Do It Myself … Sometimes

Blog: The Chicks Uncorked

Driven by necessity, boredom and our excessive time spent at home, 2020 was a huuuuuge year for DIY projects. Sales at home improvement stores, at $300 billion+, soared by 15% over the previous year, and all kinds of brilliant home projects, from outdoor oases to kitchen nooks and playhouses were assembled by the patient and persistent. The pandemic also led to a boom in the DIY hair, makeup and skincare industries, naturally with a mix of clever, innovative and amusing results. 

Priding myself as a maturish, self-sufficient, budget-wise, adult woman, I often go the DIY route — when it comes to certain things. Small furniture, creating, problem solving, my hair. Now that doesn’t mean I’m building cabinets from scratch or whipping up a batter of hair color, but it means I seek out a product, service or solution I need, and use it. 

Some of these projects are more successful than others. For example, I’m sitting in my office chair as I write, and about a week after assembling said chair, a bolt fell out of the right side and disappeared down the air vent. I remember (most of the time) not to put weight on the chair’s right arm. 

My DIY less-than-success stories

I’ve enlisted the help of family for more complicated furniture pieces because of a similar experience as the chair — the small cabinet I put together whose doors occasionally slide out of their hinges and fall to the ground. So I wisely note my limitations and enlist a little support.

When it comes to my hair, I’ve done the majority of its cutting and coloring for 30+ years to highly varied results. By now it’s become a bit of a hobby, and I relish the challenge of trying to achieve my chosen color of the month. Sure a fair amount of damage comes along with these at-home transformations, especially as I continually lighten my naturally chestnut brown hair. Sometimes the color leans green or purple so I use a malodorous color stripper or try to disguise the color skew by adding highlights to brighten. Often, the streaks inevitably turn a little orange or lemony, so naturally I dive into that correction process. 

Yes, these are the type of activities that rightly cause true hair professionals to swoon and scold, and every year or two I leave my hair in their hands, but rarely do I achieve results with the pros that are worth the 10X price of my DIY methods (over the years there have been a few bright exceptions). Even after all this torturous tinkering, my hair basically has looked the same the past 10 years. Actually, I just colored my hair yesterday for 5 bucks, and since it’s long enough to pull around to the front to cut, I trimmed it up too, and this will last me a few months, or at least until I feel the urge to add summery blonde streaks … and the wheel of poor hair health keeps on turning …

When it comes to creating and problem solving, I really enjoy identifying what I need to know — whether it’s strategic planning and budgeting for a city government or designing a website and writing a book — finding a key source of information or two, then implementing as I learn, fleshing out the knowledge on an as-needed basis and figuring out myself what wasn’t spelled out or wasn’t made specific to my particular situation. 

I actually get excited to learn and do stuff this way and enjoy the whole process of finding the right books or online mentors to glean information from. Actually, I’m hoping others feel a similar way because I’m in the process of converting a career course I developed and taught at a university into a book and series of DIY guides, spelling out the necessary steps in a clear, easy to digest and hopefully inspiring manner.

Beyond these arenas, my DIY activity list thins to include some of the standards, such as cleaning, doing laundry, making smoothies, decorating, preparing salads, engaging in modest home repairs, rescuing bugs and changing my dog’s diapers.

Otherwise, my DIY skills are largely MIA. I don’t cook, bake, iron, craft or make my own wine or beer. I require public transportation to go long distances because I don’t drive on anything that approaches being a highway. Attempting to do so gives me tunnel vision, so believe me, you don’t want me behind the wheel on a road with more than two lanes. Others’ mocking and berating of my lack of behind-the-wheel skills and the cognitive therapy I’ve attempted twice haven’t been enough to alter that outcome.

But in general, I’m all for enhancing my DIY strengths as I trust there will be many more challenges and skills I’ll need moving forward through life. And if any of these do-it-myself experiences gets too trying, there’s always wine waiting to make it all better.

Authored by Trie … check out her Four Excellent Wine AdventuresUnencumbered With A Sip & A Smile, Sipping In God’s Square Mile and Mindfully Wineful. Get to know more about her and her fine time with wine!

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