Why do we need another blog on DIY topics? Good question. Answer - I need an outlet to maintain my sanity before I take a nail gun to every venue out there that prompted me to jump into this DIY adventure (read nightmare). Now, I feel better and the dog is safe ...... for awhile.
Actually, I can't blame anybody but myself. You would think that after 30+ years in the Architectural profession immersed in the realms of design, management, construction, construction management and hand holding, I would just have gone fishing on some lake with the dog and a cooler of beer when I semi-retired........... but no, I answered my wife when she asked if we could replace 4 windows. They're just 4 small, 36"x36" windows.....piece of cake, honey. Now, we are into our 4th year of a full house remodel. How did this happen? I should be fishing. I love fly fishing, but I also love renovation and remodeling work too.
What I don't really enjoy is when a well thought out plan goes out of control. The 4 windows were replaced with a pair of french doors and two full height side lite windows flanking the doors. That prompted the addition of a deck and it just grew from there. Then it became "what if" and "I would really like this", and before I knew it we were making plans to completely redo our 1950's post WWII tract home that actually started out as a temporary arrangement.
Now, being the professional that I am, or was, old habits are hard to get away from, especially when they are good old habits and work. The key to any DIY project is planning, planning, and more planning. It starts with a vision and ends in reality. But the steps on how to get there are often neglected or overlooked by many in their anticipation to get started. I know this from years of experience. So first we needed a budget, a scope of work, a schedule , the plans and an estimate to get started. These were worked together in a reconciliation process over and over until we had the budget that matched the scope, that was reflected in the plans and confirmed by the estimates. Good to go. Next step, pull the permits, sign on the sub-contractors and let it rip.
One of the things you have to understand about remodeling or renovation work is that you have to expect the unexpected and learn to roll with it.....otherwise, you too shall be left with chasing the dog with a nail gun.... don't say it can't happen. Our unexpected happened when I took a lay off from the Project Manger position I had taken primarily for the remodeling project. We all know the economy tanked and the firm I was working with did the majority of their work for counties and those projects were funded with municipal bonds........guess how fast that dried up. We had some young interns in the office who were just starting their careers and had young families. I was ending my career, so I volunteered to take a lay off. No problem, with some recalculations and doing more work myself, now that I had more free time, still good to go.....it just might take a little longer, so I adjusted the schedule and the scope.
The next unexpected came with some health issues that sidelined me. But that is a whole other story, one I won't bore you with. My point is this.........you've got to be out of your ever loving mind to do this DIY stuff! No... that's not my point, it was just needed, the dog is safe again. The point is, crap (being politically correct here) happens! Bathrooms and kitchens are not remodeled in 2 days like you see on HGTV or DIY shows. What you don't see is all the planning, the measurements, the investigations and the pre-design and ordering....... along with the editing that goes into making those 30 minute shows. In the real world, you're going to wait weeks for cabinets or counter tops and the tile guy or electrician can't possible fit you in till next week........or better yet, you're apt to discover that you find some pretty ugly conditions when you start tearing out stuff that you hadn't planned on and have to correct before you can move on.
The other key to surviving the DIY contagion is learning to roll with punches......unless something is falling down on you head, then don't roll, run....and take the dog with you.
Damn, I wish I could find where my wife hid my fly rod.