Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday: The Day I Learned About My Husband's Non-Patience with Non-Living Things. More Specifically DIY Projects. And My Inability to Shut Up.

My husband is SO patient. With me. Most of the time. I'm weird and quirky. I like things how I like them. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky to find such a wonderful and sweet guy to tolerate all of my weirdness.

I have never met this tool throwing, cursing, exasperated, sweating guy until when tools were involved.

I have never seen this side of him. The most "DIY" thing we have ever done is put together an IKEA bookshelf. Actually, that's not true. In Dover, we installed a storm door that had a doggie door cut out of the bottom. Prior to the doggie door project, I was convinced that Troy was Superman with a power drill because he's a guy. Apparently that's not how a man is made. By their ability with power tools. I'm pretty sure that I blocked out doggie door installation from my memory because it was so unpleasant. This memory came raring back full force on our first day of "get-as-many-home-projects-accomplished-as-possible-before-the-movers-come-on-wednesday."

Picture me wondering why "this" isn't working or why "this" isn't going faster. Then Troy muttering why am I so impatient under his breath and it escalating to huffing breath and tool throwing and marching around the side of the house to pull a "Tebow" and kneel in the side yard, asking God for strength to finish without killing his wife. That's how the doggie door install went. We finished, but I forgot about this incident from July of 2009 until halfway through our first day of inside-our-new-house-work.

We Troy woke up Monday morning after our all of our shopping on sunday and was very optimistic. He was feeling confident that we could install ALL 12 of the blinds, ALL 6 of the ceiling fans, seal ALL of the grout, and seal the granite in one day. With a 15 month old. I knew better. And probably so do you. Especially after reading this list he wanted to accomplish. He's goal oriented and ambitious. Two of the reasons that I married him. However, neither one of us had EVER installed a ceiling fan or a set of blinds, but it couldn't be rocket science. I was feeling confident that our learning curve would increase exponentially after the first installation of each was complete.

Troy decided to start with the most basic ceiling fan that comprised 3 out of the 6 fans that we had purchased. My job was to open all the fans in the rooms in which they belonged and distribute the blinds in front of the windows they had been cut for. I finished my job while carting Avery around the house with me. I went up into Avery's room (where Troy was working on the first fan install) after about an hour and Troy was still bent over the directions, holding the ceiling fan mount in his hands.

Natalie: What's going on? The directions say that the fan installation should take about an hour. It's been over an hour. Shouldn't you be in the next room?

Troy: Really, Natalie? Why don't you just beat me while I'm down? I don't think I can do this. There is no "outlet box" to mount this to. *throws screwdriver onto the ground and throws the mount like a frisbee*

Natalie challenges Troy's manhood, thinking anger will motivate him (boy, was I wrong): Are you kidding? Jared installed 5 of these. Nate installed one and so did Dan. You can't do this? Do you need a help from a girl? Do you need to call Jared and get over the phone instructions?

*Disclaimer: Ok, I was totally being a bitch. I know. But we were on limited time. We were stressing. But my job was done. My next job was to watch Avery so that Troy could be successful at his job. Which he clearly was not. Anyway...

Troy: Natalie, you are not helping. Maybe it's just this ceiling outlet in the bedroom that sucks. I'm not totally convinced that it's designed for a ceiling fan. It might be designed for just a light. No fan. I'm going to try the one in the loft that is definitely already wired for a fan. That might be easier.

Natalie while snapping her fingers and stomping her feet: Good idea. We've been here an hour and nothing is done. Keep moving, keep moving, chop freakin' chop.

So we go out into the loft and I start taking blinds out of the box to figure out screwing them into the window. The directions are WORSE than Ikea directions. You know what I am talking about if you have put something together from Ikea before (image from Apt Therapy).

In the meantime, Troy has figured out how to mount the loft ceiling fan. Then he drops a curse word. Again.

Troy while climbing down the ladder: The screws are too soft. I totally stripped it and NOW I can't get it mounted all the way in the ceiling. Awesome.

He proceeds to unscrew the whole thing using a wrench. His arm is falling asleep. It takes 10 minutes because the screw is so long. He gets the mount off the ceiling and gets another screw and tries again. And proceeds to strip it with the drill. He curses. I laugh. I guess that doesn't help. Oops. Troy quits with the fans and decides to join in on the torture with the blinds. I am still staring at the horrible faux Ikea directions for the blinds.

