There's nothing quite like waking up early on a Monday morning after a long weekend of nearly non-stop and labor intensive DIY work, back aching, hands sore, exhausted and trying to figure out if it's all some sort of a cruel dream and it's actually Saturday, or if the weekend is actually over, if it's actually Monday morning, actually time to go back to work, unfortunately the start of a new work week.

A quick mental check of the holidays occurs in a last ditch effort to avoid the day's responsibilities. My groggy inner dialog struggles to acquire a grasp on the fine line between real life cognition and the relaxed state of REM sleep it just departed. "President's Day? Nope, too warm out. Fourth of July? Nope, just had that. Labor Day? Wait, is it? Ahh crap, that's next week."

As I begrudgingly dragged my tired body from the bed I thought back on all I had accomplished over the weekend, which competed at the forefront of my mind with thoughts of feeble frailty as my stiff feet hit the ground feeling like brittle glass, an agonizing reminder that I'm not the 25 year old kid that bought this fixer upper more than a decade earlier. Coaxing my not-a-spring-chicken body into the vertical and upright position I gingerly waddled towards the shower, knocking the cobwebs from my brain as I started to plan out my day.

Shower, bus to work, work on a blog post on the way into the office. I usually write better in the morning after a restful night's sleep, but not this morning, too tired, too lazy, too old. When I get into the office I'm met with the usual, meeting, meeting, meeting, lunch at the food trucks...

...a vegan tofu based sloppy joe on this fine day...then a meeting, another meeting... and a meeting...grrrr. Once free from the shackles of my day job I hop the bus on the way back home and start thinking about all I'd like to accomplish in the evening. Mentally arranging my to do list I'm like a little kid who is planning the order in which he'll eat the bounty of candy after a successful trick or treating venture, ready to devour the entire bucket, but knowing full well his stomach is far too small for all of his plans.

After all, the path to DIY dreams is often laid with the best intentions, but execution requires equal parts energy and motivation, both often lacking on a day following a weekend DIY bender. But the night's activities don't derail immediately, instead they unravel, slowly, like one of Weezer's I walk away.

By 5:30 or 6:00, fresh off the bus I'm typically somewhat reenergized due to my infant-like tendency to succumb to the droning vibrations of the large diesel engines. Though my mouth often gapes open, my head repeatedly nods back to front and side to side like a loose bobblehead, and I've been known to drool on my arm once or twice, it's a productive period of the day where I grab just enough of a nap to make myself feel nauseous and uncoordinated.

Really, it's not until I get into the house that I make my first significant misstep that begins to unravel any plans of actual of effective home improvement progress. I walk in the door and I'm greeted by a bouncing and spastic puppy, my world is my oyster, I can accomplish anything, even the to do list I've formulated in my head that most mere mortals would require a team of people to complete.

At this point in my daily choose-your-own-adventure of life I have two options.

1. Put down my backpack, kiss my lovely wife, head upstairs to change, and get started on the first item in my list.


2. Put down my backpack, kiss my lovely wife, complain a bit about my day, grab dinner, sit down on the couch, turn on something recorded on TV (Dexter, Newsroom, Ray Donovan, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, or Arrested Development of late), and derail any chance of accomplishing anything before roughly 8:00.

Wait, what's that Wendy? Maybe we should open a bottle of wine? Make that 9:00, maybe 9:45.

At some point between the 7:38-8:17 timeframe on any given evening where the thought of tremendous renovation progress was an automatic at about 4:30, reason, exhaustion, laziness, and general ennui take over in the internal tug of war pitting the scrappy but undersized physical stature of "progress" against the hefty and hulking frame of "preference."

Where many have a little devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, debating the decisions one makes based on morality vs. desire, I simply have two devils. One holds a hammer and cordless drill, the other a TV remote and an iPhone.

At some point between the end of the first glass of wine and my rediscovery of, I faintly hear the scream of bathroom progress slowly being abducted by the devil with the iPhone and TV remote. Unsure if the noise I heard was a person walking by the front of the house, or the sound of my potentially productive evening being ripped away by my own laziness, I chalk it up to living in a creaky old house and watch the next video of a dad getting kicked in the junk by an angry ostrich.

In a final and frantic moment of attempted evening salvage I turn off the TV program I'm watching with the intention of leaping up from the couch, marching upstairs, and taking on the next major task in the project with the gusto of...wait, what's that? A new episode of American Ninja Warrior...holy crap, how did that woman possibly hang onto those chains while falling on a zip line and bouncing off of the trampoline onto the vertical wall that she somehow scaled like spiderman? 

Oh, I have to watch this! And I also have to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies!!!

Disappointed with myself for allowing an evening with the potential for greatness to slip away into the depths of low quality television programming, wine, and baked goods, and disgusted with my inability to overcome my DIY demons, I hoist myself from my throne of laziness to at least make something of the night before turning into bed. My initial plans of somehow completing a massive renovation effort in a single night may have been foolishly aggressive, but surely there's something I can do to make the night a worthwhile period rather than a squandered opportunity for much needed progress.

Ah ha! I thought of two items I could accomplish to make myself feel like just slightly less of a waste of space. Both tasks that would take no more than an hour, both necessary items, and both something I've been putting off for some time. Perfect! Operation "don't totally screw up the night" was underway!

First I grabbed some sandpaper and our bottle of mineral oil and wax to rejuvenate our rough and graying wood counter tops. There ain't no rest for the weary, and these counters have needed a coat of oil/wax for the last week, so it was high time to check that off the list.

After about an hour I had covered all of our counter surfaces with a thick coating of slippery goodness and allowed it to begin the overnight dry. Half way to successful completion of my two items, I retreated into the dungeon like basement in an attempt to locate a few, ahem, misplaced supplies I'd need for a project in a few nights.

