I Am A DIY Bad Ass

Not really. In reality, when it comes to DIY bad asses, I fall far below Ty Pennington or whoever reigns as the current darling of DIY home shows.

I am, however, way better at home improvement than a dead hobo with a toothpick.

I have the manual dexterity of Gertie bird and she doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

I painted most of the interior of our house.

I had help, thank the stars, because I thought I was going to succumb to paint madness. I still might. I have one room to go.

Paint madness is the worst.

The symptoms I just made up are:

  • Homicidal rage when someone points out you got paint in your hair.
  • Becoming dependent on paint fumes.
  • Eye twitches.
  • General crankiness.
  • Feelings of resentment that it’s been years since you’ve had a rice krispy treat and why doesn’t anyone love you?

I thought painting endless walls was the worst thing ever.

It’s not.

We have made enough progress that we were ready to talk to a real estate agent. We talked to the dude who sold us our house 9 years ago.

When Brett sold us our house, he was young and fairly new to real estate. Now, he has one of the top agencies in the area. Super excited to be working with him again. I feel confident this will go well.

Anyway, I hate Brett.

Brett came over and looked things over. He confirmed the issues we knew we need to address. He assured us that now is a good time to sell. I think everything’s going to go okay. Before he left, he casually mentioned it would be a good idea to re-grout the showers.

You guys. I have one third of the smaller of our two bathrooms done. I can barely type this post because my shoulder burns and I think I ruined it forever.

I watched YouTube videos on how to re-grout a shower.

It’s not hard. Well, it’s hard, but not technically hard to do, which is good. When it comes to DIY anything, I don’t want to have to be too precise. Still, if any precision is required, the job is mine. Randy is at the “tear it down” DIY level.

You have to dig out the old grout and can either get this little circular saw looking tool, or you can get a jaggedy razor looking thing on a stick and dig out grout manually.

The teeny circular saw tool was $89. The razor blade thingy was under $10 bucks.

The razor blade thingy sucks ass.

The razor blade thingy method is tedious, dirty, and so very fucking slow. It also upset my spirit animal.

I don’t know if I ever told you guys this, but I have a duck in my shoulder.

I tore a rotator cuff years ago and got an MRI. I was able to access the images online and, in my professional opinion, I have a duck in my shoulder because the MRI image looks like I have a duck in my shoulder.

Scraping out grout with the jaggedy razor blade thing pissed off the duck. Really bad. I have zero strength in my right arm and my shoulder hurts like a motherfucker.

Six years ago, a surgeon told me I needed surgery.

I considered his opinion and decided that not being able to comfortably raise my right arm laterally is not a big fucking deal. My shoulder twinges a little from time to time, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s not a hardship to live with. Until I scraped the grout from my shower stall. Like I said, the duck is not happy.

On the other hand, the lower third of my shower stall looks goddamn amazing.

I am a DIY bad ass.

I am also a DIY bad ass that will be putting ice on her shoulder and investing $89. in the teeny circular saw.


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  • You are one step off Wonder Woman in my books (and she doesn’t have a duck!) Good on you for tackling the painting and that grouting would be a pig of a job. I’ve painted many a wall with my husband – it’s supposed to be the sign of a good marriage if you can paint together – so we must be going great because neither of us actually physically maimed the other in the process – but I get the shoulder pain thing, I really do – both mine are stuffed and anything repetitive and fiddly makes mine scream. Heat packs and a little TLC (and massage is good – that’s why we keep our husbands around).

  • I learned my favourite painting trick from a friend after I complained I could sell the beams is been wearing to paint my bedroom as a Jackson Pollock homage/wearable art piece.

    She advised to paint in your underwear.

    Paint in your underwear, preferably without a bra. And don’t paint in nice undies — paint on the old stretched-out ones you were going to toss soon anyhow.

    You might get paint on your skin and in your hair, and maybe on those undies, but when you’re done you toss the underwear, take a good shower, and come out with a freshly painted room and yourself all fresh and clean, without wrecking any clothing.

  • You are amazing. Your DIY skills are pretty cool, but the really amazing thing is you have a duck in your shoulder. You can tell people you’re like a human turducken, only without the en or the tur. And if you ever fart, which I realize you never do in public but if it were to happen, you could just say, “It’s the duck in my shoulder,” and that will explain everything.
    Also I’m about to finish season 4 of Buffy and I really like Willow’s friend Tara. Not in a creepy “lesbians are hot” way but in a “hey, it’s cool to see LGBT characters on TV and also it’s nice that Willow has found someone who appreciates her” way. Actually I’ve never gotten why some guys think lesbians are hot. I mean, if a woman is not attracted to guys at all then a guy would have to be a real asshole to go on and on about how hot that woman is, and I think I just figured it out while typing that.

  • Angry scapula mallards are the worst.
    Be careful with the power tool. We used to borrow our friend’s tile saw to cut stones when we made jewelry, but we bought a diamond cut-off wheel for our hand tool (like a Dremel, but fancier and more expensive) and that worked better, except that it would occasionally grab the stone you were cutting and throw it at the speed the wheel was turning. Then there would be a series of plinking noises somewhere in the shop that you had to pay close attention to if you ever wanted to find that stone again.
    Painting is one of those things that when people find out you know how to do it, you’ll be doing it a lot, I have found, rather like moving or working on a car…

  • As someone who has spent my whole life doing DIY and crafts and as a child watched my mother essentially renovate an entire two story, four-bedroom house HER OWN GODDAMN SELF, I have learned one very important rule: ALWAYS invest in the tiny circular saw. If there is ever a manual vs automated way of doing anything, unless it will put you into debt the automated way is ALWAYS the sounder investment. Unless you can afford to have someone else do it for you. Then THAT’S the sounder investment.

    • Yes, paying others. I am going to pay someone to finish the painting in my living room and kitchen because the ceilings are vaulted and I can’t finish it. And yes, I learned that lesson the hard way. I rolled doors tonight and my shoulder duck is all pissy again.

    • I concur. $89 for a saw is SO much better than $89(add a bunch of zeros here) for surgery to overcome the “manual labor” injury you gave your duck whilst trying to save some ducking money!

      Plus, it’s a saw! Moar Powr! ARph Arph Arf!

  • I wish I could introduce you to my bad-ass mother-in-law. When I moved, I hired her. she painted, wallpapered, replaced windows, rehung ceilings, took up and replaced tile floors, grouted, everything. She also does light electrical and plumbing, but happy hubs had already done that and the wood floor refinishing. She was 74. Now she is 78, and has just purchased a fixer-upper — because she wanted a project.
    Also, if you need to buy anything, she has a coupon, and will talk to the salesperson until she gets delivery and an extra pillow for free.
    Do not try and intimidate her, or mansplain any home improvement project. She always invests in the tool, or knows someone to lend her one.
    She’s my hero.
    (But you write. She doesn’t do that.)
    Congrats on your DIY-ness, you did more than I did!

  • Oh my gosh, I needed this laugh. You are hilarious. But I promise I’m not laughing at your pissed off duck. Or your ripped up shower. You just make everything funny. You are the EXPERT AT DIY FUNNY! Take THAT, ya tiny razor blade thingy! Booyah.

By Michelle


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