Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY is for dummies.

Disclaimer: This post will have no pictures. Consider it more of a confession or apology or complain-fest rather than a tutorial.

You might have guessed by the title of this post, and lack of posts in general, that I'm having a tough time in the DIY category lately. Allow me to give you an example.

Our fourth bedroom, alright it has no door so I guess it's not a bedroom but that's what it's supposed to be, had a ceiling fan in it. An old-brassy-wooden-with-caning-on-the-blades kind of ceiling fan. The glass globe on the light part of the fan had flowers on it if that gives you any indication as to what I'm working with here.

I'm not in any position to change it right now. Mostly because the room doesn't even have a freaking door so why try to pretty it up with a new fan, right? Well, damnit if that stupid pull chain for the light on the fan didn't stop working. As in, you cannot pull it AT ALL. And wouldn't you know it got stuck in the OFF position? Because getting stuck in the ON position would be too easy seeing as how I'd be able to still use the light switch to work the thing. Nope, too easy, silly homeowner.

The simple thing to do would be to ignore it, which I did, for a few months.

The next easy thing to do would be to google and find out you can replace the little pulley switch thing. Great! And they sell it at our little hardware store in town? Even better!

Then you let it sit around some more because you realize once again that none of your breakers in the garage are labeled so it's going to require some time and switch flipping and running up and down the stairs before you find the room you're looking for. But you've been doing some fan installation in other rooms so you've got a few breakers labeled now and that means there's less switch flipping to go through so you figure today's the day to finally fix that damn fan so you have light in that fourth bedroom again.

Ok, perfect, it only takes five trips up the stairs before you find the breaker you're looking for which you promptly note on the paper you've taped to the breaker box so you don't have to ever unintentionally flip that switch again.

You climb your step ladder and start trying to remove the old pulley. Damnit again. One of the wires runs all the way up into the top. So you take it apart a little further and find the connection. Easy peasy. HA!

You get the thing all put back together and as you're trying to put the flowery glass globe back on you realize you can only use two tiny lightbulbs because the globe won't fit over two compact fluorescents. But in doing that maneuvering one of the sockets that was already loose to begin with completely breaks off. You consider burning your house down but fear the insurance adjuster might wonder why you already had all of your precious valuables in the detached garage out of harms way.

So now what do you do? Take the whole thing apart again so you can dig even further to access the small screw that holds the socket on? Or just take the whole thing down and replace it with one of the other flowery light fixtures you removed from another room? I went with what I thought was the path of least resistance and opted to just replace it with more flowers and less fan.

Are you still reading? I'm sorry. 

First, turn the power off...... again. Second, remove the fan blades. Third, remove all the skin from your knuckles as you scrape them repeatedly against the sandpaper textured ceiling while trying to remove the ridiculously tight nuts that are holding the entire contraption up. Four, get showered with drywall bits as the fan comes away from the ceiling only to realize they somehow stuck the wire nut connections back through the bracket through the tiniest hole that you can't access unless you unscrew the bracket while still holding the heavy base of the ceiling fan in one arm and the screwdriver in the other.

Ok, so maybe there was a little bit of a tutorial in there after all.

At this point you're thinking the hard part is done. I mean, you're replacing a big fan with a simple light. Two connections and a couple of screws and you're done.

But wait, there you go again being optimistic you silly homeowner. Because the screws that held the bracket for the fan to the electrical box in the ceiling aren't long enough to reach through the plate that holds the light fixture up. So you search through the graveyard of light fixtures that you've gathered in the corner of this forgotten bedroom and naturally don't find a suitable substitute. Which means you have to go outside to the workshop and rifle through your husband's neatly organized tools and screws until you find one.

Oh and while all this is happening you have a two year old at your ankles asking what he can do to help. Since there isn't much that's safe for a toddler to accomplish electrically speaking he takes it upon himself to empty out your stash of buttons and ribbons on the floor beneath where you're working so that every time you drop a screw (which is basically every time you undo one) you have to search through a mountain of buttons to find it.

So you venture to the workshop grabbing three drawers from the little screw cabinet/shelf/organizer thing and hope something in there works. And then the stars align and you finally get that light fixture up and the room is illuminated once more which really only shows you how long it's been since you vacuumed in there so you go ahead and do that too while you're in there.

Are you still there?

The point, you ask? Well, this is what every home improvement project I've tackled so far looks like, only sometimes far messier. I'm looking at you master bathroom wallpaper. And I'm starting to get discouraged. Like, why do I even do this to myself? I have a lovely home that gives us warm fuzzies when we think about living here for the long term. But it's chock full o' 1980s and sometimes it's frustrating to walk around and see nothing but DIY projects staring you in the face that you're too scared to start because everything up to this point has been so awfully painful and expensive that you're not sure you've got the strength to go on.

In a nutshell, that's why you haven't heard from me lately. I've been doing things but they've either taken forever or been not pretty to look at and I just don't figure anybody really wants to see that. Isn't the internet for looking at and sharing beautiful things? Am I the only one who has a hard time with DIY? All these professional bloggers make it look so easy which leads me to believe they're lying. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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