Ever Been in Over Your Head?

6a00d8341c630a53ef00e54ffdaf6c8834-800wiThere’s an interesting story by Michelle Hoffmann in today’s Real Estate section titled: Weekend wasters struggle with DIY home-repair jobs.

The subhead says: That HGTV show made it look so easy. But growing numbers of budget-conscious homeowners are tackling jobs beyond their skills — often to the dismay of their mates. Can you relate?

And the story starts out like this:

When her husband decided to fix a leaky pipe in the bathroom in their West Hills home, Ethel Brook, 78, watched his progress with chin in hand and furrowed brow. As one weekend rolled agonizingly into two, the retired market researcher gently suggested for the 450th time that her husband of 20 years hire a professional.

Undaunted, a determined Leonard Brook, 79, “sweating and hunched over,” his wife recalled, plodded onward in his quest to fix the bathroom pipe.

Meanwhile, Ethel, desperate to get her bathroom back and save her husband from another lost weekend, called Rick Hill, owner of a House Doctors handyman franchise in Santa Clarita. Within a day, Hill fixed the problem and repaired the wall damage.

“Things got a little out of hand,” Ethel recalled. “It was too big of a project for my husband. He couldn’t repair it. And I couldn’t take it anymore.” Read the whole story

For me, I started to suspect my husband was in over his head replacing a leaky pipe when he bought a fire extinguisher in case his soldering caught fire. The job did turn out, even though it took one full weekend day to finish, including trips back and forth to the hardware store. And I couldn’t help but compare what Bill makes in a day in his career to what it would have cost a plumber to come out. If Bill wanted to do it for personal satisfaction, fine. But, honestly, he didn’t seem to be having much fun.

This brings to mind the story of Ian Denchasy of Culver City, who tore out his entire kitchen on a whim and finally realized he didn’t have a clue how to get it back together again. A kind carpenter saved the day.

How about you? Have you ever gotten in over your head? And how did you survive it?

(Graphic: Los Angeles Times)

3 Comments on Ever Been in Over Your Head?

  1. Brent

    Those professionals have done the same job time and again. Since their livelihood depends upon it, they have a powerful incentive to get the job done fast (and hopefully right). It’s no wonder that they can get in and get out quickly.
    But for me, it’s mostly hobby and therapy, all rolled into one.
    It’s just an added bonus that I’ll save myself a few dollars by doing it myself.
    Once I’ve done a job, if I ever have to do it again I’ll be better able to DIY or assess whether I’d be time and frustration ahead of the game by calling in the professionals. Given the waiting games that you have to play just to get an appointment, why not use that time to see if you can make the repair yourself?

  2. Jennifer

    Oh yes. I think EVERY project has taken at LEAST 10x longer than projected. Even installing our door jambs yesterday… well, it isn’t done yet!

  3. lil_gaucha

    I can’t stop laughing.
    We’re 26 and 27, newlyweds (but thankfully not new to each other) and embarking on a home remodel that is 95 % DIY.
    We’ve been over our heads on a weekly basis since we closed escrow in August!
    Luckily, we have parents, aunts and uncles who have previously done most of the type of work we’re doing on their own DIY projects during our youth and learned many of the hard lessons for us!
    They’ve been there for us when the door we just bought, sanded and planed still didn’t fit the doorway and flew in to help us install odd-sized cabinets in the dining room nook, and to help prune the entirely overgrown and mangled tree in the front yard (with branches to the ground!) and on and on.
    The only way we’re getting through this is with speed dial to our nearest and dearest.