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Where do Home Improvement Projects go to die?

I don’t want to say that my house is a burial ground for Home Improvement projects, because it’s not.

It’s more like a tomb.

Which is to say is that my house is chock full of DIY mummies, preserved just as they were when they gasped their last.

Why is that?

Some projects are so big that you just get sick of them.  When you’ve painted a good-sized living room three times in an attempt to get the color right, and then you have to put multiple coats on each wall once you’ve got it all figured out…I mean…I’m done.  I’m sick of dealing with it.  I just want to put the furniture back and be through.

You’d think I would have learned to just do one wall and see how it turns out, but I’m too impatient.  Once I get started, I don’t want to stop.  And I don’t want to wash brushes and rollers if I don’t have to – just keep painting until your arms fall off, and throw everything out when you’re done.

Example #1 (The Pink Living Room)

It's Pink! But the texture effect was awesome.

It wasn’t supposed to be pink.  But the texture looked terrific!  (Well, in real life it did.)  In my defense, this technique used special rollers and two colors of paint.  On top of that, you had to hand paint all the edges and corners.  It was just too complicated and time consuming to stop and re-start.  If only the color had dried the way I expected.  My living room looked like an Easter Egg.  But it took FOR-EV-ER and I wasn’t about to do it all over again.  So I lived in that Easter Egg for about four years before I got up enough energy to change the color again.

Example #2 (Accent Walls)

Going Green

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When I finally decided to make a change, the green accent wall turned out just like I wanted.

But then I went through several cans of paint, from tan to chocolate and everything in-between, before I gave up on the color for the other walls.  Much like the pink, I finally just settled.

And once again, by that time I was just done.

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You'd think I could find time to take down this tape. I found time to write about it.

The problem is all the extras, the little things you still have to do after you feel like the job is done.  It’s all the clean up work and the trim paint and, in my case, the painstaking and slow task of making sure the lines between the two colors of paint are all straight and pretty.

I gave up before I got that far.  (No picture here, it’s just too embarrassing.  I’ll tell you, but I’m gonna stop short of proving it.)  Also, I got interrupted when I was peeling off all the tape, and I never finished that job either.  I won’t tell you how long that’s been up there.

It seems like I never do get around to the finishing touches.  Then the paint goes bad, and you have to buy more paint.  Then you can’t get the same color anymore.

Example #3 (Paint Matching)

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In this case, I used up all the paint.  Plus I didn’t actually know what I was doing.  I’d never hung any kind of trim before and I don’t even remember what I used to seal the gap between those two pieces. In any case, I didn’t have any more paint and I didn’t keep the information I needed to reproduce the color.  So that’s it.  That’s as done as it’ll ever get.

Mostly, on a day-to-day basis, I just don’t notice things anymore.

Example #4 (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)

“Out of sight” might be pushing things a bit.  “Out of mind” is right on target.

I find that it’s pretty easy to go about my life and not pay attention to the things around the house that still need work.  And they don’t all have to do with paint.  Some have to do with flooring.

Dining room tile, which I really like, and ragged kitchen tile (that's a whole other story) which I really used to like, but not so much now.

In this case, I put in the kitchen flooring years before I did the dining room.  Now I want to – “want to” – run the same tile into the kitchen.  So my choice is to either pull up the entire kitchen floor or simply tile over it.  If I tile over it, I have to 1) deal with this gap, and 2) figure out how to mask the fact that there two different levels of tile.

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As far as the picture on the right, I pulled up a bit of bathroom tile before the new carpet went down.  I had found this pattern, which I liked better, and wanted a few pieces in place so I wouldn’t mess up that rail later.  And then I waited just long enough so that pattern could be discontinued. Naturally I can’t find anything else I like.  In the meantime, I pull up a tile or two of the old stuff as the mood hits me.  (Which, loosely translated, means “hardly ever”.)

Clearly I walk in and out of these rooms multiple times every day.  I can’t really claim not to see these issues. The truth is that I just don’t pay attention to them anymore.  They’re like the freckles on my arm.  I know they’re there, but I don’t spend a lot of time contemplating them.

Some projects are not my fault.  I didn’t finish them, that’s true, but I didn’t create them, either.

Example #5 (Nature Made)

You can't see much here, but there were trees down all over the property.

When our area was sideswiped by a hurricane, I mostly lost trees.  Fortunately, nothing hit the house, but there was a bit of damage.

The screen door had to be replaced, but for some reason the light fixture it slammed into was never fixed.  My Dad asked me about it once and I told him, “I never use that light anyway.”  Which is true, but still.

Mostly it's just that the glass is missing. I suppose I could have at least tried to straighten it.

Actually, I can hardly be blamed for not finishing a project that deals with electricity. I’ve electrocuted myself once already (at work) – it’s a very unusual experience to feel it flow in through one side of your body and out the other side.  And I literally burned a hole in the side of a screwdriver when I was trying to fix an electrical socket at home. That was the end for me.

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Not My Fault

This little gap is tornado damage.  I know it doesn’t look like it, but it’s true.  The tornado twisted off some tree tops, a branch came through the roof, then lots of rain came through the roof, and the dining room ceiling fell in the next day.  They took down sections of the trim in several places when they replaced the drywall on the ceiling.  Not my fault.

Also, if you remember, no more paint.  So doubly not my fault.

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So, what kinds of projects do you procrastinate on?

Or get halfway through and don’t finish?

Or lose interest in before they’re complete?

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Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jacque M #

    This condition is really a ‘bonified’ medical problem. It is a combination of Procrastinitis and Lostinterestitis. It is called lazy by some non believers, but we sufferers know it is a real medical condition.
    Just wait – just like some other so-called ailments that doctors cannot really prove are true medical problems, (the one where you either play video games or watch TV all night and can’t wake up in the morning in time to go to work comes to mind) they will give it a name and lawyers will find some way to blame it on something we consumed in the past and we can join a class action lawsuit. We will win lots of money and be able to pay someone to complete these annoying half-finished projects.

    May 27, 2011
    • skippingstones #

      I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Of course, I’ ve been to your house, so…I guess I got it honest. One of those diseases, I mean.

      May 27, 2011
  2. Michelle #

    Hey, Momma – do you remember the hurricane and how many trees were down everywhere? Bad timing that Daddy had just taken down so many of them himself, there just wasn’t as much protection left for the rest of them. I remember hearing them hit the ground – that was scary. Just every so often I’d hear a “whump” and I knew it was another tree going down. But I never lost my satelite picture or electricity. You guys spent the night with me that night for the electricity, remember?

    May 27, 2011
  3. Jacque M #

    Yes – I do remember – we came down and after we got on 95 we found out they had closed 95. There were so many trees down we could only go slowly. There were trees all around the backhoe in every direction, but none hit the equipment. Our power was out a few days, they closed the government.

    May 27, 2011

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