My husband is a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind of guy.
Because he has a knack for figuring things out himself (and because things like rocket science/engineering are genetically programmed into his DNA), whenever something needs fixing at home, he nominates himself to fix it.
I have learned that our home is not a democracy.
Our marriage has spanned the gamut of things gone wrong, parts burnt out and appliances gasping their last.
Why, just in the last calendar year we have reckoned with the dishwasher, water heater, washing machine, refrigerator, well pump, dryer, internal plumbing (including leaks in pipes deep in the walls which leaked across multiple rooms), the second refrigerator out in the smoke house out back (don’t ask, just bring a cigar/pull up a chair), the fuse box, HVAC unit, a handful of beloved toddlers’ electronic devices, two cell phones, a minivan and a partridge in a pear tree.
I do believe the only thing to bite the dust this year that he didn’t blink an eye at was my hair dryer. A great flash caught my eye when a spark departed the inner chamber from the coils of the dryer and shot straight at my hair last week. Alarmed, I called my resident DIY-er to seek advice. “Nah, should be fine until you’re done,” the expert assured me.
I wound up going to work damp-dry after the faulty device dragoned me with one last breath of fire just to spite our resident expert. May you never have to smell burning hair…
I think it was the very first time he told me to go ahead and throw something away. He replaced it within 24 hours with a brand, spankin-new, pink hair dryer. I’ve been blessed not to have breast cancer and I dig my new, pink dryer.
So, how hard was that? And how many other things that break could we have saved the hassle, time and energy had we just simply replaced them?
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE to save a buck wherever possible, I use coupons when I can and shop sales. And I’m all for rehabilitating something if it’s worth it.
But when my husband rolls up his sleeves to get into a project that he believes he can “save us money” on by doing it himself, I have begun to question the cost-savings differential. Something’s just rotten in Denmark…
I have seriously considered the possibility of my next degree being an MBA, going so far as to choose the courses I would take at the university of my choice. But until then, here’s my crude breakdown:
Doing It Yourself, Time/Energy/Resources Spent:
- Taking it apart
- Gathering appropriate tools
- Consulting the internet, technical manuals and calling knowledgeable neighbors/friends
- Trying to fix the problem
- Discovering you don’t have the right tool for the right procedure
- Calling in to work to ask to use a chunk of off-time that now can’t be used if kid gets flu
- Calling parts stores, neighbors/friends et. al. within 50 mile radius
- Driving to parts stores, neighbors/friends et. al. within 50 mile radius to obtain necessary tools
- Returning to project and discovering something else is needed
- Repeat last three steps
- Determining that it can either be fixed or needs to be replaced altogether
- Taking steps to accomplish the step before this one (note: replacement involves an entirely similar process involving the last five steps, at a minimum)
- Restoring the offending item back into its original (broken or working) condition
- If now working, doing a test-run
- Not included are the toll it takes on family to rearrange schedules, disappointed family members & friends when events must be cancelled and the toll of suddenly becoming a single parent. And the other scheduled projects that desperately needed attention which are now, yet again, postponed.
- Not to mention the live version of the “Christmas Story” scene of the dad cussing out the hot water heater which regales almost every DIY project, without fail (rigga-frigga-fragga-shrapnel-ruggu-frugga-frack!) (Excuse me?).
Remotely watching the unbudgeted debits rack up via online banking today while the rest of the family’s day got derailed due to an unscheduled DIY project, I can assure you that the cost fully outweighed the benefits.
I welcome any reader to change my mind on this, but I’m convinced that unless it’s something truly cost-effective that you can bet your spreadsheet on, it just may pay to let somebody else do it…somebody with the right tools, somebody who can take care of it quickly with minimal interruption to the family needs.
Somebody – depending on how much they charge – who comes with a warranty so if it fails again, you’re just a phone call from a repair.
I love and respect my husband and admire his abilities, but I love and respect his time with me and the children. I enjoy my sanity, as well.
Wait, I forgot to factor in the cost of PRIDE.
Post-editing post script: A few days out, I can say I am SO glad I didn’t have to wait for the mechanic Monday morning to fit us in during the week, arrange for a loaner vehicle or courtesy ride, and everything was status quo come school and work schedules Monday morning.
So, who needs to adjust their thinking/doing, he or I? What cost more, my angst in losing him to a project or him losing me to my angst?
Ahhhh, the challenges and joys of marriage!
May we all learn to “be still and know that He is God…”