Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Surely by now... (Eyeroll) ~ or Why DIY?

Every one I talk to knows about my wall project by now. Folks at the sailing club know I can't take the boat out because I am working on the wall. Folks at the office know I can't go out for drinks because of the wall. The kids know, the neighbours know, everyone knows that this wall is my everything. And the common comment is usually...

"Surely by NOW (eyeroll) you have that project finished??"

I'm not sure that I have the punctuation right, and I dunno if the stress is in the right spot but you know what I mean. This is the job that never ends. If SWMBO paid me by the hour, I could retire on the time I have into this sucker. It better not fall over. Ever.

So tonight I go to pick up another load of bricks. And if the rain breaks up long enough, I can shovel some gravel into the second walkway to the pool. I discovered on the weekend that the coping stones are too hard to cut with my little saw so I will have to rent a concrete saw to cut them with. And just like I did last week at this time, I am going to be bold and predict that by this time next week, I will have completed the wall.

I better have. I can't connect the pool until the wall is done.

Actually, I can't connect the pool until the walkway is dug out, and that's the project waiting for me after this project. Followed by the pool deck. Followed by a pool liner. I need to squeeze a fence in there someplace, and 2 arbours and maybe a patio and gazebo.

There is a 50% chance of rain today. That may push back the schedule. It seems like there is a 50% chance of rain every day.

SO you know what, the project isn't done yet, and it may.never.get.there. The backyard is going to eat me alive this summer. And that's what being a grownup means.

So why do we DIY? Why DIY a retaining wall of all things, and will this project bring me happiness in the end?

Why I DIY...
  1. I'm cheap. By DIY-ing this project I was able to save myself some money on materials, and my time is cheaper than a contractor's.
  2. I'm in control. If I DIY something and things don't turn out quite right or I decide to change the working plan, I can make changes on the fly without worrying about a contract or paying for 'extras' or what have you.
  3. I love learning. Before this project I had no idea how to split blocks or level a base course. I had never used a tamper. Now I know how to do all those things.
  4. I'm proud of my work. Its refreshing to have my coffee by the window and look out in the morning to see the wall that I built with my tools.
  5. Doing is better than watching. I could sit and watch things get built on TV, or watch a contractor, or coach my neighbours on their projects, but for me, the feel of tools in my hands, and the sounds and smells of the worksite are satisfying, even if its just cleaning up or the scrape of the shovel against the gravel. There is satisfaction in that.
  6. I want my kids to have an "I can do that" attitude. I believe that when my boys see me swinging hammers and shovelling gravel, they realise that they will have to care for their families one day too, and that this is what Dads do. It has already been pointed out to me that I build differently than Bob the builder. To me that is important. They're noticing.
I'll stop before this gets weird, but there it is. Yes, I am still working on this, and yes, I am giving up a lot of stuff to do it. But soon. (Very soon, I hope) this part of the job will be done. And then it will be time to play.

This weekend is Fiesta Week and next weekend is the Tall ships festival, so I may take a couple days off, but the project has to push on, and push on it will!


  1. #6 is a big one for me--I love it when the kids are interested in what we're doing and/or want to help out (well, usually). Of course, my Dad could build or fix anything (he built the house I grew up in) and my mom sewed most of my clothes for years, and I seem to have paid no attention whatsoever--but maybe my kids will do better :)

    1. Thanks for the comment Gretchen! The thing with the kids is sortof double-edged. I LOVE it when they are helping, but sometimes tripping over them can be a bit much too! Last night Cuppa took a tumble off the top of a stack of bricks, and I had to call in support to "get the kids outta here before they get hurt." It can go both ways - OTOH, I want them to play and learn, and sometimes that means getting hurt. Parenting is a tough set of choices.


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