The way they go together, there are two metal clamps that are shaped like a C. The "back" of the C sits flush against the window frame and then the "top" of the C screws into the inside of the window at the top and the side screws into the side of the window. The the blinds click/slide into the C. it comes. Not only have we not put in a SINGLE ceiling fan, but now we are having difficulty with the blinds.

Our issue was screwing in the screws on the top of the C that screws into the inside frame at the top of the window. Because it's shaped like a C, that means that the bottom of the C is in the way of screwing in the top.

Troy was swearing and throwing things again.

Troy: You are SO cheap!! It was $99 to have Lowe's come out and measure and install the blinds. BUT NOOOOOOOOO you wanted to save a buck and now we are wasting a whole day!!! This agony is worth $99!

Then I said the wrong thing. Well I actually started saying the wrong things about half a page up.

Natalie: I wanted that money for a rug and throw pillows!!

Troy: Oh, the necessary things in life.

So little does Troy know...

Swear swear, stomp stomp. Troy stomps down stairs to get his phone.

So what does he do? He calls Lowe's. He asks to speak to the window treatment department and talks to the specialist person.

Troy: We were in yesterday and had blinds cut. Can we hire someone now to come to our house and install them?

Dude: No, you have to do that at the beginning because we measure them. If anything goes wrong, or the measurements aren't correct we are responsible. But since you already measured, had them cut, and took them home, we won't install them for liability issues."

Then Troy got desperate.

Troy: What if we sign a waiver so that you aren't responsible if the blinds don't fit?

Dude: Sorry, no can do.

Troy: So you're saying we f***ed up from the begininng?!!

Dude: Well yes, but I can't say that.

And then I'm pretty sure that Troy hung up on the guy.

Back to the drawing board. And I'm pretty sure it merits a mention that Avery was napping though all this, by the way (I put her in a pack and play under the stairs storage area all Harry Potter style) because she can only sleep in the dark.

Then I did the bitch thing again. I was like, "Jared installed ALL THE BLINDS in their house by himself. We can totally do this together." He made a face. And possibly a hand gesture.

Lesson to everyone: You truly do not know your spouse until you complete attempt home improvement projects together.

Troy finally figured out how to use the drill extender to drill through holes in the bottom of the C to get the screws flush with the metal. The day was saved. Thank God. There really is a very steep learning curve once you get the first one installed. VERY steep. Like Troy was installing them so fast, I couldn't get the blinds and all the hardware out the box for the next window before he was done with the previous one.

We ended up getting all the blinds installed in less than 2 hours. The first one doesn't count because it took an hour and 15 minutes. Ooo that looks so bad when written out. So a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes for 12 blinds. We have two more coming that are custom ordered. From 10am to 330pm we got all the blinds in. We spent the first 2 hours messing with the first fan that was a total fail. Then we spent another hour with the loft fan and THAT was a total fail. Then we spent an hour and 15 minutes arguing about the first set of blinds and then called Lowe's. After getting a "you are on your own" lecture from Lowe's, it was 1:30pm. That's when we starting rocking and rolling. We were done by 3:30 with blinds.

Then we moved onto hanging curtain rods on the sliding door off the kitchen and the big window in the family room that has a custom blind set coming. It was very important to us to have something covering all the windows on the first floor before we left to drive back to Alamogordo because all of our stuff would be inside and we didn't want any creepers looking around. Goal accomplished. With a very little yelling. I think Troy was feeling bad. I was too. Extra effort was made to be nice.

True story, we didn't have a tape measure. Who does that?? The inexperienced people right here (points at self, Troy should have known better). Troy fashioned a crazy craptastic one out of the extra long curtain rod box. And our first attempt to hang the curtains level was a fail. It's ok. If at first you fail, try again. And try we did. After some more yelling and tool throwing. We bought spackle. Don't worry.

Overall, it was a stressful day. Troy and I NEVER fight or talk to each other like that. Home-ownership just brings out the bitch in people, I guess. When we got back to our lovely hosts' home and told them our progress for the day, they thought we did great with our productivity. Especially while chasing a 15 month old up and down the stairs. Ugh. Read my lips writing: BABY GATES.

