DIY, even when it goes south, can create a sense of accomplishment

Oprah Winfrey, perhaps you’ve heard of her, wrote a book about things she knows for sure.

Well, don’t we all know some stuff for sure? For example, I know if you decide to do a home project, the DIY concept can go south.

A friend of mine’s favorite saying is “Hire it done.” That’s fine, but sometimes I just know I can tackle a project, finish it and have that wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

The problem comes when you realize just how many bumps in the road there can be. Even if it’s as simple as repairing and painting the deck. I thought this project would take about three days.

We have a balcony that wraps around the back of our house and it was in need of attention. First I got out my battery powered, super duper new drill and screwdriver. Getting those loose board tightened down shouldn’t be a big deal. Well, it was, I didn’t know there was metal under some of the boards. Just as I was making progress I dropped the drill bit in the crack between the boards. Decided then all the boards looked pretty good.

Next came getting it as clean as possible so I swept it off, blew it off and power washed it. Ready to put the new paint on. Went to the big store that carries everything from potato chips to kitchen sinks to paint to anything you can think of except maybe live animals.

Decided on a color, Forest Brown, in moderate to heavy texture. Had to wait for the wood to be dry. Got out there started painting and thought, “Hmmm, that looks kind of orange. The color chart didn’t look that orange. Maybe it just needs to dry.” I was smart enough to quit painting and it did change color. It became more orange. Not rust, but pumpkin orange.

Back I went to that giant store where the entrance is a block from the exit. This time I thought Autumn Brown would be perfect. I moved everything to one side of the balcony and painted. Ahh, much better color. Once it dried, I moved everything to the painted side and painted again. Very pleased until when there were three feet left to paint and I was totally, scraped the bottom of the bucket, out of paint.

By this time it was the day before leaving for Scotland so I had to put the thing on hold until we returned. It rained the whole time we were gone so I had to wait several days after we got home to let it dry out. It continued to rain.

In the meantime I went back to get the paint to cover the three feet. A quart ought to do it. No, it only comes in gallons or three gallons. I bought the gallon, brought it home, started painting and thought, “Hmmmm. that looks a little dark. Well of course it was darker. It was Oxford Brown not Autumn Brown. Sadly, my husband Dick liked the darker brown better and so did I.

Back to the big store where the people in the paint department probably thought I was painting a large house in multiple shades of brown. I got another gallon of Oxford Brown. At this point I wondered if I should just get the three gallon bucket for a hundred and some dollars just to be on the safe side.

No doubt Dick thought maybe it was time to bring in a professional but to his credit he didn’t say so. By this time I was a determined, nearly frothing at the mouth do-it-yourselfer.

Finally got it painted. Time to get those pots planted! Went and bought plants plants and of course that’s a whole story in itself. At one place I bought so many I had to hold one in my lap driving home.

Ta-dah. It’s finished.

Yes, it took longer than three days. I looked it up, this little project was started on April 23rd, finished, including the plants, June 4. I doubt Martha Stewart ever had such an experience. She would have built and decorated a house in that amount of time. We can’t all be Martha Stewart.

But wait. There it is, that wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

Reach Bonnie Bing at bingbylines@gmail.com