Monday, July 28, 2008

A Brickyard Throwdown?

DIY isn’t for everybody. I’ll be the first person to admit that because sometimes, I don’t even think it’s for me.

Most people I know are complimentary of the work I do. They’re very supportive and encouraging. They decry their own abilities when it comes to doing similar things at their own homes. Truth is, I think most of them could do it if they really wanted or needed to. But, they neither need nor want to. It’s just not their thing. I respect that.

Some people, however, can be just plain rude. Last year, while painting the house, I came dangerously close to b*tch-slapping a former colleague whose contribution to a conversation I was having with another colleague about the project, was: “Can’t you just pay someone to do that?” And it was uttered in the snidest of tones.

I wanted to reply with an equally acidic response (pointing out the fact that not everyone makes what she does, and she has a second equally large source of income in her house, to boot) but bit my tongue. I instead calmly said that I don’t like to pay people to do things I can do myself. That leaves that much more in resources available to do other projects or to pay for having things done that are way out of my league. Because, that really is the truth.

Then, over the weekend, there were two more contrasting opinions. First, my neighbor’s girlfriend came over. “That’s looking great,” she said. “I know it’s a lot of work.” Later, as I was wrapping up, one of the “neighborhood walkers” as I call them offered me his two cents. “Kind of taking you a long time, isn’t it?”

The tone took me right back to last year’s slight. Yet, I remained polite. I agreed, acknowledging that masonry, after all, wasn’t my day job. (I mean except for putting up the fence, every minute of available time has gone into this project. Should I set up floodlights and work at night? Hmmmmm …. that’s an idea!)

“Then maybe you ought to let one do it.” His tone dripped with snideness and disdain.

Oh no he didn’t! Even if he thought I was doing the crappiest job he’d ever seen, he did not just say that to me. My dander was not only up, it was doing back-flips. This dude is spoilin' for a brickyard throwdown. (I’ve been wanting to use that word since Ann’s post last week!)
“Are you volunteering?” I asked. “Because if you are, I could use a mason’s help, though I’m sure my rates are a lot more reasonable. And if you aren’t volunteering, talk is cheap. Very cheap. Effort, now that costs a little more. So I’d put a little effort into continuing my walk.”
I don’t know where it came from. (I obviously stunned him. Hell, I stunned myself. ) The look on his face was priceless. He kind of harrumphed and resumed walking. I'd made my point with a limited amount of rudeness.

DIY isn’t pretty. It’s messy. It’s time-consuming. It’s costly. And it can be bad for your health if you put your two cents into the wrong project.

(Particularly if you deposit them in earshot of a feisty little woman who is burning up, exhausted and starving – and has an assortment of sharp handtools within easy reach. Not to mention hundreds of bricks.)


Anonymous said...

Wow - good for you! Those are the kinds of things I think of the next day (or, if I'm so irked that I never forget the comment, the next decade)!

Jayne said...

You GO, girl!! When I bought my house, a local lawyer said to me, "A girl doesn't buy a house like that without a man and a ladder." What?! Is this 1950?! And when I started ripping off the shingles, someone said, "Why don't you just pay some Mexicans to do that?" Niiiiice. But I could never think of a good comeback on the spot like you did!! Awesome!

MonkeyGirl said...

Now you have explained to the world why you are my hero! I am so proud of you. I'm not sure what I would have said but it wouldn't have been that eloquent.

Anonymous said...

Naw you di-uhn't!!! I applaud you for having the presence of mind to come up with that response! It always takes me at least 10 or 20 minutes to work up a decent enough comeback. Good for you!!

Ty'sMommy said...

Oh HELL no! Nope, no way. He's really lucky that he didn't say that to THIS italian girl. I'd have knocked him out! Its bad enough to be disdainful of people who take on their own projects, but to imply they aren't doing a good job? Kiss my white hiney, honey! You tell 'em!

Ann said...

Oh NO HE DI-INT! But he DID! And you had the words READY, right there! So you didn't have to lay in bed later that night for 3 hours thinking "Dang, I shoulda said this, I shoulda said that...that a$$wipe". You just whipped 'er out and threw 'er down! Man, there are some days when the right words just flow on out. He was rude, and you were NOT rude back - you merely said your piece and your peace. GEEZE! /rant

StuccoHouse said...

Lol...thanks for the chuckle. I've been pretty lucky in that the 6 yrs I've been working on my house I haven't had any truly crappy comments. Although, I'm sure plenty were thought behind my back.

The one's that make me snippy are the guys at the hardware store that pull the "this is a h-a-m-m-e-r" attitude. One day I will be an a really bad mood and they will pull that and feel my wrath :-)

NV said...

WoW! Thanks, everyone, for the overwhelming support. I really don't know where the words came from -- I'm just glad they did -- and without profanity. :-)

Jason & V -- Yes, this was one time I didn't lay in bed thinking "I should have said ..."

Jayne -- That lawyer would've probably sued me cuz I'd have blacked his eye.

MG -- ***AWWWWWWW****

Ann, Ty'smom, Stucco -- At least he gave me a good reason to use the word "throwdown ..." :-)

Why S? said...

I have a co-worker who's always complaining about his contractor. And then tells me how lucky I am to have someone who can do the work for free. That's what I want to hear from someone who makes twice my salary.

Good for you.

NV said...

Why -- I'm with ya! Even someone whom I really like posed the "Can't you pay someone to do that?" question today. HELLO, McFly! You're salary is bigger AND you're a two-income house. I'm not. Sheesh.