Yes, task two required me to navigate the disaster area that is our basement, which has transformed into a holding pen for master bathroom supplies and discards. It's difficult to navigate without tripping or falling on something that has been precariously placed in a temporary manner, but I was looking for a piece of plumbing that I knew we owned, but had no idea where I last placed it.

During my adventure that resembled Dr. Jones' search for the Holy Grail more than it did an attempt to find a single plumbing part, I navigated the labyrinth of booby trapped catacombs of our home's basement. At several points I found myself balancing boxes on my head while holding items in either hand and craning my neck to see if the item I was trying to locate was somewhere *just* around the corner. Each new search location was surely meant to test my mettle, to see if I was worthy of finding the elusive piece of plumbing.

Along the way I discovered several boxes of items long forgotten, stacked at the far reaches of our packed basement. For example, this box of parts intended to some day build a replica of Darth Vader's Return of the Jedi style lightsaber. Perhaps I'll work on that project after I've finished up all of our house projects...when I'm nearly 100 years old.

After finally locating the plumbing part I was searching for I realized it wasn't what I had remembered and wouldn't actually work, so I went ahead and ordered a new one from Amazon. But I never would have known if I hadn't gone on my basement quest.

Feeling as if I had accomplished at least something significant for the evening, I turned into bed for the night with thoughts of to do lists in the days that lay ahead, ready and willing to make a more effective use of the coming days. But only time will tell which little shoulder devil will win out in the next duel of power tools vs. laptops, how tired I'll feel by the end of the day, or just how amazing the Access Hollywood recap of the previous night's meaningless Hollywood awards show actually is, as all of these things can easily derail an otherwise potentially productive few hours.

Do you run into this constant struggle of progress vs. preference? Are you constantly distracted from your to do lists by mysterious outside forces, or are you better than the rest of us and are able to turn into a contributing member of the DIY community? Let us know your foibles so we can commiserate, or your tips for success so that we can congratulate you while harboring equal parts jealousy and contempt.

Comments 8


Melissa Cherico
8/27/2013 at 12:05 PM
You should take comfort in that you accomplish more than most do day-to-day! I accomplish nothing after work, and spend my weekends saying "Work was so stressful this week, relax and recuperate this weekend" :-)
8/27/2013 at 2:05 PM
Cookies are never a waste of a night, and I now need to incorporate DIY Bender into my daily vocabulary - that phrase may have the power to single-handedly explain my state of being to my befuddled relatives . . .
8/27/2013 at 2:54 PM
OR you could get home from work at 7, sit on the sofa with a glass of cider (just to relax a minute) before walking the dog and making dinner. Then fall deeply and uncomfortably asleep on said sofa without accomplishing even the simplest tasks of tending to your families needs, much less finishing painting the half painted kitchen cabinets. OR even moving the ladder and paint supplies from the middle of the kitchen.
8/27/2013 at 4:31 PM
Gah! I can SO relate to this. Such energy and good intentions in the hour leading up to end of work day...then if I get home and sit down with a glass of wine, dinner, and a tv show...that energy magically dissipates. Le sigh..
8/27/2013 at 8:54 PM
Totally can relate. I spent countless evenings this winter and spring vegging on the sofa with tea and knitting (or my Kindle) instead of working on my son's marching band scrapbook. Finally working on it tonight, now that the new season has started. Still have to order the photos from the indoor percussion season that ended in May :-/ But hubby and I managed to restring our patio umbrella this weekend ... $15 for the replacement cord and the worst directions ever. Took us a couple hours, but the umbrella is fixed and we're still married :-D
8/28/2013 at 10:10 AM

;) jk

This is me most Tuesday-Thursday evenings. Monday's I'm still running on that "just one more thing" high from the weekend. Tuesday? Crash and burn. Last night I spent 20 minutes taping off what should have only taken 5 minutes to tape off. And then I decided to go out to dinner. And then ice cream. Now I feel fat & lazy. Oh wait. I am. haha!

It happens all the time but I think it's actually pretty healthy. You can't GO GO GO GO GO all day, every day. Gots to recharge before getting back to it. It's just the rhythm of game.
8/28/2013 at 3:32 PM
I think you love word “actually”…Yeah, sounds cool ‘disaster area and catacombs of home basement’. I advise you to start writing books! You perfectly describe details and not many people are able to write so ;) Answering your question. Yes, I have such periods in my life, I call them ‘burning brain’, just go away for a while(if possible), have something like 10-15 minutes of complete silence(like in Japan) every day and you’ll be fine.
8/28/2013 at 7:58 PM
One of the reasons I think my husband and I aren't any further along on our journey to finish our beloved weekend money pit is that we tend to do a DIY job and then stand back and pat ourselves on the backs over and over. And over. The self-congratulations really do cut into our DIY time, lol. If we had your drive, Alex, we'd be nearly done. Don't be so hard on yourself. You and Wendy are an inspiration!
Since you've not signed in yet, you will need to fill in your name and email below. If you have a Facebook account, save yourself a step and use Connect to login.

Denotes a required field.

Please enter full URL, including http://

You can use Markdown syntax in your comment. And you can also use lots of Emoji!
  • Search

  • Login
  • Follow
  • Advertising

If you're looking for information on advertising and sponsorships, head on over to our sponsorships page. You can purchase site sponsorships in a few easy clicks. 

Toolbox Tuesday
Open Housing
  • We're Featured!

Old Town Home has been featured in the following places and publications:

The Washington Post
Washingtonian Magazine
Old House Journal
Apartment Therapy House Tour
Washington Post Express Feature
Home & Garden Blogs
© 2024 - Privacy Policy
Login Below
Sign in with Facebook

Unexpected Error

Your submission caused an unexpected error. You can try your request again, but if you continue to experience problems, please contact the administrator.