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To DIY or not to DIY...

You know that the outside of your house is due for a paint job. Well, maybe "over due" would be closer to the truth.

You've been watching the DIY TV shows for a couple months, memorized your favorite You tube videos on the topic, interrogated your cousin who painted his own house, and convinced your wife that you will be extra cautious on the ladders. You've also endured the scorn of your kids after telling them that the family won't be going to the lake this summer because you will be spending your vacation scraping and sanding and slopping paint. You, also, made the hair-brained blunder of asking your kids if they would like to chip in and help you paint.

But things started to get a bit confusing when the guy at the paint store asked how much paint you would need and what sheen it would be. He was a helpful fellow and gave you good advice; but when you showed him a picture of your house and told him that you were going to do the work yourself. he looked at you warily as he handed you a couple business cards of local painting contractors that he trusted. As you were walking out the door, he yelled, "Think it over!"

Just for the heck of it, you decide to call those contractors and get a couple of bids. Their proposals were "sky high", which only sealed your decision to DIY. You proudly show your wife how much money you are going to save the family, and then head off to the big-box store to buy your equipment. You forgot that two extension ladders and three step ladders won't fit in the SUV; so you rent a van, into which you also throw the drop cloths, rolls of plastic, buckets, brushes, sander, scraper, and a bunch of miscellaneous equipment that the You tube said you had to have.

Soon enough, that fateful morning arrives when you will embark on that epic journey called "Painting Your Own House." You decide to start on the south-facing side of the house where the paint failure is the worst. You roll up your sleeves, and vigorously drag the scraper across the wood surface. Chips explode onto the landscaping. You forgot to put down drop cloths and plastic to contain them.

Once back to the scraping, you immediately see results and bear down even more viciously on the scraper. But within a half hour, a paint chip is stubbornly lodged in a corner of your eye, a blister is forming on your left thumb, and the fine cloud of dust is turning into paste in your mouth. You head off for the store to get safety glasses, work gloves and dust masks. You tube missed those. When you return to your work, you realize that you have only managed to scrape about two square feet of siding. And now your right wrist is throbbing and your left bicep quivering.

You are just beginning to do the math on how long this project is going to realistically take, and whether or not there are such procedures as wrist transplants , when your wife appears and asks why her beloved Japanese Maple is draped in plastic. Why, to protect it, of course, you respond, as you pull the plastic back to reveal a suffocating tree whose red leaves have turned a withered brown.

The next morning, as you drive the family along the familiar road to the lake, you are feeling deeply relieved and satisfied knowing that when you return home in two weeks, your house will be pristinely painted by the Perennial Painters and your aches and pains will be healed.

You are a wise homeowner who traded DIY for PTP [pay the professional].


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