attention deficit d.i.y. disorder

Every once in a while I just have a total breakdown about the house, that there’s so much work that still needs to be done and everything is such a major production and absolutely nothing goes right. Before we bought the house, it never occurred to me that a) it would be hard and b) I wouldn’t like doing this stuff. When you’re watching HGTV or reading about it in magazines, they never mention the part where nothing is ever standard, and no two houses are alike. They give you step by step directions, and usually by step 2 I’m already saying, “Wait, ok, ours doesn’t look like that.” I think really home improvement instructions should be like choose-your-own-adventure books. Like when you get to page 2, it says, “If there are two wires coming out of the ceiling, go to page 4. If there are 3 wires coming out, go to page 5.” There never seems to be that part where they say, “If that doesn’t work, do this.” They just assume it will work. Which it never does.

Take the other day for example. After buying and returning one lock set for the front door, I bought another one that would work. Greg was out for the day, and I figured I’d just zip home, unscrew a few screws, screw a few others in, and voila! New locks. He’d be so proud. Instead, after getting about 90% into the installation of the top lock, I realized we had to drill new holes. So put that on hold, do the new doorknobs, even easier. Nope. Apparently our doorknob is a few inches over from standard, so the mechanism that goes into the doorframe doesn’t reach the hole in the door. Now what? Do they make a mechanism that’s longer? Can we special order something? Do we have to get a new door altogether? I don’t know, because we wound up just putting the old one back on. Correction: I had a temper tantrum, threw everything on the floor, stomped upstairs and waited for Greg to come home and put the old one back on.

My point is, the easiest thing is not easy. So the seemingly more complicated things *really* don’t get done. So as a result, 70% of the house still needs to be painted, the tub faucet drips, the toilet runs endlessly, the light switch in the dining room randomly switches off. When the going gets rough, we tend to jump ship.

However, we had a good night last night. We’ve sort of been working on the office, and last night we actually put down most of the floor trim, so we’ll probably finish tonight. We’re buying a rug this week, so we’re getting very close to finishing.

I’ve just been reading through Anna’s blog at Door Sixteen and am finding some great inspiration. They have some huuuuuge projects on their hands, but they seem to take things one small step at a time and pay attention to the details, unlike Greg and me, who always have to go back later to touch things up, which we never actually do anyway. I think our biggest problem (aside from not having a clue what the hell we’re doing) is our lack of focus and patience. We keep skipping around from room to room, which I know I’ve complained about a lot, but it’s starting to get ridiculous. I think I’m really just in denial that this is going to take us a long time. I sort of figured we’d bang it all out in a year and be able to sit back and enjoy, but clearly I was incredibly naive.

So we need to stop looking at this in terms of the house as a whole and start taking things room-by-room, from start to finish. Starting with the office. I’m officially deciding that we can’t move onto ANYTHING else until we’re completely satisfied with that one room. Here’s what’s left:

– finish installing quarter round
– prime trim
– paint trim and doors
– touch up paint mistakes
– re-hang door
– wallpaper closet
– buy rug
– put other computer in there
– hang artwork
– clean and rearrange bookshelves
– new curtains

We can *so* do this.

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3 thoughts on “attention deficit d.i.y. disorder

  1. mike says:

    hey…now that greg put in a few hours of sweat equity i owe you guys. let me know if you need help with anything handy. i know a guy who knows a guy.

  2. Mom says:

    I could not stop laughing! Everything is sooo true. Having lived through 2 old houses that never had a standard anything,, I understand and completely sympathize. You’re right about focus-must, must, must concentrate on 1 room at a time otherwise you will absolutely drive yourself crazy looking around in every room at all the things that still need doing. You will get through it! I promise! Stop trying to project yourself to the end of the renovation-your house is totally livable with some aggravating things like doorknobs not working right, lights not cooperating-but you have a home-you have a lovely kitchen-you can sit down anywhere downstairs and feel good. You have truly done a great deal considering neither one of you has any more than a few hours a week to really devote to projects that do not take 1 hour but take 3. Hang in there-hang looser, girl.

  3. leann says:

    kate, you guys have done sooo much already. which i know doesn’t mean a thing because you only see the unfinished projects. you’re doing a great job and your house is amazing.

    also, you could probably make a lot of money doing the choose your own adventure guide to refinishing your piece of crap old house!!!

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