Simple DIY Doesn’t Happen!

My husband and I are DIY-ers.  It all started from necessity.  In the first year of our marriage we built a house and due to circumstances beyond our control had to do most of the finish work.  When I tell you that I learned how to finish wire electrical with a Time Life book in one hand and a screwdriver in the other, I really am not kidding.

Obviously, we have made a fair amount of mistakes over the years and my work is nowhere near perfect.  That is alright though because the house is looking better and better all the time. We installed wide pine floors in the living room and bedroom which I then finished with a mahogany stain.  Painted the living room, three bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom.  Tiled the bathroom floor as well.   We have a chop saw, a table saw, a tile saw, and just about every tool that you might need to do work.  These were all purchased over time and we have accumulated a plethora of stuff and skills to get things done.

We have used contractors for things we couldn’t tackle like putting in retaining walls, a fireplace, the vinyl siding for the house, and roofing as well.  That has been hit and miss in terms of how those projects went.  I work very hard to make sure that I check out people that are going to do the work but sometimes that has not always panned out well.  We had a metal roof put on in about 2006 and literally days after we paid the final bill water was pouring into the house by the bucket full.  Turns out the contractor had not used ANY flashing between the house and the front porch roof.  We went back and forth and in the end, I had to go out onto the roof, remove the siding and trim and install the flashing myself.  This project looked more like a Three Stooges episode than a DIY project.  My husband is terrified of heights so he would not go out on the roof which meant I was elected by default.  I can’t say I loved it but I was fine.  The thing is he insisted on tying a rope around my waist and he stayed in the house with me tied off to the support between the two windows.  I am not sure what he would have done had I fallen.  I am glad I did not have to find that out.   Eventually, we had to have that roof replaced and THAT contractor who came well recommended locally was superb.

As many of you know, the last few years have been extremely trying for me due to my hip surgeries.  Three of them to be exact in 1.5 years, the last of which was last summer. As you can imagine that has put rather a dent into getting ANY projects done.  Slowly but surely though we have begun to tackle projects again, one of those being that toy box up-cycle I did a few weeks ago.  You can look at that here if you missed it.   This past weekend I worked on repairing our main entry way door.  What a job!

The plan was to remove the door, take off the door handle, dead bolt and paint it, then rehang it. The life of a DIY Diva is never quite that simple though. Perhaps you think all the problems they come across in doing those house flips is just for TV.  I can assure you that is not the case.  As soon as you go to fix something, I guarantee you will find that it is never simple.  As a matter of fact, my husband’s most famous words (and I HATE when he says this) is “This shouldn’t take long”.  As per usual when we did our little project, it took longer.


On the bottom of the door there is a strip to keep out the cold air and when we pulled it off we found that the wood was rotten.  The door was here long before we purchased the house in 1997 so I was not surprised.

We did some measuring and found a scrap piece of pressure treated 2×4 and cut it to size.  I always do the measuring and it was too big which is not a problem, you can always make it smaller, not bigger.  So we cut it again and fit it into the door and secured that.  I am out of practice I think because I usually measure twice.  As a matter of fact, when a teacher asked my daughter in the class room for a famous quote she said: “Measure twice, cut once”.

“Who said that?” the teacher asked.

Her proud answer was “My mother”.

The original plan was for me to work on getting the trim around the door prepped and painted while my husband worked on the door itself.  What do they say about the best-laid plans?  Needless to say,  it didn’t work that way.  Between the repair on the bottom of the door and going up and down stairs for tools and supplies,  I spent most of my time helping him fix that, painting it and then hanging it again. Of course, the lock set we purchased needed to have a different size hole than the one we had in the door. Seriously we went to Lowes or the hardware store three times this past weekend,  Friday night we bought the seal for the bottom and the insulation for around the door.  We were going to put the same lock back on and then I convinced my husband we should go buy a new one so Saturday morning we did that.  Sunday morning we had to go buy the special drill bit to put the right sized hole in the door to accept the deadbolt. We couldn’t then get that apart to drill out the hole for widening the mechanism to the door jam and we had to do that with something else.

Even my painting of the trim didn’t quite go as planned because the sun was beating on me and the paint was drying too fast so it got pretty gloppy.  I had to wait until the sun had moved to finish the painting.

You know, now that I think of it not much has changed since we worked on the roof that day and I was reminded of a Three Stooges show.  Our home improvement ALWAYS has three or four trips to the hardware store, it always includes yelling and while we don’t hit each other I have to confess there are times I would find it very satisfactory to poke my husband in the eyes! In the end, we are always quite happy with the results though.



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