It's once again that fateful day of the year. April 1 gives rise to hopes of spring, baseball's opening day, and a welcome feeling of warm mornings where we no longer must don our hats and gloves to venture outdoors. 

But beyond the traditional rite of spring the beginning of this new month brings, it also gives an annual nod to a tomfoolery based tradition that's been around for more than 500 years. Today, as the Internets are buzzing with false headlines, fake offerings, misleading news stories, pranks, and jokes, all in the name of fools, we want to take a slightly different approach to our celebration of the event.

In previous years we've woven tall tales of how we were selling our home and moving to new construction, or we had hired someone to come in and finish our master bathroom, only to reveal in our closing paragraph that we were attempting to pull a good natured virtual "fast one" on you. The thing is, we posted that bathroom April Fools blog post with the intention of actually wrapping up the bathroom in that calendar year, so I guess we were the real fools in that prank.

This year, as I wracked my brain to come up with a good little prank we could pull, many different ideas ran through my head, but each one ended with the same mental conclusion of, "LAME!" All of my thoughts were likely already done, previously conceived, or just plain ignored due to stupidity or absurd complexity. As I tried unsuccessfully to create a scenario believable enough that people might be lulled into feeling its authenticity yet shocked that it was occurring, I realized something important. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could realistically trump the foolishness of the history of our own endeavors?

This year, rather than lead you astray with another tall tale, I want to take a moment to celebrate and simply pay tribute to the fools of the world we're celebrating today. More specifically, to the DIY fools that share our passion for unadulterated misery in the name of cost consciousness and achieving a successfully created project with one's own two hands! We'll do this by giving you a run down of our top five most foolish DIY related moments since we decided, "hey, let's buy a fixer upper house that's over 100 years old with little money saved for a renovation. Oh, and let's go ahead and do everything ourselves...that'll be great!"

5. We bought our house and had no idea what we were doing!

This, quite possibly, could be our single biggest foolish item in our lives, but I'm going to go ahead and start off our list with this as it has paved the way for most other aspects of our decade plus long journey of foolishness.

We were young, 24-25 year old baby faced newlyweds with our adult lives ahead of us. We were riding the euphoric high of the American dream: graduate from college, get good jobs, get married, buy a house... Buy a house. Hrm, what to do? Our parents built new houses in the suburbs, we'd never live in an old house that required maintenance (hell, we'd barely even watched This Old House), but we were "handy." Not handy in the sense that we really knew what we were doing, but handy in the sense that I had worked construction for a few summers in college and Wendy and I had refinished a whopping two furniture pieces. So why not make the single largest foolish move of our lives, throw caution to the wind, and buy ourselves a 19th century home in the heart of a newly beloved (to us) historic district? What could go wrong? Nothing? Everything? We wouldn't know until we tried.

Wendy walking into the house for the first time.

The lessons this foolish venture has taught us about ourselves, hard work, perseverance, and our own personal ability to accomplish things we felt we were not capable of have been the ultimate rewards of our leap. But the cruel truth is that we're nowhere near the finish line. At this point we know we haven't killed each other, so it must be going okay. But the omen during our home inspection of a VW Beetle parked in front of our future home wrapped in a logo that read "MortgageFool," yeah, we'll go ahead and ignore that omen.

4. At some point we decided that we can pretty much do anything on our own.

There was a turning point somewhere around the three or four year mark in our DIY efforts where we suddenly transformed from logical people that call in outside experts when they're needed, to crazy people who see something exceedingly hard or time consuming and think, "hey, we can do that ourselves...Right?" Much of this transformation surrounded the catastrophe that involved the pit of despair that your kitchen became when we discovered significant termite damage, and was brought to a head when we completed the related work that included replacing our siding and hanging copper gutters.

Somehow this experience transformed our very fiber to a couple of people who no longer allow reasonable expectations to hinder our headlong run into the somewhat immovable wall of allowable time and budget. Now, regardless of the perceived complexity of any given project, I can't help but enter immediately into the planning and execution phase of it, but even that aspect of the project is clouded by the completed vision, which can easily be months or years beyond where one should reasonably expect it to be. What I'm saying is that we're the fools that plan to do a project in a week but it actually takes two years...but damn does it look good in the end.

3. We don't want to do anything half way, but we feel like we can never finish.

I love baseball movies of almost any kind. Major League, 61*, The Natural, 42, The Sandlot, Eight Men Out, A League of Their Own, all classics! I'm so obsessed that I was Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn for Halloween one year. I sourced and customized a 20 year old Indians jersey, made myself skull and crossbones horned rimmed glasses, and even asked Wendy to shave the triangles into my hair! My point is, I went all out.

