As noted several times, I have my fair share of home improvement projects to do and have done many more. I have learned a few things about myself; chief among them, I hate home improvement. If you are like me, but don’t yet realize it, keep reading and maybe you can question if you want that particular improvement bad enough.
I am not talking about the improvement that involves a single trip to any given store and an afternoon of a little elbow grease. I am talking about the days, weeks, months of dedication to a particular project. This is the project going on while you are in the house, living and working. This is the project that is going to try your patience. This is the project that may kill you. Or the workers (by virtue of them pushing you into a murderous rage).
Reason 10: You are tied to your house until the project is done, especially if others are actually doing the work. **Sanity tip** have a day of the week that your house is not available for work to be done above and beyond the weekend.
Reason 9: The project will get in your way no matter what you try. There will be tools, dust, parts and pieces everywhere (good luck getting the workers to clean up after themselves. You may need to be “that customer” to make it happen, but it is possible.) **Sanity tip**Make a living space that the workers are not allowed to invade for any reason. If they must invade that space to do the work, make them make you a new space prior to giving up any part of the old space. (Being “that customer” can come in handy here as well)
Reason 8: You become that person you always hear about, but always judged, thinking “I would never do that or say that.” If you are lucky, you can at least keep calm enough to let your dismay be known, but not have a screaming fit on the phone when they call to give the latest lame excuse about something not being quite right. **Sanity tip** have someone who you can call to tell about your stupid problems and laugh about them. Laugh a lot. Wine helps too.
Reason 7: Time means nothing to people who are working on your house. Take the time the head worker bee estimates, double it, then laugh in his face when he extends that time after each passed deadline. ** Sanity tip** Take the estimated time, throw it out the window then refuse to pay until certain physical milestones are passed and always leave a significant amount of money to SATISFACTORY completion of the job. The lack of money on their end is the only motivation they have to get the heck out of your house.
Reason 6: They will make noise. They will make a lot more noise than you think they will. **Sanity tip** Ear plugs. Wine is good too – but ear plugs are important.
Reason 5: It will sound like they are going to destroy something that is important to you. **Sanity tip** Much like the ingredients of a hot dog, sometimes it is better not to know. Unless it sounded like a body hit the floor, don’t go look. They will tell you if something is actually broken. Or you will find it later. But if they can fix it before you see it, it is better to just not know.
Reason 4: They will break things. ** Sanity tip** Let them know which things are off limits to their filthy little paws. Grandma’s china? Put it in a closet. Family pictures? threaten life. Accept that some things are going to get bumped and fall – just make sure the things that are really important aren’t in the way of being fallen on. When/if things are broken, insist they replace them immediately (it makes it less likely to have future broken things).
Reason 3: It will cost more than you think. Even with the firm estimates not to go over this price – there will be something. It could be the need for another specialist, maybe different parts to make it better, maybe something has to be purchased twice, maybe it is the need for more wine, who knows – but it will cost more. I promise. **Sanity tip** Remember your budget. Add to it when it really does make sense and when it actually is necessary. Don’t add to it just because some knucklehead thinks you should. Question every purchase and be tight w/ those purse strings.
Reason 2: You will be told it is done except “a few tiny things”. **Sanity tip** Translation, it isn’t done. Don’t give in and pay until “satisfactory” part is also complete.
Reason 1: When the project is done (really, really done), will you really be happy enough to justify all of the above? If the answer is yes, proceed. Proceed with caution, but go. Then go to the store and buy more wine. You will need it. If the answer is maybe or no – you can still have the wine, but save the headaches, heartaches and general grumpy lifestyle and go on a cruise instead.
Do you have any other advice to offer the
poor suckers home improvement shoppers out there?