As I was browsing the Be Jane site — where Los Angeles handywomen Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin encourage their sisters to take on home improvement projects — I came across an essay called “Throw a Do-It-Yourself Party!” that suggests you ask friends to come over and help you paint or install shelves or do whatever home improvement task needs doing.
I mulled that idea around. My friends are busy with kids and jobs and pets and the need for rest. Why would they want to fix up my house? I don’t really want to feel beholden to anyone, or make them think I’m using them for my own glory.
Then, I came across an “extreme roofing” posting on the excellent Constant Craftsman blog (you know, the blog that puts “man” back in “crafts”) and the author mentioned how he learned all about roofing and the mistakes you can make by helping his neighbor do a roof. Here’s how he put it:
So if your friend asks if you can give him a hand with repairing the roof of his tattered garage, you say, “Sure, man.” Even though you’ve never messed with roofing in your life. Yes, you’re doing your buddy a favor by helping out and it’s the nice thing to do (especially when you’ve been borrowing his miter saw for over 6 months), but in the end it’s pretty much self-serving. After all, you come away with valuable knowledge, skills, and a ham sandwich – all of which you didn’t have before.
So if I could have a party where my friends could learn a cool skill — like faux painting or furniture staining or making a pond — well maybe it would be worth their while. Unlike the Constant Craftsman’s gig, my friends won’t be getting a ham sandwich out of the deal. But the soy burgers and Arizona green tea will be on me!
How about you? Do your friends come over and help you fix up your home? Do you pay them? Do you feel beholden? Am I just anti-social to balk at this?
(Photo: Be Jane)