All Work and No Play

So I've been having this internal (and occasionally external) debate lately on whether it is better/easier/more rewarding to do all the work on our house by ourselves or to hire someone and have the time we would have spent on the project to just play.  For the last 2 years, it has been all work and no play.  Literally.  We love doing DIY projects, working side-by-side and learning things along the way, but I can't remember a weekend where we weren't doing that.  We have spent so much time fixing it up that we haven't taken the time to enjoy it.  

Before our son came along, it was easy to spend an entire weekend painting every room in the house or installing a new walkway, because we were doing it together.  But now we want to spend the time together as a family.  If we want to complete a project (like the basement, for instance), one of us has to watch him while the other does work....and vice versa.  Not only do we miss out on that time with each other or as a family, but it also takes 10 times longer.  I know it should probably just be twice as long (I tend to exaggerate for effect), but I feel like we motivated one another to get stuff done when we were side-by-side.  Things just seemed to get done so much faster. 

It's just not as much fun as it used to be either.  Pace is #1 (of course) and I have found myself doing the unimaginable (well...at least unimaginable as of 2 years ago).....calling to get quotes for our upcoming projects (lawn care, trim painting, etc.).  Now I'm not saying that we are going to give up on DIY completely, I think we are just going to tone it down a little.  Whereas we used to jump at a new project possibility, we might stop and think about our options before doing that in the future.  Just the big projects....I think. 

Does anyone else feel this way about DIY??  I have to say I am a bit disappointed in myself for even thinking any of this, let alone writing it, but its the truth.  I am just as surprised as you are.  And maybe its just a temporary thing.  B has been traveling a lot lately (and I mean a lot.....like the last 5 weeks!!!) and being home alone has really got me thinking about all of our outstanding projects.  I really thought I could make a dent in them while he was away (ha!), but its so much harder than I thought to be productive with a crawling/teething/active/wonderful/curious/nosy 8-month old.  Maybe I'll get the hang of it soon though.....right as he starts to learn how to walk.

Surprisingly I have actually managed to do some spring-cleaning/organizing throughout the house in the last few weeks, so I'm slowing whittling (sp?) away at our long to-do list for 2012 (which I'm not sure I even talked about yet).  

Well, in case I didn't, here is a quick run-down:

  1. Tile the basement bathroom shower
  2. Install the vanity and light fixture in the bathroom
  3. Caulk and fill nail holes in molding
  4. Paint trim and doors in basement
  5. Touch-up some molding and trim in the kitchen (it contracted in the winter and there are a few cracks here and there.....which probably are unnoticeable to anyone other than me)
  6. Paint/touch-up railings on the deck (note to self: never let B paint anything)
  7. Plant some shrubs and perennials around the base of the deck and the basement door
  8. Add some life to the deck (rug, lanterns, potted plants, etc....hopefully very inexpensively!)
  9. Replace trim on the house that is rotting/slit/broken.  
  10. Paint the trim on the house white (this might be a hire-able job since I'm nervous to have me or B or ANYONE I know up on a ladder 3 stories high painting the trim in the back of the house...EEEK!!!!)
  11. Paint the garage doors black - I have wanted to do this since we moved in!
  12. Decorate the basement with some DIY artwork projects (I saw this whale blueprint at an adorable store in St. John a few weeks ago and I can't get it out of my head.  It was $600 and shipping would have been $500 on top of that, so there was no way we could ever buy it.  Hopefully I can re-create it though!!)
  13. DIY a curtain for the kitchen sink window.....it looks so bare.  Maybe just a little tailored box-pleat one.  Seems easy enough.
  14. DIY a new bench seat cushion for the entryway - found someone on etsy that will do it for $175 but I think I can make it for a LOT cheaper!
  15. Find a used project-height table and make it into a desk for the basement office.  Could be regular desk height, but I like the higher ones for doing any hand-made things (calligraphy, drawing, sketching, etc.).  
  16. Refinish some side tables that I found on the side of the road (pictures to come soon).
  17. Re-paint an adirondack chair for the deck......it needs a little love!!
Hmm...I could go on and on, but seeing/writing it all makes my heart rate soar, so I'll leave it at that for now.  So as you can see from my list, I definitely don't want to give up the DIY in our lives, I just want to tone it down a little.   Call in some reinforcements when necessary.   Have any of you guys done that?  Did you regret it?  Wish you had soldiered on and finished it yourself?  Was it worth the money to have the free time???  I doubt I'm the only that has felt this way, but for some reason, I feel like that right now.  Any thoughts are more than welcome.

Until next time...


  1. Granted, I cook and bake things while you paint and build things, but I totally hear you about hiring out work. I feel like I'm cheating because I buy my bread and rarely bake my own. If I'm buying a locally-made product, or, in your case, hiring someone local to help with the projects, it's about supporting local businesses.

    By the way, I have a friend who is a lawyer, blogger and mommy, and she somehow manages to bake her own bread and cultivate her own yogurt every week. Every week! I just don't know how some people have the time to do these things. Just no clue.

    1. You know, give yourself a vacation from major projects for awhile! Decide which things can wait 6 months to a year, pick a couple that you can do and if there's anything that can't wait, hire some of them out. Looking at your list - the bathroom tile would be worth having someone do, and I agree about the house trim - but lots of these could be fun projects if you didn't have the whole list to worry about.

      When my husband and I start a project, some times we think, "Oh this will take us 3 weeks" and 6 months later, there are still things that need to be done, but we've learned to be less hard on ourselves and take time out to do things together (the kind of things where we're not fighting, that is!) and the project still gets done eventually. In fact, we've just finished the bathroom (we thought a one month project, 6 months later we're done!) and already we're planning the kitchen reno. Which will take forever at the rate we've been working later, but just getting resigned to the idea that we have to live with dust and reno mess for a little longer, while still going on a date night or taking the day off to watch trash tv all day -- it takes off so much pressure!