back and spend more money to do it again and again?

I did a DIY this holiday weekend. I built a “dry laid wall” out of Pennsylvania Bluestone on my front lawn. The book I bought showed a very clean man easily removing sod (on a very level piece of property). Then it showed him stacking his rocks in similar sized pieces. The next picture had the wall half built–and perfectly level. Also, his various rock sizes fit as perfectly as puzzle pieces. In just three pictures, he was done.

I, on the other hand, needed half of Friday, most of Saturday, and all of Monday to get close to finished. I was dirtier than I had been in a long time. I was immensely sore from lifting rocks. But, I did learn glean some positive elements.

1. I have a new appreciation for Nehemiah 4 and the challenges of turning rubble into something that will stand up to gravity. And I didn’t have a Sanballat trying to kill me while I was building my 12 food wall that couldn’t protect me from spitballs.
2. My wife and I worked together, despite neither ever having a masonry class, without fighting.
3. I have a greater appreciation for those in the trades. AND I’m very glad to have a job where exercising my mind is my “heavy lifting.” I am reminded of the days when I worked a summer job building lobster traps. Never more was I glad to go the extra mile in my courses than in the fall when I was just done my manual labor job.
4. One should never say, “how hard can it be?” before starting a DIY. There is a negative correlation between the ease of that statement and that actual difficulty with the job.
5. That cracking and breaking ceramic tile floor in our downstairs bathroom has a few more years in it before I forget my learnings here and think, “how hard can it be?”
6. Those DIY jobs on TV should be permenantly banned.

The funny thing? I actually enjoyed it despite the hard work and not knowing how it would turn out.

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