It's this exact situation that demonstrates why we have a pre-lit Christmas tree. We disagree on exactly how the lights should look, how to string them, how dense they should be, where they should sit on the branches (all over versus strung on the ends of the branches), and the color (white lights TROY, he always wanted colored ones...ewww). We learned that after the first 2 years of marriage the day we put up the tree has nothing to do with the "spirit of Christmas" but rather a giant lights argument. Our tree is the best $100 dollars we ever spent. Christmas literally got better. Because we didn't walk past the tree making adjustments to the way we wanted it to look while making sure the other one wasn't watching. And it would end up looking a hot mess. He wanted a pre-lit colored lights tree. EWWWWW. Troy would beg to differ. He would have spent the $100 on blind installation.

I actually learned a lot from this horrible day. It was our first time doing DIY anything. I love DIY blogs. Young House Love is my absolute favorite. I now know that they are liars. HUGE! Or the most polite people ever and just put on a happy face. There is NO way to DIY anything without something going wrong. Or at least not going the way you expected. You cannot be that cheery about DIY. I just cannot be that positive when things don't go the way you envision! Why can't everything go perfectly and exactly the way you plan??? That, my friends, is the reality of DIY. SOMETHING will go wrong. SOMETHING! Get ready for it and plan on it. Except for that you can't because you never know what it will be.

Things I learned on day 1 of DIY:

1. Don't challenge your husbands manhood by comparing him to the success of others DIY projects. It's not nice.

2. Use a tape measure and a level. Always.

3. Pilot holes are your best friend.

4. Sometimes reading directions is not helpful. If you are doing multiples of something, make your errors in a room that you don't frequently enter and hopefully no one will notice your practice project.

5. If your spouse yells or curses or throws things, it's (90% likely) not your fault. You'll only make it worse by yelling back and taking it personally. Stay calm and drill on.

6. If you have young children awake while doing these projects, close drill bit cases, extra hardware bags, and the tool box. Then you won't be tempted to jump off the ladder and almost die to prevent your child from trying to eat a drill bit.

Oh don't worry. There's more. Troy brought Jared over that night to get a fan tutorial. And we got all 6 in the next day. And I made it to Costco. It was love. We had a GREAT day. We definitely learned a lot on day one. Just because things went poorly. So day one: massive fail in communication and support. Day two: success because of day one's failures.

Troy, I love you so much. I will promise to be more patient with you. You are always so patient with me. You humor my weird and quirky and silly personality traits. Thanks for putting up with me. You're the only one who does. You know the saying, "a face only a mother could love"? Well my mother has told me that I am emotionally draining. And you put up with me anyway and want to make more babies with me. I got me a good one, I tell you. Hands off ladies, he's mine.

Anyone else have a horrid home improvement story? Or just a great story about a stupid fight with your significant other? Fight about Christmas lights?? It sure would make me feel better right now.


  1. Oh, Natalie - I have many stories, I'm trying to remember what our most recent one was about, which resulted in me deciding I absolutely HAD to re-read "Love and Respect" !! I bought it on audiobook and listen to it while Charlotte naps and I do housework - it's already helping ;)

    This was so amusing (and sad) and made me really miss you guys - you guys are great and totally MFEO (made, for each other - Sleepless in Seattle reference). Hang in there with your DIY projects. :)

    1. Awww I miss you guys too. I'm still waiting on some pictures from your new house!! How did your move go? Any major furniture breaks?

  2. Found your blog through YHL and this post was totally awesome! I've definitely had days like this with my husband (we renovated our entire first floor just a couple months after we got married - thankfully, we're still married!)

    It gets better!

    1. Thanks for visiting! Yeah, it was pretty rough. Our first attempt with DIY was not all nice and sweet like I was led to believe! Have a good one!

  3. Bahaha. I can totally picture everything in my head. I'm kinda glad I wasn't there for this move-in. I might have wanted to run away from the awkwardness and play Hermonie to Avery's Harry Potter under the stairs!

    So glad you made it through though, can't wait to see it in person :)

    Love you!

    1. Yeah, it was pretty awkward...we would have been better behaved if we had company. Isn't that awful?

  4. Emotionally draining in a GOOD way! I admire you, I adore you.

  5. Tyler "Amazing Brother" TuckerSeptember 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    took me all of 3 minutes to install our blinds....meridith wasnt home crazy bitch distractions....BOOM that just happened


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