what to do BEFORE tackling any DIY projects

hammerQueue drumroll (preferably played by Animal of the Muppets). Here is the exciting news I hinted at in the last post:

My new humor book, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness is officially coming out in TWO DAYS. So, this Wednesday, July 18. This groundbreaking guide is my first book, very much inspired by the home tome, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about how it came out. To kick off what portends to be a whirlwind week, celebrating The Book Launch, I present a short excerpt, below. I trust that you will find this, like so many sections of the book, to be “extremely helpful.” Quotes very much intended. Enjoy!

Before Tackling Any DIY Projects

It’s admirable to roll up your sleeves and tackle projects around the house with which you have absolutely no experience and for which you have even less aptitude. In theory, “doing it yourself” is cost-effective and enriching. In practice, it is often a disaster and extremely dangerous. Remember that many of the roads leading to homeowner’s hell are paved with good intentions.

If, despite your better judgment, you are determined to take a DIY approach, even though you’d be wise to hire it out, at least do the following:

• Count your fingers, so you know exactly how many you had before starting the project.

• Put 911 on speed dial.

• Pray.

• Wear a hard hat even if you don’t think its necessary: you never know what could happen when sewing curtains, sanding a chair, or re-potting a plant.

• DIY a holster for your fire extinguisher so that it can be attached to your belt at all times.

• Hire a large corporate consulting firm to conduct a thorough cost and risk analysis. (In case you’re unsure where to find this type of organization, one of the more reputable companies in this business is, I Told You So, Inc.)

• Take a photograph of the project in the “before” stage so that you can show this to the professional contractor when he or she comes to fix the mess you made.


I know there are a lot of seasoned DIY-ers out there – any advice YOU can contribute?

And, with this post, we bid adieu to HIMP Month – it’s been a wild ride. Actually, it hasn’t been that wild or a ride (and it’s been way longer than a month), but it has been fun. Thank you to our guest bloggers: Tori, from The Ramblings, Leena from Bye Bye Brooklyn and Suzanne from Inspire; to breathe. Thanks also to all you readers and commenters for contributing your two cents and, most importantly, for taking a moment to hug your house.

Next up: De-sigh-n Month! Stay tuned for more info on The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness and how you can help one appreciative author (me) become an Amazon Bestseller THIS COMING WEDNESDAY. In the mean time, if the suspense is killing you…here is the book’s website, designed by my favorite artist, illustrator, technical guru and husband extraordinaire (thanks Rob!): www.homeownersguidetogreatness.com.

21 replies

    • ha ha! Good advice! Stressed? Me? No, never….(3.5 hours of sleep per night is normal right?)

      Thanks so much! To be read in a very angelic voice: “If I can help just one homeowner along the way…ha!” Just kidding – I’m really just hoping to make a few (million) people chuckle 🙂

  1. How exciting!! I can’t wait to read it. Clearing off a spot on my book shelf as we speak!

    And thanks for letting me join in fun of HIMP month. I hope there were many hugged homes. 🙂

  2. I left the house for work this morning after a weekend of one failed project after the next and our 12th day straight of RAIN! I felt beat up as I opened the door to make my way to another kind of work, when I looked out in the courtyard landscape and saw 3 little mushrooms just happily growing in the soaking wet ground. It made me think of you and all the hilarious stories you have in regard to owning a home and I just began laughing. I took a picture and giggled at those mushrooms and the thoughts of all we’ve been through in this damn house. Then to open my reader and see THIS was just icing on the cake. Congrats, Jocelyn! I’m so excited for you and (and Rob) and I can’t wait to get my very own copy. No doubt, it will keep me laughing and feeling like 12 days of rain and failed projects is just part of the fun and excitement of being a homeowner!
    All the best with this book… it will no double be a best seller!!!

    • ha! Mushrooms! It has been too dry here for any to pop up, so I am glad to hear they are bringing a little joy in TX! I really do think they are symbolic of the Unexpected and Random and Weird in life, so it’s a good thing you saw them, acknowledged them, documented them. Well done.

      Sorry to hear your housey projects weren’t cooperating this weekend, but I trust that you will work them out – just put on a little Morrissey, sit in that excellent Eames chair, and gaze at your mushroom pictures…and trust that some new solutions will come to you…:) (That right there could be the foundation of a new religion, me thinks)

      Thanks for the well wishes on the book. Am really pumped about it and can’t believe the launch is finally here!

  3. LOL! This was hilarious! And so applicable. I have no advice. Usually the 9/11 would apply to me. I will say this forever, DIY-ing is harder than it looks (at times). It’s great when you get it all done but sometimes the during process is painful and you sit there going “But so and so did it on their blog and it doesn’t look like this?” Then you just go find some wine.

    • I know, I think that with DIY-ing you have to expect the unexpected (and the unexpected is usually worse rather than better) and work verrrrrry carefully. And yes, when the (paint) chips are down, vino is key. BUT ALERT! Don’t drink and DIY – I should have put that in there 🙂 Cheers! 🙂

    • Oh my! Thanks for sharing that DIY tale of woah. That is scary! I love the “fireworks on my own ceiling” line. I think it’s such a balance: you can’t be so nervous and by-the-book that you never get started with a project, but you also can’t be a bull in a china shop about it either – I personally have never found that balance – I just ping pong between both. Mistakes get made, some of them get fixed and hopefully we don’t get too injured along the way.

      BTW – that earthquake was so weird – it was very subtle here in NY but we definitely felt it – Rob and I were sitting in a coffee shop.

      And the hurricane – that was pretty much the scariest 48 hours of my life – thankfully we got off very lucky, but wow, the suspense and the anxiety! Of course, there’s a section about preparing for a hurricane in the book (ALL hyperbole). 🙂

  4. O’ the DIY projects are endless. I have learned the hard way that I CAN NOT paint(or spray paint)anything I want just because I think it would look better. And, staining is harder than it looks…even if you compared 1,000 shades of color and got a perfect match you will be left wondering…how did cherry maple get so brown? Yet, I continue to venture.

  5. You had me at, “drumroll by Animal of the Muppets” – my favourite drummer ever, for sure. Congratulations on the book 🙂

  6. you are WRITTEN! congratulations! what an accomplishment. i wish you all the best of things and more to be published in the future. 911 duly noted. can’t wait to learn more (maybe one day i’ll be a home owner too!).

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