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.)