There's a line in A League of Their Own own where Tom Hanks character, Jimmy Dugan, says "Anything worth doin' is worth doin' right!" For some reason, despite its absurdity in the movie, this line has stuck with me ever since. Not only do I love this quote, as it turns out, I sort of live by this quote. Over the years I've watched myself transform from a mild mannered tinkerer to a tortured perfectionist unable to overlook the mistakes and blemishes I undoubtedly leave behind on each and every project. Each aspect of DIY leaves us continually learning and improving our skills and how we execute on future projects.

The only problem with this? It sometimes means that each successive project takes far longer to execute. This is where foolishness enters the fray. When friends and family see us endlessly toiling away on an aspect of a project that nobody but ourselves will see or notice they question our sanity. We fixate so much on the minor details of a project and completing everything as well as we can that we end up with parts of the project that linger on for years. Just ask the backs of our upper closet doors that need another coat of paint, the windows that need to be restored that are waiting on storm windows, or the bathtub that's been in the basement for over 10 years now. Go ahead, ask them, they'll all tell you crazy stories, I'm sure.

2. We routinely break our cardinal rule of "one project at a time."

They say "rules are made to be broken," but that really shouldn't be the case when the rule is in place to keep your sanity intact. Early on in our DIY process we were told by many an experienced renovator, "Do one project at a time!" We gladly accepted this as an absolute rule to follow and intended on seeing this golden rule of DIY through to completion on every single project...then we started our first project.

I can't be certain, but I'm rather sure we actually broke this golden rule in our first 24 hours in the house. Before we knew it the kitchen was torn apart and there was paint being stripped on our stairs, three rooms away.

The risk of multiple projects is that creeping feeling of foolish overwhelm that will envelop your soul. Before you know it one becomes two, two becomes three, and three becomes an ongoing bathroom renovation while doing a "quick" overhaul of your kitchen while also building storm windows while also restoring furniture for a home tour that you've foolishly agreed to. You see what I'm getting at?

What I'm saying is, it's a nice rule in theory, but a foolish rule to the fools.

1. We just didn't feel busy enough so we decided to start a blog about all of our foolishness!

Starting a blog was on our to do list, or at least my to do list, for many years. I wanted to share our experience with friends and family, I wanted to share the knowledge we were gaining with others in a similar situation, and I wanted to interact with other people who had an interest in the type of foolish adventure we were undertaking. But the time required to configure, write, photograph, and maintain a blog was fleeting for quite a while. When we finally opted to jump into the blogging waters in 2011, we jumped in with both feet and didn't look back.

It may have been one of our most foolish endeavors when it comes to finishing our DIY home projects in a timely fashion, and one that I'm sure we'll regret in this capacity when we're old and gray, still trying to finish our damn bathroom. But these two fools have had their lives enriched through running and writing for this blog. We've met so many people and have had so many wonderful opportunities to interact with others (either virtually or in the flesh) that it would be foolish if we were to try to give it back. We'll have our blogging ups and downs, I'm sure, but one thing is for absolutely certain, we hope you enjoy us as much as we enjoy you, and we hope you appreciate our foolishness and commitment to maintain a foolhardy dedication to DIY.

Mel Yoga Photo

Today, April Fools Day, is a new day to embrace your foolish nature. It's an opportunity to bite off more than you can chew. It's an excuse to tackle a project that will make your friends scoff at the thought of executing it on your own. But most importantly, it's a rite of passage into a club where logic and reason are often reduced to white noise among the lofty goals of your own imagination. And though the results of our adventures are often a mixed bag of frustration and fleeting euphoria, the badge of honor that comes with being a DIY Fool is enough to satiate our need for self inflicted foolishness until we glimpse the next potential project in the deep corners of our foolish minds.

Do you have any good examples of your own foolish adventures? Did you know you were getting into it before you started? Or did you approach with a certain level of naivete that allowed you to stumble into your own trap before it was too late?

Comments 3

Comments

4/1/2014 at 5:05 PM

I love this!Sometimes I realize how life could be easier if I hadn't been bitten by the DIY bug. . . but it sure would be lacking adventure!

4/3/2014 at 2:55 PM

Fools or not, I love this blog!

bfish
4/10/2014 at 10:10 PM

I've enjoyed your tricky April Fool's Day blogs in the past, but this from-the-heart blog is very welcome.

Re: your remarks on #2, I've made many comments on this subject before. Yes, it is kind of embarrassing at times to be surrounded by "one project at a time" people who are determined and see one thing through before starting on something else. However, IMO the best results come from the simultaneous project approach. We eventually knock off those long-running projects one-by-one -- while of course starting some new projects in the meantime. The end result is a hell of a lot more gets done this way then by the sequential approach. I'm speaking from experience!

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