Friday, March 22, 2013

If You Give a Mom a Project

illustration from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Illustration by Felicia Bond from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
I have a theory that Laura Numeroff is a DIYer. If you have children of a certain age, you likely know Numeroff's If You Give A Mouse a Cookie (and all its spin-offs). "If you give a mouse a cookie," he'll need a glass of milk go to with it, and then a straw to drink it, and then a napkin to clean up, and then hilarious hijinx ensue, major messes are made, and in the end the mouse is going to want another cookie.

The mouse-cookie process is my DIY process. I like to do home improvement projects because I enjoy the work and the feeling of satisfaction I get when I complete a project. I also hate to spend money. If I'm honest, I'm also driven by my belief that if I want something done right I'd better just do it myself. This is how I get into trouble. I begin one small project, notice something else amiss, fix that thing, which leads to another and another and so on.

Take the bookshelf, for example. I recently noticed that the small table and chairs in my daughter's bedroom were used not for writing or drawing, but accumulating junk. Her bookshelves were full, so books were piling up on the furniture and on the floor.

This was a simple fix: remove the table and chairs, replace with a bookcase.

I did those things, and as I set the bookcase in place I noticed something that had escaped my denying eyes for six years. The painters who repainted my daughter's room before we moved in had painted over a piece of Scotch tape.

You will argue that I could have left that piece of tape there. You would be wrong. Once I'd seen it, I couldn't unsee it, and it was going to bother me forevermore. So I removed the tape.

This small act led to the following:

* spackle and sand the tape spot;

* notice the drywall nails working their way out of another wall and the giant crack in that wall;

* hammer, spackle, and sand nails and cracks;

* vacuum, dust, and wipe down walls and baseboards;

* realize I have no leftover paint for this room;

* go to paint store to purchase paint:

* repaint two small walls and patch other areas;

* notice that, now that the wall looks nice, it emphasizes how ugly the baseboards are;

* empty bookshelves;

* move furniture away from the walls;

* duct tape the carpet;

* caulk;

* repaint the baseboards;

* remove duct tape;

* move furniture back into place;

* set bookcase in place (again) and reshelve books. At midnight.

It seems that a fictitious mouse and I have a lot in common, and I didn't even get any cookies. At least my daughter no longer has a "cracked and broken" (her words) room.

Am I alone in my neurosis, or do other DIYers have this problem?

1 comment:

  1. You can come to my house anytime and DIY--ha, ha,ha. Susie